Rider Qualification for Mule Ride Tours

You may be disqualified as a rider if you do not meet the following qualifications:

  • Each Phantom Ranch overnight rider must not weigh more than 200 lbs. (91k), fully dressed—yes, we do weigh everyone! Remember that your clothing and gear may add at least 8 lbs. (2.6k) to your body weight. Even if you are below the weight limit, your weight must be proportionate to your height to ensure comfort and safety. If you are significantly overweight, we may not be able to let you ride for your own safety.
  • Each 3-hour Canyon Vistas rider must not weigh more than 225 lbs. (102k), fully dressed—yes, we do weigh everyone! Remember that your clothing and gear may add at least 8 lbs. (2.6k) to your body weight.
  • Each rider must be at least 4’7” (1.38m) in height, regardless of previous riding experience. Although there are no age restrictions, all riders must be at least 4’7” (1.38m) tall—measured at check-in time. A last minute disqualification is a terrible disappointment to a child so we urge you to measure carefully. Children 15 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Each rider must be able to speak and understand fluent English. All riders must be fluent in English in order to be able to understand the Trail Guide’s instructions. In an emergency there is no time for translations! English competency will be checked upon arrival.
  • Each rider must be in good physical condition. No rider may be pregnant. A mule trip is physically rigorous. Riding requires both upper and lower body strength and good overall muscular condition. Back and knee strain emerge after just a short time in the saddle. Riders with heart or respiratory problems should carefully consider the rigors they will encounter. The trip begins and ends at 7,000 feet above sea level. Summer temperatures can contribute to dehydration and/or heat exhaustion. Temperatures can be zero and below in winter months and cause hypothermia.
  • Rides may be canceled in case of heavy snowfall or other dangerous conditions. If you have any doubts, we strongly urge you to consult your physician prior to making reservations. We reserve the option to disqualify a rider if, in our judgment, a rider’s safety may be compromised. As our Livery Manager says, “We’d rather make you mad than jeopardize your safety.” Potential riders with physical or mental disabilities must contact us in writing prior to their ride so we can evaluate their needs on an individual basis.
  • Riders must not be afraid of heights or large animals. The trails are literally carved out of the side of the canyon and the drops are very steep. Our mules are sure-footed, but they tend to walk on the outside of the trail. Furthermore, mules are big animals and should not be confused with donkeys or burros, which are smaller. A mule is often larger than a horse and can be quite intimidating to first-time riders. If large animals or heights disturb you, we recommend that you not take the mule trip.