Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Mule Rides in Bryce Canyon

Wanderlust Wednesday-Week 15 
Day 2 of our Mighty 5 Road Trip landed us in Bryce Canyon National Park. After this crazy hike and all our adventures in Zion the day before, we were feeling exhausted by the time we arrived. Thus, we decided to give our hiking boots a little break and do a mule ride through the canyon.  
There are a lot of options for horseback and mule rides around Bryce Canyon, but Canyon Trail Rides is the ONLY company authorized by the National Park Service to enter the actual canyon. We did their half day ride, which takes you through the most iconic spots in Bryce Canyon including Queen's Garden, Fairyland Loop, and the Peek-a-Boo Loop

We had zero riding experience before this…well unless you count ponies at the fair. Thankfully, our tour guide JB was amazing. We had 10 people in our group and everyone had mixed reactions. You had people who were having the time of their lives(my husband) and others who were on the verge of a panic attack(me). But even the nervous people like me had an amazing time. 
Can you spot the two mule deer in this picture below?
When we were in the planning phase and sharing our ideas with family/friends, we ran into some negative feedback about taking a mule ride. Basically someone who had already been to Bryce Canyon was trying to pressure us into following their exact itinerary. But at the the end of the day, we ignored their pushiness and decided to do what we wanted. Everyone's experience is different and we always try to plan something unique. Taking a mule ride through a gorgeous red rock canyon definitely fit that criteria. 
We were completely awestruck by this scene, especially the giant red drip castles called hoodoos. This is such a rare formation, which is why Bryce Canyon is known as one of the most unique spots on Earth. I kept asking myself if this was real, were we actually getting to experience this? 
Apparently mules are more sure-footed than horses, but they also prefer to walk right on the edge. I would look over to my side and realize that I couldn't even see the ground. But I could see shifting rocks rolling down into the canyon and feel that we could fall at any minute. Yikes! 
Even still, we managed to enjoy ourselves quite a bit! 
{Pathetic Attempt at a Selfie}

 looking up from the bottom of the Canyon
then back up and out of the canyon via switchbacks 
 At the end of the day this was an experience of a lifetime! That being said, I will never do this again. I'm always willing to try everything at least once, but I don't think I will be putting my life in the care of a stubborn mule any time soon. I'm obviously being a little dramatic, but this was kind of scary. Tom didn't think so though. In fact, we're thinking next year's west coast trip will involve the Grand Canyon and he is already advocating for a mule ride there. We'll see.
If you're brave enough, this is an incredible once in a lifetime way to see the best parts of Bryce Canyon in a short amount of time. 


  1. This looks amazing and terrifying at the same time! I would love to do this one day, but likely not with mules/horses, although I wish I could get over the fear and do it! Once we went on a horseback tour through the Hollywood hills and the horse I was on tried to walk off the cliff. Thankfully I pulled back/jumped off because it started slipping. After that, I don't know if I could be as brave as you! It is SO beautiful though!!

    1. Bryce Canyon is the smallest of Utah's national parks, so walking/hiking here is easily doable. We had just hiked 11 miles in Zion NP and only had a half day in Bryce so the mule ride made the most since for seeing the best sites in just 3 hours. This is one of those things where I look back on it and think wow that was amazing and I'm glad I did it, but I couldn't bring myself to do it again. Also, note to self don't go riding in the Hollywood Hills, that sounds scary too.

  2. Wow those views are amazing! What a cool place to visit.