Private Stock Use at Grand Canyon
Equines (horses, mules, and burros) are only allowed on a few designated Grand Canyon National Park trails. Llamas, goats, and other private stock are prohibited.
Both in-state and out-of-state residents are required to bring a current health certificate with negative Coggins test for each equine.
Riders accept responsibility for their personal safety. Notify park rangers immediately of any animal injury or fatality. Owners are responsible for the removal of dead or injured animals. Tree savers must be used when stock is tied to trees.
All riders must check in at the Backcountry Information Center by phone (928-638-7875) or in person prior to riding. While in the canyon, please carry and follow the guidance presented in this document and the regulations provided with your backcountry use permit. Overnight use requires a permit from the Backcountry Information Center.
Trails Open to Equines:
Go with the Flow:
Bright Angel Trail
South Kaibab Trail
North Kaibab Trail
If your group meets a string of mules, the mule string has the right-of-way. Find a safe place to get as far off the trail as possible. If there is no safe place to yield right-of-way, you must backtrack to a suitable location and allow the mule string to pass.
Winter Use: Caulked shoes are required when snow or ice is present or anticipated on trails, generally December through March.
South Rim - Day use and overnight parking is available at Lot D near the Backcountry Information Center.
North Rim - Stop by the Backcountry Information Center and inquire about using the CC Hill Road (gated). Parking is extremely limited at the North Kaibab trailhead. Do not block traffic.
Though day use of trails does not require a permit, please check in with the Backcountry Information Center prior to riding. See feed and water suggestions below.
South Rim - also check in with Xanterra Livery Management prior to riding:
Party size: Maximum six equine and six riders.
Pack strings: A rider may lead no more than five head. Pack stock must be led, tied together in single file. Loose herding is not allowed.
South Rim Horse Camp: Located at Mather Campground with two stock sites available for reservation. Each site has two pens, picnic tables, fire pits, water available on site (frost free spigot), water troughs and feeders in each pen. Rest rooms nearby. No electricity. Cost is $25.00 per site per night. Maximum six equines and six people per site. Reservations up to six months out through www.recreation.gov (a backcountry permit is not required).
Permits: For overnight use, the sites listed below require a permit. This permit can be obtained from the Backcountry Information Center. Permit requests can be made on the first of the month, four months prior to the proposed start date. Backcountry permit fees: $10 for the permit plus $5 for each person AND each equine per night. For example, a permit for three riders and five horses to camp one night would cost $50-$10 for the permit + $40 for the impact fee (8 x $5). To obtain a permit request form or for more information, contact the Backcountry Information Center or visit the park's website.
North Rim Horse Camp: (open mid-May to mid-Oct) Located ¼ mile from the North Kaibab trailhead and has a pit toilet, potable water, and a small holding pen on site. At least one person must camp with the stock. Maximum six equines and six people per site.
Inner Canyon Stock Sites: Two inner canyon campgrounds accept one equine group per night. Bright Angel Campground lies at the bottom of the canyon near the Colorado River/Phantom Ranch; Cottonwood Campground is along the North Kaibab Trail. Reserved through the Backcountry Information Center. Riders entering the canyon must check in at the Backcountry Information Center.
Phantom Ranch: Guests bringing equines and staying at the commercial facilities at Phantom Ranch must have at least one member of their group camp with their animals. A backcountry use permit for Bright Angel Campground is required.
Feed and Water:
To prevent the introduction of nonnative plants into the park, only certified weed free forage (hay, straw, mulch) can be used in the park. Stock groups must be prepared to display proof of certification tags. No forage can be taken beyond a trailhead into the backcountry. Pelletized feed, hay cubes and grain products can be used in the backcountry. Grazing of stock is not permitted.
Prevent the spread of noxious weeds by cleaning stock trailers and the hooves, coat, mane and tail of stock before entering the park. Also feed weed free forage or processed feed to stock for a few days before.
Feed should be carefully stored. Rodent-proof, lightweight storage containers are recommended, as paper and cloth are ineffective against determined squirrels and mice. If feed is not kept in containers, use a long rope to hang feed from pack poles. Water stock whenever possible.
Water is available at the Indian Garden day-use area (no overnight use), and Bright Angel and Cottonwood Campgrounds. Animals can also be watered directly from natural water sources where streams cross maintained trails: Pipe Creek on the lower Bright Angel Trail, Wall Creek on the North Kaibab Trail, and seasonally where the Tonto Trail crosses upper Pipe Creek. Equines are not allowed in streams above or below trail crossings. Use collapsible canvas buckets to carry water from other sources.
Weed-free feed sources:
Mule operations and stock use planning documents can be found at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/grca
Did You Know?
The more recent Kaibab limestone caprock, on the rims of the Grand Canyon, formed 270 million years ago. In contrast, the oldest rocks within the Inner Gorge at the bottom of Grand Canyon date to 1.84 billion years ago. Geologists currently set the age of Earth at 4.5 billion years.