Inner Canyon / Backcountry Private Stock Use at Grand Canyon Equines (i.e. horses, mules, donkeys, and burros) are allowed on a few specific Grand Canyon trails, as long as certain restrictions and requirements are met. Llamas and other private stock are not allowed. Animals must be kept on the trails and off the fragile areas along trail borders. Riders accept responsibility for their personal safety and for the removal of their dead or injured animals from the park. Notify park rangers immediately of any animal injury or fatality. Trails Open to Equines: Bright Angel Trail River Trail (between South Kaibab and Bright Angel along the Colorado River) South Kaibab Trail North Kaibab Trail Tonto Trail between the South Kaibab and Bright Angel trails (register with Ranger at Indian Gardens when using this trail) Plateau Point Trail from Indian Gardens.
Overnight Use: A Backcountry Use Permit is required for any overnight use. Backcountry Use Permits specify nightly camping locations, number of people in the group, and number of equines. There is a 12 animal limit per party of 8 people for overnight trips. Two inner canyon campgrounds can accept one equine party per night: Bright Angel Campground (CBG) and Cottonwood Campground (CCG) . A group will not be permitted to bring more than 12 equines, and each mounted rider will be permitted to lead no more than 5 animals. Pack stock must be led, tied together in single file. Loose herding and grazing are not allowed. Please pack certified weed-free hay and feed to help stop the introduction of non-native plant species to the park. Guests bringing equines and staying at Phantom Ranch must have at least 1 member of their group camp with the animals. A Backcountry Use Permit for the camper and the equines is required.
Backcountry Permit Fees apply as follows: $10 for the permit plus $5 for each person and each equine per night. For example, a permit for 3 riders and 5 horses to camp 1 night would cost $50 ($10 for the permit + ((3 people + 5 horses) x $5 x 1 night)). Permit requests are accepted by fax, mail or in person up to 4 months ahead of time. For more information regarding permits call the Backcountry Office 928-638-7875 1PM to 5PM Mountain Standard Time (excluding federal holidays) Monday through Friday. Day Use: Day use of trails by visitors with equines does not require a permit. However special care should be taken to ensure compliance with other general park rules. Since grazing is not allowed, we ask you to pack certified weed-free hay and feed to help stop the introduction of non-native plant species to the park.
The following 6-8 hour day rides do not require a permit and are recommended from the South Rim (there is no water past Indian Gardens on either of these rides): Bright Angel Trail to Plateau Point and return via the Bright Angel Trail Bright Angel Trail to Indian Gardens , east on the Tonto Trail to South Kaibab Trail to the rim.
Trailhead Parking Camping: North Rim: Parking is available at the North Kaibab Trailhead for day rides. Call 928-638-7870 to inquire about overnight horse camp availability, location and fees.
South Rim: Day use parking is available in the dirt parking lot across from the El Tovar Hotel by the railroad tracks. The horse camp is being relocated, and a final location is yet to be determined. Arrangements for overnight camping with equines can be made by calling Ronnie Gibson at 928-638-7809. Equine users must pack their own feed; twenty pounds of feed per animal per day is recommended. (Hay pellets are best with some grain.) Feed should be carefully stored while on your trip. Rodent-proof lightweight containers are recommended for feed storage. Paper and cloth are ineffective against determined squirrels and mice. If feed is not kept in containers, use a long rope and hang feed from pack poles.
It is important that all animals be watered whenever possible. Equines can be watered directly from natural water sources where streams cross maintained trails, such as Pipe Creek on the lower Bright Angel Trail and Wall Creek on the North Kaibab Trail . Equines are not allowed in the stream above or below the trail crossing. Collapsible canvas buckets are recommended to carry water from other sources.