Amazon using mules to deliver packages to bottom of Grand Canyon

Aug 3, 2023, 11:22 AM

PHOENIX — Amazon is employing a traditional method of delivering packages to the bottom of the Grand Canyon — mules.

The half-donkey, half-horse animals, famous for making the trek up and down the trails, take packages from the delivery giant to Phantom Ranch, the remote village nestled about nine miles below the South Rim.

Phantom Ranch is only accessible by foot, river raft or the mules, so the service has become a staple for employees.

“The supplies that our mule team brings down are a critical part of making sure that life can exist down at the bottom comfortably and happily,” Sam Langner, community relations manager for Xanterra Travel Collection, which owns Phantom Ranch, said in a press release.

“Having a service like Amazon available to employees, especially in a place as remote as Phantom Ranch, is fantastic.”

Delivery days typically start at 2:45 a.m. and the trek starts at sunrise so that the mules can beat the heat. The weather gets warmer as the elevation decreases and Phantom Ranch routinely sees triple-digit heat in the summer.

Two packers take five mules each down the Bright Angel Trail four days a week. The mules, in addition to packages, carry mail, fresh produce, toilet paper, beer and more.

The journey takes about four hours each way.

“We bring down pretty much anything that Phantom Ranch might need and any sort of packages they want delivered,” Annie Zenin, a Phantom Ranch mule packer, said in the release.

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Amazon using mules to deliver packages to bottom of Grand Canyon