Grand Canyon Mail by Mule

Have you heard about the only places in the USA that mail is still delivered by mule? Ironically they are both in the Grand Canyon.  If you decide to hike, take the mule-ride to the bottom of the canyon or take a multiple-day white water rafting tour, chances are you will have the chance to send a postcard or two by mule mail from Phantom Ranch. But there is another location in the Grand Canyon, the small village of Supai near Havasupai Falls, that receives and sends mail by mule. In the August issue of Arizona Highways, there is an article that details how and when this all started as well as how it is still happening.  It also mentions that the United States Postal Service (USPS) may cancel this as part of the cuts it is making.

The full story is very much worth reading but here are some highlights:

  • Hank Delaney, the current postal service provider for Supai, has been taking the mules down and back since 1999
  • He drives a truck to Hualapai Hilltop filled with mail and then loads it on the mules there for the eight- mile trip to Supai Village.
  • The mail normally consists of more than letters and postcards. It also includes some supplies for the village of Supai, sometimes even including soda pop and ice cream.
  • Delaney is a private contractor but he has still  “taken the mail carrier’s creed to heart.”  He has only missed delivering mail twice.

Delaney knows that his job could easily be in jeopardy but he will continue to carry the mail (and other things) to Supai until the postal service tells him he has to quit.  Until then, be sure to get your postcard stamped with the “delivered by mule” logo when you visit Supai Village and the beautiful blue-green waters of Havasupai Falls.

8 Responses

    1. There isn’t a separate post office delivery stable. The mules for the mail to and from the bottom of the Grand Canyon are the same mules that deliver supplies to Phantom Ranch. The mules that deliver the mail to and from Supai Village are also the pack mules that carry supplies.

    1. Jorie,

      Unfortunately, No.

      The Post Office is up on the South Rim…a 7 mile hike up the South Kaibab Trail and a 9 mile hike up the Bright Angel Trail.

      Thank You,

      Karlyn

  1. How special to hear about the special people and mules (animal friends) that provide such a needed service. I’d love to see a documentary on this.

    1. Carol,

      It’s the same U.S. Postage Stamp you use when you are “Top Side”…however, you get the added benefit of getting the “Mailed by Mule at the Bottom of the Grand Canyon – Phantom Ranch” stamped on it. They used to be $1 for the Postcard and whatever the current U.S. Postage Stamp for a Postcard costs…40 cents as I am answering this in December 2021. However, even though the Mules take them out the Next Day…for some reason, it took an extra two – three weeks to be delivered to my Home…and, I live 2 hours from the Grand Canyon. So don’t expect expeditious delivery…in this Fed-Ex/Amazon World we live in.

      Here’s a fun video I found of these Rafter’s sending their Postcard from the Phantom Ranch Canteen:

      It’s just SO FUN to actually be there.

      Enjoy,

      Karlyn

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