Yosemite Stables Trail Ride
Capsule comment: Share two hours of trail dust with flies and flatulent mules!
All right, you deserve more information. The stables in Yosemite Valley offer 2-hour rides into Tenaya Canyon ($51 per person), 4-hour rides with views of Vernal and Nevada Falls ($67), and on Sundays only, an all-day ride to Half Dome ($94). We figured that maybe the ride would take us someplace we’d be unlikely to hike, so we signed on for the Tenaya Canyon ride. According to the National Park Service map, "Hiking in Tenaya Canyon is dangerous and strongly discouraged." Perfect!
Our first surprise was that the horseback ride turned out to be a mule train. The mules attracted flies and, since we never moved quickly, those flies kept us company for the entire trip. After 15 minutes on the trail, mules randomly broke out with violent gas attacks. It was amusing when your mule exploded but much less amusing when it was the mule immediately ahead of you. We slowly plodded our dusty way along a well-worn path past Mirror Lake, which I missed because there wasn’t any water in it. It was more of an overgrown meadow.
After one hour, the mules simply stopped. I figured it was time for a short break, but instead, we turned the line around and headed back to the stable on the same old trail.
Maximum weight for riders is 225 pounds. Long pants and closed-toe shoes are recommended. Riders must be at least seven years old, and kids up to 12 would think the whole thing is pretty cool.