The Only Place In America Where Mail Delivery Is Still Made By Mule

In an age of 1-hour delivery and overnight shipping, one corner of the country still gets its mail by mule. For a small group of people living in the Grand Canyon, the mail is delivered by carriers with hooves, who trek down into the canyon to deliver mail six days a week. It’s the last official mule route in the country, and probably one of the last in the world. For centuries, mules have carried the mail down to the Havasupai people — an American Indian tribe who live in the Supai village of the Grand Canyon, but outside of National Park jurisdiction. The area isn’t accessible by road and there are only three ways to reach it: by hiking down the canyon, rafting down the Colorado River, or by helicopter. To make the trek to the Havasupai area, it’s three hours down, but five hours back up. At least two mule trains are on the route each day, so mules and riders don’t have to make the trip down and back without a stop overnight in the village. Unlike your mail, the majority of deliveries aren’t magazines and junk mail. Without nearby grocery stores — or stores of any kind for that matter — the postal service serves a different purpose. Most of the mail ends up being food. From packaged food to medicine to small appliances, the mail brings all sorts of deliveries. In fact, the village couldn’t sustain itself without the mail. That’s because the nearest town is a 45-minute drive away. Fortunately for the Havasupai people, the U.S. Postal Service honors its commitment to deliver wherever there are people.