Halibut & BBQ lunch with trip
YOU can drive the Mules
Plan to spend about four hours or so on this one -- you won't know how much time has gone by though--it's that much fun!
You have the option of meeting at the trail head OR taking a tour bus from town. The bus ride from town is very informational and is not very long. It's a school bus and we thought it was a good ride--you also can't get lost that way!
Our son was 3.5 yrs old at the time of this tour and I would say it's great for any age--if you're comfortable with it, go! You DO get to drive, the whole time, unless you are not driving safely. There are buckles in the Mules and most seat 4-5 people.
The trail is several miles long and you do run in a train of about 20 Kawasaki Mules, but, it's gorgeous scenery and a great way to get out of town and have some great views.
Tip: The far right machine (when parked initially) was the last one in the train in our experience -- there is an end guide behind, but this was fantastic placement for taking photos and not feeling packed between other machines!
Tips: Those wanting to experience a crazy "off road" experience will be disappointed, as it's all on-trail. BUT -- it's a great tour nonetheless.
The two tour guides we had were very personable, especially Sabrina. Any photo, any question we had, she was all over it! We did not see a lot of wildlife but when there was something (like a grouse hen) she pointed it out. They are locals that are quite knowledgeable about the area and its' residents and history and will provide info for you if they have it.
Once you get to the lodge, you'll be greeted by another fantastic employee who has prepared warm cookies and you'll have the chance to use the clean, indoor bathrooms with running water. You'll then continue on up the mountain to some great views, waterfalls, and more gorgeous surroundings.
Tip: There is a Haines guidebook available at the Visitor's Bureau that has a coupon for a free t-shirt (in 2014 anyway!) They have kids shirts with sizes down to XS.
On the way back down, you'll get your lunch at the lodge again. (This is an up and back trip, not a loop.) The Halibut and the chicken are both mouth-watering and you get a huge portion. There are many sides and refreshments as well. After ample time to let your food settle, use the restroom again, and explore a bit outside, you'll take the route back down for the day.
Tip: Try to schedule around a clear day -- it's always beautiful, but a nice bluebird sky allows for great holiday card backdrops!
We loved this tour. All of us -- we all had smiles on all morning and were impressed beyond our expectations. There are no helmets required or provided and really, it IS a very slow ride. But we found it to be perfectly relaxing and a fun way to see some countryside. You do get close to the alpine area, so there are different plant communities to explore than what grows below in the trees. Rated by the entire family as one of our trip highlights! We'd consider it a must-do and even something we'd go back and do again!
Disclosure: We received complimentary tour passes for this excursion. All opinions are our own and are honest. Thank you!