Phantom Ranch is a historic oasis nestled at the bottom of Grand Canyon. It is on the north side of the Colorado River tucked in beside Bright Angel Creek. Phantom Ranch is the only lodging below the canyon rim, and can only be reached by mule, on foot or by rafting the Colorado River.
The rustic cabins and main lodge are built of wood and native stone blending with the natural beauty of the setting.
Our cabins and dorms do not have phones or televisions, but a pay phone is available at Phantom Ranch (credit card or phone card ONLY).
The Phantom Ranch Canteen serves breakfast and dinner, which must be reserved in advance. If you have special dietary needs, such as glucose intolerance or food allergies, please advise the reservation agent at the time of booking. Phantom Ranch will do their best to accommodate all special requests.
You must hike out your own trash.
If you win the lottery, this is the place to stay!
Let me clarify. This place is amazing, but the only way to get here it by winning a random lottery for a room (link is HERE). It's such a popular location (for incredibly good reason), that you have to enter a lottery, pick some dates, and cross your fingers. All 3 adults in our group entered, and one of us was picked. Hip hip hooray!
It's located on Bright Angel Creek, just a little bit from the Colorado River. In order to get to Phantom Ranch, you have to be insane enough to want to travel down inside the earth about a mile (most people call this the Grand Canyon), in the sun, covered in red dirt, with your backpack, and enough salty snacks and water to feed an elephant (or you can rent a ride on the mules) That said, if you have the drive and insanity and muscles to get you there, the reward is awesome lemonade, night time ranger talks, conversations with mules (because you might just be that tired at the end of the night), unbelievable experiences meeting other fellow hikers, and delicious comfort food.
Okay, now you can't possibly expect the Ritz when you get here. It's not about that. It's not even close, but it's 5 star in a totally different way. Keep in mind, that this Ranch has been here since the early 1920's. And supplies were either local to the area at the bottom, or brought by mule. So it's not fancy.
What to expect: There are a few ways to stay at Phantom Ranch. First are dorms. There are about 10 bunks per dorm, and it's women and men. Women in one, men in the other. Each dorm has a toilet with a door (modern plumbing) and a shower with hot water. There is also a sink. Each person claims a bunk and that's theirs for their stay. The other way is to rent a cabin. More expensive, but more private. If you rent the cabin, you and yours are the only ones sharing it. Because it's "out of the way", not all the modern conveniences work all the time. So expect it to be a little rustic, but it's all part of the experience. The cabins and dorms have air and heat, so it's a more comfortable experience than camping in a tent.
There is potable water scattered around, a few composting toilets if you are away from your cabin, picnic tables, two outdoor amphitheaters (normally a daytime ranger program at one, and a night program at the other). Inside the canteen you can purchase drinks (alcoholic and non), hiking essentials (toothbrush, sunscreen, salve, etc) and a selection of souvenirs. They even have a little library of books to read, and games that you can borrow and play.
There are some meals available, but you need to order them in advance (or check with them each day to see if they have enough for you to order it). The two evening meals are beef stew and steak. Not cheap, but so worth it! They come with fixings like cornbread, veggies and such, and always dessert. You can also order a veggie option. Breakfast is family style (as is dinner) and was pancakes, bacon, eggs etc when we were there. Coffee and juice too. There aren't many options, but think about it…all the groceries have to be delivered by mule. Make sense? Breakfast is offered at 2 different times (your choice) so you can get hiking early, if you want. Dinner is at different times, too, depending on what you order.
While you are there, you can buy a postcard and have it mailed from the Ranch, by mule! Cool little way to tell your loved ones "look what I did!".
So much to say about this "little piece of wonderful"! You really just have to see it for yourself!
NOTE: please read up on traveling to the bottom of the canyon before you go. Make wise choices about what time of year you want to travel. It was April when we went, and although it was about 50 degrees at the South Rim, it was close to 90 degrees at the bottom. In the summer, they said it can get to about 120 degrees in the shade. So please plan accordingly for snacks, water, travel, clothing choices and temperature
it’s right next to the river so it’s easy go take a dip and cool off. running water in front of the store and the store serves beer and food. can’t beat that when hiking for days.
Hiked from Bright Angel Trailhead to Phantom Ranch in one day. After Indian Gardens Campground trail has a couple of areas that are less obvious of direction but overall is easy to follow to campground. Campground requires a permit from NPS, and typically needs to be reserved about 6 months in advance. There are fees required for permit. A permit can be difficult to obtain. There are many camp sites with some close to the river and some away. Campsites are overall smooth and free of rocks, and maintained. All campsites have 2 ammo boxes to hold food, a picnic table, a small concrete square for cookstove, and a stand to hold packs off the ground.The squirrels are bold and will go after ANY food left out. It is necessary to remove all food and plastic bags from packs and put in ammo boxes. Most sites have trees for shade. There are bathrooms with toilets, sinks, and running water. A sink to lightly wash dishes, and water to fill up water bladders and bottles. There is a Cantina a short walk across the bridge with pricey food that requires reservations, drinks for purchase, some necessities, souvenirs, and books and boardgames to use at the Cantina. Staff is helpful and friendly. There is a special Junior Ranger program specific to Phantom Ranch. Mules can be ridden down from the top, and there are cabins and dormitories that you can stay in with a reservation. There are two rivers nearby the campsites and a few small hikes nearby.
We stayed at Phantom Ranch when we hiked into the Grand Canyon and it was the highlight of our trip! It’s tucked away in the bottom of the canyon and you can dip your toes in the river after a long day of hiking!
We spent 2 nights down in Phantom Ranch at the beginning of Feb. I had never hiked the Grand Canyon before and didn't know what to expect. We hiked from the south rim down Kaibab and were really lucky to have amazing weather. It was pretty amazing to hike for hours and then end up at this tiny community (Phantom Ranch) down at the bottom of the Canyon. Phantom Ranch consists of several small buildings, including a canteen which serves as a store, mess hall, and from 8-10pm, bar. There are also small cabins you can rent but we stayed in one of the shared bunk houses with 10 beds, toilet, shower and sink. You will have a set meal time for breakfast and dinner (no lunch) and it is family style dining. Breakfast is at 5:30a.m. or 7:00a.m. and dinner also has 2 seatings, I think at 5:30 and 6:30. You have to have all of these meals reserved in advance. It was super fun to get to know fellow hikers and share a meal of stew and chocolate cake (which I guess is the standard meal there) and then play games and drink beer for a few hours. We were lucky enough to be there during a full moon so one night we walked about 10 minutes down the path to get to a sandy beach right on the Colorado River - didn't even need our headlamps because the moon was so bright. During our day down at Phantom Ranch we lounged around the picnic tables in front of the canteen, reading, and also hiked up to a ridge that overlooked the Colorado and part of the Kaibab trail that we had hiked down the day before.
There is plenty of potable water at Phantom Ranch so you can fill up your water bottles before you start your hike out. You also need to carry your trash back out with you. Trash from things you buy at Phantom Ranch can be left there.
We hiked out via Bright Angel trail which I loved! not as steep as Kaibab with beautiful turns and beautiful pockets.