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“Awesome” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Phantom Ranch

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Phantom Ranch
North Kaibab Trail, South Rim, bottom of Grand Canyon, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ 86023   |  
Hotel amenities
Utrecht, The Netherlands
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
66 helpful votes 66 helpful votes
“Awesome”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2013

When visiting Las Vegas for business, grabbed the opportunity to make reservations at Phantom Ranch for the 10 person male dorm. There were two reasons to be hesitative: 1) I would have to hike solo in mid-winter and 2) a few days of low day and night temperatures (day <20F and night <0F) would set in exactly in "my" dates, including snow predicted. I decided to go for it and was rewarded in full! second week of January turned out to be the ultimate time to visit Grand Canyon (had been at both North and South Rim in all other seasons): no crowds, no heat, lots of silence and solitude!

My route was South Kaibab Trail (SKT; 3 hrs no stops) down to Phantom Rach (1 night) and up the Bright Angel trail (BAT; 5 hrs; including two 15 min stops). The loop trail adviced by park rangers and right so. Views on SKT are so much better than on the BAT and best seen when descending. SKT is steeper (thoug shorter) to ascend than BAT, but IMHO going up BAT is worth the extra 2,5 miles. In summer BAT also offers more shade than SKT; you'll need it.

Arriving at the Ranch, to my suprise, I was offered an upgrade (for a fee) to a private 4 person cabine just for myself). The cabin is basic in its construction but its very well equipped: 2 bunk beds, heating/cooling, toilet, sink (cold water only), clock radio and table with chairs. Don't expect the Hilton, but it very much feels like one when down there. They have a fully equipped shower buidling, offering individual showers (warm, not hot, water), enough towels and body wash/shampoo.

Drawbacks....sure:
1) A/C usage mandatory in summer and it will be quite loud, you can hear A/C units from neighbouring cabins too.
2) My cabin (#11; had chosen it myself) was next to the duffel service load site that starts at 6am (not operational when I was there). Since first breakfast seating is 5:30am, 6am does not have to be a problem :)
3) a small generator seemed to be running all night in the utility building. So to summarize: in the dorm or not, bring earplugs.

I had steak dinner (steak, big potato, salad, bread, peas, corn, chocolate cake; reservation before arriving mandatory!!) which was more than adequate. Dinner is family style and strictly organized; it was not clear to me why it had to be so strict, but anyway it was very enjoyable though. Beer and wine are not included in the dinner fee.

In the morning I joined breakfast at 7am; again reservation before arriving mandatory. Very good American style breakfast, again family style. Peaches, pancakes, scrumbled eggs, bacon, orange juice, coffee/tee; enough to fuel your upcoming hike back up the canyon.

Also, I ordered a sacked lunch. Well, it is all about expectations, but to me it looked more like sacked crap (good: raisins, apple, pretzels [for salt]; bad: "summer sausage", Oreo cookies, some small packages of juice liquid something, dry tasteless bagle with Smuckers jam)). I brought snacks like snickers and M&Ms myself for the hike, but they turned out to be much more like nutrition and genuine food. I did not expect a 3 star lunch box, to be clear. But I did expect food. My advice: carry in your own lunch and buy some apples and pretzels at the ranch. My opinion about the lunch does not affect my overal opinion about the Ranch!

Staff at the ranch was extremely friendly and service oriented. Could imagine that being different in summer when the place (and campground) is full and the canyon is hot. In any case they told me the guests where less friendly in summer because of the heat.

Staying at the bottom of the Grand Canyon is a lifetime experience; staying at Phantom Ranch only ads to that!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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219 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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English first
Chicago, Illinois
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2012

We had a delightful stay at Phantom Ranch, and I would highly recommend booking your stay well in advance! We went in early December, and I was lucky that I was able to book two spots in the dormitory for one night when I called in October. (We tried for two nights, but they were already booked). The breakfast and dinner might seem a little pricey, but it's well worth it considering you don't have to carry down a dinner and breakfast for yourself in your backpack. We also ordered two lunches, but next time, I might just bring my own sack lunch, as I wasn't terribly impressed. I wasn't all that hungry (surprisingly) and didn't eat a lot of it. Perhaps in the summer in the heat, I would have had more of an appetite. I didn't call ahead to see if they had showers in the dorms, but I was happy to see that they did. Each dorm has about ten beds and because of the awful weather when we went down, there were only three of us in my dorm. The staff was friendly, as were all of the people we met while we were there. I loved this trip, and I am trying to get everyone I know to hike down, as well. Hiking back up is physically challenging, but resting for a night or two in between hikes at Phantom Ranch will help out a lot. Highly recommended!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2012

We are 56 and 53. We knew it would be a shlep but we sort of practiced for a year and it was terrific! Hiked the S.Kaibab down on a cold October morning. It was warm by the time we got to the river. Stayed overnite at the ranch dorms (comfy enuf after the long hike!), and walked back up Brighty's trail to the south rim. Amazing hikes and amazing being down there. Even hiked a bit up the North Kaibab late in the day and it was a whole separate kind of beautiful. The ranger shows were great as was the ranch food and canteen. We'll never forget it!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 30, 2012

I arrived at Phantom Ranch by mule, the only other way is to walk in, so by design it's a pretty exclusive world. The cabins themselves are what could be described as rustic and have only a sink and toilet -- the showers are in a separate building with towels provided (you don't need to carry them down).

It really feels like another world, maybe Brigadoon, because although there is electricity there is no real contact with the outside world. You can put down that Blackberry with no guilt! After arriving (and totally exhausted), we took a walk to the nearby river and took in the spectacular. there is a quiet comraderie with everyone you pass knowing that you've done something spectacular and made it to the bottom.

Don't expect luxury, that's not what you are there for -- the mattresses aren't great and the steak dinner was just about raw (I know, I know some people love it) -- but who the heck cares?

We signed up 4 months in advance and were apparently lucky to get in, so if you haven't reserved in time, still give it a try.

Room Tip: Get a cabin if you can.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SALEM
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2012

We decided we wanted to try to get a cabin at Phantom Ranch at the spur of the moment during a trip to Sedona. People that tell you they book a year in advance aren't kidding! However, we called them anyway and they put us on a waiting list for the next morning. When we called we were happily surprised that they had one available! Must have been the cold weather on the rim that scared people away but we lucked out! We had to pull ourselves together and drive from Sedona to the Canyon and hike down the same day! We took the Kaibab trail down and got there with five minutes to spare before the 5:00 seating for dinner. We didn't have a choice but understood later that the 6:30 stew seating was already filled up. The steak dinner was more than adequate albeit a bit spendy ($44.00 per person), breakfast was good and the lunches for the hike out were more than adequate. The family style seating is fun but you are only given 45 minutes to eat so beware if you are a slow eater! They also offer wine and beer but plan to spend a bit for it.

The cabin was very cozy with minimal amenities (a bed, nightstand, alarm clock, small table, toilet and cold running water.) The shower house had plenty of hot water and towels.

We only had the one night as we had to hike out on the Bright Angel trail and return to Sedona the next day. The hike out was long but so worth every step of it.

I would highly recommend this trip to anyone who can endure the 7.5 miles down and over 9 miles out but definitely think about more than one night so you can explore the area around Phantom Ranch and let your legs rest for a while.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Hartford, Connecticut, United States
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2012

*This review is for the meals. My group stayed at the nearby campground, but were able to reserve meals at the ranch.

Phamtom Ranch is in the middle of the grand canyon. The nearest road is 7.1 miles away via the grueling South Kaibab trail. It is the only dining option inside the canyon and good luck if you don't have reservations! Although, you could buy candy bars and such if you were really desperate.

The food is hearty and filling, even for the famished hiker. For dinner, they served stew and vegetarian chili, along with cornbread, chocolate cake, vegetables, tea and coffee, all in ample supply. They also had a steak option. The lunches, were just as fulling. I ate my lunch on the hike out and could not finish it.

The sweetest thing (beside the chocolate cake) was that I did not have carry the meal in on my back, saving my knees and blistered feet.

Getting the reservations was a bit tricky. They were all filled up the first time we called. However, we were persistent and found a number of spots actually opening up in the two weeks immediately before our embankment into the canyon.

Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2012

I loved Phantom Ranch and had such a great time meeting other travellers and just hanging out with people. It really reminded me of summer camp! After a long hike down into the canyon, this is the perfect place you'd want to stay at. It's quiet, beautiful, has great food and very friendly.

The vegetarian chilli is delicious as is the filling breakfast. You don't need to buy a packed lunch, it's very expensive. The dorms are heated/air conditioned with a shower, toilet and sink. The bunk beds aren't too bad at all. Remember to bring a flashlight! We didn't have one and it was really hard to get around at night using our mobile phones.

Enjoy! I'm very jealous you're going.

Room Tip: Bring a flashlight and some flip flops/sneakers to walk around in!
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Phantom Ranch

Address: North Kaibab Trail, South Rim, bottom of Grand Canyon, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ 86023
Location: United States > Arizona > Grand Canyon National Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 21 Specialty lodging in Grand Canyon National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Also Known As:
Phantom Ranch Hotel Grand Canyon National Park
Phantom Ranch Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon Phantom Ranch

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