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“Phantom Ranch-what a wonderful sight.” 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
Rock Hill, South Carolina, United States
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Phantom Ranch-what a wonderful sight.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2013

We backpacked from the North Rim to the ranch in June of 2012. As you can guess the weather was quite hot. We started our hike from the North Rim at 5am when it was chilly and made our way down towards the ranch. Making sure we got to the ranch in time for our steak dinner. As other reviews say you have to 1. make sure you make your reservations EARLY. We camped at Bright Angel campground and we could only get it for one night and we booked in January. 2. Order the Steak dinner after a 14 mile hike down and eating cliff bars and gorb this was a delight.3. Drink a beer LOL you deserve it..The ranch itself reminded me of a cowboy movie..It was really cool. I wish I could of enjoyed it more but I had severely blistered feet from the hike down(always break in your hiking boots) and walking was painful, but the rest of my group enjoyed hiking to the river and cooling off in the creek. That was a joy since it was over 100 degrees. Our campground was very roomy, we all slept on tarps out in the open and I would of not did it any other way. The stars were endless, the sounds were so peaceful. We got up early the next morning 3am and packed up and started our hike back up the North Rim. It was a very strenous, hot hike and we made sure we got up to roaring springs before the heat of the day and then we hunkered down in the shade and rested for a few hours,so we wouldn't get heat stroke. We finished our hike in the dark, sore,proud of our accomplishment. Looking back at my experience. I would want to stay 2 night to rest our bodies more and to explore more of the Phantom Ranch area. Don't miss Phantom Ranch, take a mule, take a hike but find a way to the Phantom Ranch and you will not be sorry.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (40)
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California
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2013

We really enjoyed our short overnight stay at Phantom Ranch. Even though they had a rare plumbing break, and we had to use buckets to flush the toilets, it was still a very enjoyable stay. Everyone down there has either hiked or rode in, so there's a great sense of camaraderie.

The dinner was filling, with lots of carbs, and the sack lunch had lots more, plus the electrolyte replacement powder - good to know so you don't carry it down yourself, or skip the lunch if you've got enough power bars and trail mix already. (I didn't really need a white bagel and cream cheese, or a pack of Oreos and pretzels from the pack lunch, but the apple came in handy...)

The bed got more and more comfortable as the night wore on, the dorms were very clean, especially considering everyone was dusty from the hike.

In winter, there are creeks you have to cross on the Bright Angel trail back up, so consider waterproof hiking boots, just in case you slip off the rocks on the way across. And if you go in winter, definitely bring traction devices for your shoes, because you'll need them for the top two miles.

One last note: Indian Gardens was very cold in the morning on the way back up - depending on the whether, it would be better not to stop there for longer than your bathroom stop, otherwise you'll lose all the body warmth you generated on the first part of the hike.

Also note that you will get waken up by the 5 am wake up call for the first set of hikers, even if you have the 7:00 am breakfast, not the 5:30 breakfast.

Very nice and accomodating staff, too.

Room Tip: Call 13 months in advance.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Utrecht, The Netherlands
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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
53 reviews 53 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
49 helpful votes 49 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
14 helpful votes 14 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.

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Additional Information about Phantom Ranch

Also Known As:
Phantom Ranch Hotel
Phantom Ranch Hotel Grand Canyon National Park
Phantom Ranch Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon 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 #1 of 21 Specialty lodging in Grand Canyon National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $

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