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“Part of the Grand Canyon hiking experience” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Phantom Ranch

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Phantom Ranch
2.0 of 5 Ranch   |   North Kaibab Trail, South Rim, bottom of Grand Canyon, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ 86023   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Wisconsin
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Part of the Grand Canyon hiking experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2013

We were fortunate to get reservations at Phantom Ranch after trying for 2 years. I am told the way to get in is to go to Grand Canyon Bright Angel Lodge and ask daily if there are cancellations. (Reservations are made 1 year in advance, but there is not penalty to cancelling up to just a few days before the reservation date.) But, because we were flying in we had to have our reservation first.

Phantom Ranch offers single sex dorms with bunk beds for 10 men/women. They are vary spartan, but are clean have swamp coolers, a shower, toilet and sink. These are all welcome amenities after a hike in the sun of Arizona. There are also cabins, but I know nothing of them.

Meals (both an evening meal and breakfast) must be reserved in advance. We ordered the steak dinner (held at 5:00); the other options are vegetarian or stew (held at 6:30). The room is an old log cabin and fits 28 people snugly. We were fed large portions of tossed salad, corn, peas, corn bread, baked potato and of course steak. The food was fine, though my steak was only ok. Breakfast is offered at 5:30 or 6:30 and is a large American breakfast of pancakes, bacon, canned peaches, and eggs. We also reserved lunches for the day's hike which likewise were large and included bagel, cream cheese, sausage, energy drink powder, pretzels, and peanuts. The lodge also offers "beer hall" at 8:00 p.m., but I didn't join in so can't say much.

What really makes the place though is the combination of a gorgeous setting of old log structures set next to the babbling brook of Bright Angel Creek in the Grand Canyon and easy conversation with fellow travelers. You can sit in the creek and cool off, relax and enjoy nature and humanity.

I highly encourage the hike and Phantom Ranch if you are able and able to get in.

Room Tip: Bring ear plugs and eye mask to ease sleeping in a room with 10 people.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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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263 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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 (57)
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English first
Carbondale, Illinois
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

Hiking the Grand Canyon should be on every hiker's bucket list. To stay at Phantom is a part of the experience. Do two nights there and hike to Ribbon falls on the rest day. If you have the time, go to Havasu falls (190 miles west) to complete the trifecta.

Room Tip: Reservations need to be made a year ahead of time or else go through an outfitter. We use the World...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 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.
Kansas City
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

My visit to Phantom Ranch lived up to my expectations. We left at 6am down the South Kaibab trail and arrived at the Phantom ranch around 10 am for a full day of adventures at the bottom of the Canyon. The staff was very helpful and the gift shop was good (while small).

We had a cabin to ourselves for a group of 3. Be sure to reserve early. We called the first morning the cabins opened up 11 months in advance I believe.

The steak dinner and breakfast exceeded my expectations greatly. However, we left early (right after 5 am breakfast) and forgot our sack lunches for the hike up.

I would recommend this to any avid hikers as a must do.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Center Harbor, NH
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 2, 2013

I began calling for a reservation 13 months ahead, as advised, with no luck. I did get a space in the Bright Angel Campground (via lottery type drawing six months ahead of time) but kept trying for the Phantom Lodge from time to time, hoping for a cancellation. By calling every few weeks over a six month period (after I got the campground spot I made our travel arrangements, so we were going down the Grand Canyon and staying somewhere) I had ended up with one male dorm reservation for one night and a male and female for the second night, which was sort of OK, but not the best since there were three of us (one female and two males) for two nights, and someone was going to be in the tent on each night. Finally, the day before we were to hike down, someone cancelled (cold weather was predicted) and the reservation agent at the Bright Angel Lodge (the desk there handles the Phantom Ranch Reservations) gave us a cabin. LESSONS LEARNED: (1) Keep trying and when you get a chance, improve your hand, like in draw poker with lots of chances--we went from one reservation in a dorm to two, to three to a cabin, So all is not lost if you don't get what you want thirteen months out. (2) Have a backup plan. If you get a campground spot, you'll have someplace to stay even if the Phantom Ranch doesn't come through (3) Book your meals at Phantom Ranch even if you can't get a dorm or cabin. The food is good and even if you end up in the campground you won't have to rely on MountainAire (I think that's a brand of the freeze dried stuff). (4) If there are three of you, a cabin is about the same as a dorm in terms of cost, with much more privacy and if there are four the cabin cost is less per person than the dorm.
The last time I dealt with Xanterra was six or eight years ago and the experience wasn't a happy one. This time, the reservation agents were top notch, the desk at the Bright Angel Lodge was staffed by an extremely helpful gentleman (I think his name was Joe, but I could be wrong) to whom I will forever be grateful for getting us a cabin, and I have nothing but praise for the staff. A fellow we met at the Phantom Ranch told me that Xanterra had changed ownership around four years ago, and if that's the case, the change is much to the good. I'm giving five stars on value because even if the food and lodgings would be way overpriced if Phantom Ranch was located beside an interstate, it's a real bargain for the location (lodging) and food (considering it has to be packed in by mule). My wife still can't believe the salad could be so good after a mule trip down the canyon.

Room Tip: Book early. Keep trying,
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, New York
Top Contributor
82 reviews 82 reviews
39 hotel reviews
Reviews in 53 cities Reviews in 53 cities
93 helpful votes 93 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2013

It's incredible that a place like Phantom Ranch even exists! Cabins, dorms, a canteen, toilets, showers and electricity at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. We stayed in a cabin for 2 nights. The cabin had two sets of bunk beds, a table with two chairs, a sink and a toilet (showers are located in their own building). There was a lamp and an alarm clock too. Rustic but comfortable accommodations.

Right outside the cabin was a bench and a picnic table. Our cabin was maybe 50 feet from Bright Angel Creek - a beautiful setting.

The food was good, but I would have probably enjoyed anything after hiking in the canyon. Hardy breakfasts and dinners. We had both the stew (6:30 dinner) and the steak (5:00 dinner) both were tasty and satisfying. The sack lunches are not really lunches, but a bag full of snacks (bagel, cream cheese, summer sausage, apple, cookies, nuts, raisins and electrolyte mix). It is, however, enough food to get you from breakfast to dinner.

We hiked down the south kaibab trail, and hiked up the bright angel trail, with a day hike to ribbon falls on our full day down there. Wish we had another day down there to just hang out at the boat beach.

It was an awesome experience and I definitely hope to visit again.

Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paro, Bhutan
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2013

The hike down the grand canyon in perfect April weather was amazing. The excellent rating on the ranch is based on location as finishing a 7 hour hike to a steak dinner and a dorm room feels amazing. The sleep wasn't great but with 8 guys in a dorm the snoring is inevitable...

Accommodations were clean, food was good, especially given the location. The lunch for the hike up was sausage, bagel, and some snacks. Not fantastic but we were back on top by 2:00 for a fantastic lunch.

One tip, take the 5:00 breakfast because you'll wake up when the first shift leaves...

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 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.
Saxonburg, Pennsylvania
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2013 via mobile

This hike to the bottom of the grand canyon was outstanding. I enjoyed every minute with my 2 children and my husband. I cried when we reached the top. This experience was one I will never forget. I loved the phantom ranch with it's food, staff, and visitors. If you can get a reservation, make the hike and experience the magic of the canyon!

Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
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 22 Specialty Lodging in Grand Canyon National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2 star — Phantom Ranch 2*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
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 is the only lodging below the canyon rim. The Ranch can only be reached by mule, by foot or by rafting the Colorado River. Overnight accommodations at Phantom Ranch consist of dormitory spaces and cabins. Cabins and dormitories are heated in winter and cooled during the summer months. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Phantom Ranch Hotel Grand Canyon National Park
Phantom Ranch Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon Phantom Ranch

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