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“So very glad we kept trying to get a reservation”
Review of Phantom Ranch

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Phantom Ranch
Certificate of Excellence
Toronto
Level 6 Contributor
130 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
“So very glad we kept trying to get a reservation”
Reviewed February 17, 2014

My husband, one of our daughters and I spent two nights at Phantom Ranch last week. We had tried, off and on, for five years to get a reservation (not during the summer or very cold months). In March 2013, I was able to get two female dorm beds and one male dorm bed for Feb 2014. We got on a waiting list at the Bright Angel Lodge Transportation desk the day before our first night and were able to get a 10 X 12 private cabin. We had to be waitlisted for our second night, as well.

The cabin had two sets of bunk beds (brand new mattresses - very comfortable), a small sink, side table, two wooden chairs and a toilet (enclosed by a door). Cramped but we were glad to have our own space. We had our showers in the shower house.. There is an A/C - heating unit right beside one of the top bunk beds. We didn't need any heat/a/c as it was 78 degrees during the day but got cooler at night.

We came down the South Kaibab Trail in four hours, 10 minutes. We kept encountering hikers at Phantom Ranch who had used the Bright Angel Trail to come down - there were countless tales about the terrifying ice (on Feb 12/13). One hiker, Tom, had been hiking for 40 years and said that his hike had been the only time that he had been so close to dying. Many hikers had come down on their rear ends - but they had not had crampons or poles.

By the time we hiked up the Bright Angel Trail on Feb 14 (5 hours and 15 minutes), the bad part of the ice had been reduced from 1 1/2 miles to a 1/4 of a mile. We were very glad we had yak tracks/poles. We could not believe the amount of day hikers who were coming down on it wearing only simple running shoes and clutching the side of the canyon walls. When we were a little bit below them (as we hiked up), we say them walking on the outside bordering rocks (the only spots, at times, where there was no ice). Beside the rocks, there was 50 feet of snowy slopes, but - beyond that, there was a sheer drop. These people had no idea how dangerous that was. (we kept telling them to be extremely careful and that yak traks were really needed).

The wait staff (Hayley, Amy, Naomi and the very informative guy from the Bronx) at the lodge were extremely competent and helpful. We had stew the first night (6:30 p.m.) and steak the next (5:00 p.m.) The breakfasts were scrambled eggs, bacon, pancakes, coffee, OJ and peaches. Our day down there, we hiked to Ribbon Falls - we were able to cross the river coming back, in order to skip a large climb. (our quads and IT Band were hurting from the day before). After we had gone over the bridge closest to the lodge, I saw a bobcat on the trail, 50 yards ahead of us. It darted off as soon as it saw us. (I reported this to the ranger (not the friendliest guy) when we got back. He said that there had been recent sightings of a bobcat around Phantom Ranch.

We loved talking with the other hikers - anyone who hikes down there, really wants to be there and they were all like-minded people! My husband and I loved the solitude but our seventeen year old daughter felt a little cut off from civilization! (no texting, internet or being able to watch the Olympics!) You can sign out hiking/map/nature books in the Ranger's Station. The Ranger talks don't begin again until March.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
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Helpful?
8 Thank TorontoHiker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (95)
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Henderson, Nevada
Level 6 Contributor
817 reviews
231 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 487 helpful votes
Reviewed February 13, 2014

I spent 2 days down here at the bottom of the canyon having hiked down from the south rim. We stayed in one of the bunkhouses, five of us. On one night we had 5 other roommates sharing with us. On the next night only one other. But I think during busy season, all the bunks will be full. The bunkhouses are very basic but there is heat for the colder weather and air conditioning for the very warm. The windows do open. But there is only one toilet, sink, and shower for the whole group, plus all of the space is shared. Basic bedding is provided. There are no official quiet hours so this may not appeal to some potential visitors. Though the restaurant/lounge closes about 10, in the warmer weather some people may stay up through most of the night. Those who come down on the mule rides for the overnight generally stay in the cabins which, of course, are private and have better facilities. There's also a campground closer to the river with toilet and wash facilities. The restaurant has a couple of formal seatings for breakfast and dinner. There's a pack lunch for the grabbing at breakfast. The lounge and gift store open at specific hours during midday and evening. From the ranch there are about 1/2 dozen formal hikes and lots of scrambles. And, of course, you'll be right down on the river. This is truly a beautiful setting, especially in the clear light of the night full moon. But it's not a 5 star accommodation. And cell service is spotty. Be sure you inquire at the visitor center at one of the rims about availabilities and costs before you make your journey.

Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
Helpful?
4 Thank Zoom_Gotti
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Level 5 Contributor
48 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed February 3, 2014

We had our honeymoon in Grand Canyon. We joined the mule trip and stayed in Phantom Ranch for a night. We reserved a Cabin for 2, a Queen Bed, with a private toilet, only cold water is provided in the cabin. Bathroom is in separate room, hot water is available. Towel is available.
The canteen opens a few hours a day, no service during breakfast and dinner. I don't remember exactly the time in the morning. But for afternoon, it closes at 4pm, dinner starts at 5pm, then reopen at 8pm. During the time, you may buy drinks, snack food, postcards.
I had my steak dinner (salad, bread, steak, dessert. Unfortunately, my steak was overcooked.
Remember to buy a postcard which will be delivered by Mule from the bottom of Grand Canyon to the post office.
The view at the bottom of Grand Canyon was fantastic, I will always remember that.

Room Tip: Choose Cabin. Dorm is separate for female and male. Book in advance, which is always fully booked b...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank Rita F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver
Level 6 Contributor
241 reviews
99 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 165 helpful votes
Reviewed January 28, 2014

This was our seventh visit to Phantom Ranch. While the dorms and cabins are spartan to say the least. They are one small step up from a sleeping bag. But the location is THE best in the world.

We stayed in dorms one night (surprised that there were 8 out of 10 empty beds in the women's dorm and 2 in the men's dorm) and got a cabin for one night with one night's notice. I always thought the place was sold out every night for 13 months in advance.

We had the stew dinner both nights, and, as always, it was terrific.

It's fun to talk with the other hikers and employees, and a relaxing time in paradise.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank Rick A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eau Claire, Wisconsin, United States
Level 6 Contributor
133 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
Reviewed January 18, 2014

We took the mule tour down to phantom ranch. My husband and I stayed in one of the queen bed cabins (others have bunks). It was wonderful. While you are roughing it a bit (everything has to be packed in and out by mule) It was clean and comfortable. The cabins have heating and air conditioning, and power lights, so you are not completely without creature comforts. The food is excellent. We had steak and veggies and potatoes. All cooked perfectly. Our waiter was wonderful and told us stories and answered questions about the ranch. Each cabin has its own toilet and sink but you need to go in to a separate building for a shower. They do have warm water and there are towels available for your use. It is quiet and secluded. The way one would hope a ranch would be.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank Tessa B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Warrenville, IL
Level 6 Contributor
229 reviews
79 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 196 helpful votes
Reviewed January 15, 2014

We have been trying to hike the canyon for a while, but reservations at Phantom Ranch are difficult to get. We were traveling to Phoenix for a long weekend in January 2014, so I thought I would try a few times to see if I could snag something for a Saturday night. It took some calls, but finally a male and female dorm space was open with a steak dinner and early breakfast!

The dorms have ten beds each; they are all identical with 2 buildings for women and two for men. The dorms come with a bed, sheets, and towel. There is a toilet, shower, and sink in each building. The Saturday in January that we were there was not full; there was a total of four women in my dorm. I can imagine if there were 10 people, it would probably get a bit uncomfortable with noise, etc. But, for us, it was a welcomed stop and the fact that we didn't have to carry a tent was wonderful!

The dinner and breakfast were family style where you get assigned a table; we enjoyed meeting the people we ate with. There was plenty of food for everyone. I will say that my steak was dry while my husbands was perfectly done...so it just comes down to luck.

Dinner is slightly rushed and you do have to leave after 45 minutes, but it all worked out just fine. After both dinners are served, the canteen opens back up at 8:00 - 10:00 for games, drinks, etc.

My bunk-mates were terrific. We all agreed to keep the light on in the shower area as a nightlight. There is an electrical receptacle by the sink; it would be a nice touch if the management provided a nightlight. We all got up at the time of the early breakfast which was also nice - we turned on the lights and were all up and moving around. The shower itself was a bit moldy...but the water was warm and it felt good. We were all hikers, so it was fun to exchange stories. My husband had a different experience that nobody spoke in his dorm (there were five of the ten beds full).

I wish we would have been able to stay in a cabin, but I understand that they are a little more difficult to come by. I am also glad we went in winter; it turned out to be a beautiful time to hike the canyon.

Also - I will mention that there is an electric hand dryer in the "public" women's restroom...so if you wanted to dry your hair a bit - that would be an option. They do have boxes to put your food in - better safe than sorry!

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank warrenville111
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grapevine, Texas
Level 6 Contributor
233 reviews
89 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 210 helpful votes
Reviewed January 11, 2014

My husband and I had a cabin at Phantom Ranch. I had a pretty hard time getting reservations. I tried in March, April, and May and never even got through to a live person. In fact, I never even made it to the hold queue. However, I was able to get through 2 February’s in a row. You take a bit of a chance in February because of weather. At the top there was a lot of snow, so we had to use crampons. Also, there were muddy parts (especially on the South Kaibab Trail) from the snow melt. But, at the bottom of the canyon – it was absolutely glorious. The weather was quite perfect, in fact.

Phantom Ranch is a unique experience. There was a pipe break during our visit, so we had no running water, but we did have drinking water and could bucket flush our toilets (we just couldn’t take a shower). The cantina is great. There are 2 choices for dinner – Hiker’s Stew (early sitting) and Steak (late sitting). We tried both because we stayed 2 nights and they were both very good. Breakfast is eggs, bacon, pancakes, etc. Meals are served family style and they are quite generous. We got the sack lunches, but if you have room to pack it down, you might consider taking your own food for lunch. It was a bagel and a package of cream cheese, an apple, a sausage, raisins and some powder Gatorade. I mean – it was fine, but I guess I was expecting a sandwich or something like that (silly me!). Reserve your meals when you reserve your room. The staff at the ranch is great!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank lojo34
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Phantom Ranch

Property: 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 13 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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