Phantom Ranch is an exclusive place that I have been hearing about for years and have always wanted to visit. Exclusive it is, because there is a quota on how many people can get reservations there or in the campground in a season. There are no other places to stay in the canyon, except for hikers who have back country permits to pitch a tent elsewhere. There is a lottery reservation system and it has a 13 month advance timing. If you are randomly chosen and your requested dates fit open accommodations, you get to stay. If not, you start over. This one of the reasons why only 1% of the millions of visitors to the canyon in a year will get to stay at Phantom Ranch.
The ranch is at the bottom of the canyon at the intersection of the Bright Angel Trail, the Kaibab Trail North and South, and the Colorado River. The buildings were designed by Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter (what happens when your parents can’t decide what to name you) and built in the early days of tourism to the canyon. They are really beautiful stone and timber buildings that almost disappear into the surroundings. When the designs were approved the plan was to name the buildings Roosevelt Chalets but Ms. Colter said “not if you want to use my design”. She had already named it Phantom Ranch and that’s what it stayed. The rich and famous rode mules down the trail and stayed there, sometimes for weeks. There are cabins housing from 2 to 10 people, and 2 dormitories for males and 2 dormitories for females. Dorms have five bunk beds each and a common shower and restroom.
Meals are served at the Ranch by reservation also. They are rather expensive but that is understandable when you realize that almost everything that comes and goes to the ranch has to do it by mule. Breakfast goes for about $24 and the early seating is at 5:30 am. If you like to sleep in you can catch the late seating at 6:30 am (hmm…). My food will be carried in my pack to the campground by mule so I have no reservations for a meal at the canteen, but I may stop in to buy a postcard or a drink while I’m there.
Bright Angel Campground where I will be tenting for two nights is only a short walk from Phantom Ranch. On this “in between” day we will be doing some day hiking along the river and some side canyons. I’ve heard this is supposed to keep us from getting stiff and sore before the hike back up to the rim again. We’ll see.
The Park Service has a lovely video of Phantom Ranch and detailed instructions for the lottery reservation system at http://www.grandcanyonlodges.com/lodging/phantom-ranch/
Photos from canstock.com
10 thoughts on “Phantom Ranch”
[…] The canteen and the other buildings of Phantom Ranch were designed by Mary Jane Elizabeth Colter (click here to read more) and are nestled around BA Creek. In its heyday, Phantom Ranch had fruit trees, a swimming pool […]
Thanks for the info. Heading to Phantom for 2 nights in June 2019. Its been a long wait as we went through the lottery 2 months in a row.
Be prepared for some warm (very warm) temps. How are you going down? I just got back. We had the most perfect weather!
we are hiking down South Kaibab and up the Bright Angel. And yes we will be prepared for the heat. We are going to start very early in the morning on both hikes.
Sounds amazing! And once again those important mules are relied upon.
Yep. The mules reign, or rein, if you want to be literal…
Wow, that’s exclusive. Must be a sight, but sad that so few can see it.
But if more went there it would undoubtedly ruin it – it’s such a small place. Good thing there are pictures.
While I probably will never get there due to disabilities, it’s nice to know about these places. Hey, you never know, right? Hope your A to Z is going well.
John @ The Sound Of One Hand Typing
A to Z is going well so far, but I’m about out of advance posts – now the grind to the end of the month… Thanks for your comments John. I like that you’re hopeful.