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Phantom Ranch
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All reviewssteak dinnerstewcornbreadsouth kaibab trailbunk bedsfamily stylebright angel creekmule ridethe cantinafellow hikersbunk housetrekking poleschocolate cake for dessertin advancewake up calltop bunklong hike
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Reviewed 10 October 2011

We hiked down & up the south rim (South Kaibab down & Bright Angel up) at the end of Sept. I'm glad we didn't do it any earlier in the season b/c when we got to the bottom it was HOT! (Mid 90's full sun)
We stayed one night at Phantom Ranch in Cabin #10. We lucked into a cabin vs the dorm. I called 13 months out & was actually the 1st call of the day so maybe that had something to do with it.
We did the 6:30 hikers stew dinner (which was good) and actually bought 2 lunches (1 for when we got down the 1st day ~ which tasted pretty darn good after hiking down) & 1 for the way back up.
Hopefully you're lucky enough to get a room here b/c it's worth it! What a way to see the Grand Canyon!

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank BrussoDallas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 October 2011

We are from the UK and had planned the rim to rim walk from North to South for almost a year. After initially failing 13 months ahead to get through on the phone to Xanterra to book a bed at Phantom Ranch, we applied for backcountry permits a few months later. Shortly after that I made a speculative call to Xanterra to see if there had been any cancellations for Phantom Ranch and we were in luck! We got a 4 bedded cabin, #10, to ourselves. To be honest, without the cabin bed, the space in the cabin to relax, recuperate in air con : ) we would have had a much much more arduous rim to rim hike with larger rucksacks including tent etc. Having the "luxury" (and I deliberately use that word strongly, given the location and temperatures involved in the inner canyon) of the cabin made our trip. The cabin had air con which worked really well, a flushing toilet, a sink with drinking water (we checked it was potable), and beds to stretch out on. We really appreciated having the cabin to just the two of us as we had loads of space to repack our bags, pack soaking wet shirts, wristbands, etc into sandwich bags for the ascent up the South Kaibab (far more scenic ridge walk and interesting than the bright angel ascent, and to be honest not too bad at all given an early 05:20 start - we reached the top near Yaki Point before 11:00am). Lots of internet reviews say don't do it - I am glad we did, but be fit and well prepared and complete it before lunchtime otherwise the heat will make minced meat of you.
The 6:30 evening meal was Hiker's Stew and was brilliant, served with soup, bread, salad and chocolate cake for dessert. But - the breakfast next morning will remain in our memories for a long time, absolutely fantastic. French bread, syrup, bacon, peaches (yes peaches which went really well with the bacon!). Our only regret is that we were so busy sorting our electrolyte drinks (Mountain Fuel Extreme Fuel from the UK) and wet clothing for the next day that we missed the evening ranger talk. Having said that, preparation was vital for an early start and succesful ascent without issue on the S Kaibab. Phantom Ranch gifts were available from inside the main building, and the shower block had towels and shower gel available. All in all a great place to stay which makes the rim to rim easier than camping.
R Laird

Room Tip: Ask for Cabin #10, the air con worked a treat : ) A cabin is a real advantage over the dorms, as you don't have to put up with snoring!
  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Hikerlaird
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 September 2011

We rode the mules down to Phantom Ranch on New Years Day 2011. It was a mind-numbing -32 degrees when we left the rim (the coldest temperature ever recorded at the rim). The ride down was a little scary due to all the ice on the trail, but the mules were sure-footed. We were glad to warm up in the 24 degree temperatures when we arrived at Phantom Ranch.

Because we rode the mules, we had access to the cabins. Each cabin is fairly basic, but the accommodations are comfortable and the peace and quiet were almost too much at first! We had a sink and toilet, but had to use the communal showers. The showers were clean and a real God-send after 5 hours on the mules.

After our shower, we took a short walk (about 2 miles) up the trail along the creek. If it were not for our fixed dinner schedule, we would have kept going. The beauty of the Canyon cannot even be guessed at from the rim!

Our first evening meal was an 11 oz steak. All meals are cafeteria style with assigned seating. We shared our first meal with a travel writer from Russia, a helicopter pilot from Alaska, and several others. While we normally don't eat anything close to that much, we devoured the steaks!

That night we slept very peacefully, but had to force ourselves to get up a little earlier than we wanted to so we could get in for our breakfast. Again, a full and filling breakfast plus a packed lunch for our day. We shared breakfast with an Amish family from Illinois.

After a full day of hiking the bottom of the Canyon, we returned and showered before dinner. That night, it was hiker's stew. Everyone was tired and hungry, but happy.

After a second night of sound sleep, we awoke to our final breakfast in the Canyon, then had to pack for our ride out.

We plan to return to Phantom Ranch as soon as we can, but hope we can figure out how to stay for more than two days in the cabins.

We definitely rated this one as our vacation of a lifetime, even though it was only three days long.

Room Tip: Cabins are only available for mule riders.
  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Don N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 August 2011

We stayed at phantom Ranch in august 2011, and it was very hot at the bodem of the canyon. Phantom Ranch is an oasis, with a creeck where you can sit in and a cateen that provides you with cold drinks and food.
We stayed in a dorm, these dorm have airconditioning, but in the summer it doesn't get cool, but always cooler than in the campground.
The food is good, maybe somewhat expessive, but everything must come down with a mule, so it is understandible.
We liked our stay, but we where glad that we could leave early in the morning, beacause of the heat (108 F).

Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
2  Thank Janneke24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 August 2011

My husband and I had done day hiking on the Bright Angel and South Kaibab trails five years ago and decided it might be fun to go back and try to stay at the bottom. I called Xanterra the week before Memorial Day to check if there were any open spots at Phantom Ranch for that Saturday night, and was able to book one spot in the female dorm and one in the male dorm. At the time I booked, there weren't any meals available, but I kept calling back and was able to sign up for the stew dinner and early breakfast the next day.

My husband and I camped at the top on Friday night (Mather Campground), got up on Saturday and caught the shuttle to the top of South Kaibab, and made it down in about 2 hours. We had some lemonade in the canteen, went and dipped our feet in the creek, showered, and then played some card games in the Canteen. We attended the ranger programs both before and after dinner and thought they were well done. We wished we slept in Saturday morning though and got to Phantom Ranch a little later in the day, though. Food was very good for being served in a canteen at the bottom of a canyon. There were a lot of nice and interesting people there and it was fun to talk to them at meals. Sunday morning we set out after breakfast and made it up to the top of Bright Angel before noon. I would like to go back to Phantom Ranch, but next time will try to book a cabin. The dorms were fine, but it was a bit difficult to fall asleep with people going in and out, and it would have been nice to have some more privacy. Once I fell asleep, though, I didn't wake up again until the morning.

Despite all of the Park Service's warnings, we could have hiked to the river and back in one day, especially because the weather was unseasonably cool. We also brought way too much water, since it took us such a short time to get to the bottom on South Kaibab and there are refilling stations at several points on Bright Angel. But all in all, it was fun to get to check out the bottom of the canyon for a while, and we have some great pictures to show for it.

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank LauraA309
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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