Value Score No Data
Good For Solo
The Only Place to Stay - Literally!
With only 1 place to stay at the bottom of the canyon in a national park that has over 5 million visitors per year to the area, you can imagine that in order for this place to maintain its efficiency, there are some rules to be had and that's what this place is about.
No frills establishment, with mostly basic dormitory style sleeping accommodations, you better be ready to be on time for dinner when the bell rings or prepared to go to bed hungry. But with all the rules, this place is friendly and provides a toasty hot shower after a grueling day hiking!
And don't forget to arrive at the canteen before 3:30 pm so you can get a cold can of Tecate to celebrate your arrival when you first check in! (Canteen closes until 8pm otherwise)...
Unique Quality: Be sure to look out for the ringtail cats that hang outside the canteen after dinner looking for extra scraps of food! They look like raccoons and were harmless, as far as we could tell. Kind of a fun little critter to check out in the wild.
Bottom of the Canyon
I wish we could have gone down to Phantom Ranch, but we didn't have the time or ability to do so. It is accessible only by foot, mule or boat.
There's an additonal review by by silvia-m.b under the Grand Canyon. Another one by dpeirce
And one by Richiecdisc under Arizona
Unique Quality: I saw a TV show today on the Travel Channel that was talking about NPS lodges, and this was one of the ones profiled. This is another one of the buildings that was designed by Mary Colter who also designed five structures on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon: the Hopi House (1905), Hermit's Rest (1914), the observatory Lookout Studio (1914), the 70-foot Watchtower at Desert View (1932) with its hidden steel structure, and the Bright Angel Lodge (1935)
It was built in 1922 at an astonishing (for that time) cost of a quarter million dollars. This was partly because they had indoor bathrooms.
It was described as an oasis in the desert. It has trees and is built near Phantom Creek (which is where it gets its name - it isn't haunted or anything).
I didn't stay here, but thought it was worth mentioning.
Distance - 6.8 miles down the South Kaibab Trail, 4.8 along the River Trail and up part of the Bright Angel Trail to Indian Gardens Camp, 3 miles round trip to Plateau Point and back (Optional side hike), 4.7 miles out on the Bright Angel Trailhead
Elevation - 7,260ft. to 2,450ft. to 6,860ft.
Best Seasons - September through May.
Unique Quality: Phantom Ranch is the only non-campground place to stay below the rim. There are cabins, dorms with bunk beds, separate showers, a place to buy sodas, snacks and postcards and a telephone. The dining hall also serves breakfast and dinner,
old rustic charm of Phantom Ranch
Phantom Ranch just might be the original hostel in the United States. Native Americans have used the site since 1050 but it wasn't until the 1920's that the permanent structure standing today was under construction. It remains an assortment of very atmospheric, old stone structures that conjure up frontier life of the Wild West about as well as anything you're likely to see anywhere. If they were just remnants of a former time, it would be cool enough that they are still in use makes it even more special. Ok, it doesn't hurt that it's located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, in a scenic spot on Bright Angel Creek, a short walk from the Colorado River either.
Architect Mary Colter would be viewed in awe today for her accomplishments but what she did in the early 1900s is hard to fathom. Her innovative designs dominated the National Park system of the southwest in a time when a woman architect was nearly unheard of. She was noted for using local materials in such a way that her buildings seemed to blend right into their surroundings. Her extensive work at the Grand Canyon is her hallmark
The Canteen is the meeting place for not only those staying at the Ranch but for backpackers and day hikers hoping to catch a glimpse of the past. The old fireplace is made of various stones from the canyon and is particularly indicative of Mary Colter's style. With old wooden rockers, the fireplace roaring on a wet cool day, lots of great stuff to read, the Canteen is a haven for weary hikers. There are some small snacks and beverages for sale but meals must be reserved in advance. These are served family style and are all-you-can-eat. The cost of transporting food to the canyon floor makes it not a budget option but surely well worth it. Prices range from $20 to $40 depending on the meal. Check website for options and current menu/prices. As with all National Park National Historic sites, the Canteen is open to everyone visiting the National Park. You are never treated any differently than someone staying there so it's a nice to relax even if you are just day hiking or camping in nearby Bright Angel Campground, as we were doing.
Unique Quality: There is a dorm for hikers which is around $40 per night. Meals are extra. This is an option if you do not have a lot of time to wait for a camping permit or do not have the capability to carry all the gear necessary. But there are only 20 beds so as you can imagine they are reserved well in advance. It is worth checking to see if there has been a cancellation as this does happen and could make for a nice easy option for those that want to spend the night at the bottom and came unprepared.
There are also private cabins but these are reserved for mule trips only. You can check their website but they run about $400-500 per day per person depending on how many people you have. That covers your rides down and up on a mule, overnight accommodation, lunch at Indian Garden, steak dinner and breakfast at Phantom Ranch. It is a bit pricey but for those unable to do the hike, it's probably a worthy splurge. Despite the price, this is VERY popular and reservations are booked out well in advance. As with the dorm, they do get cancellations and it's good to check and see if you can get in last minute.
Directions: Phantom Ranch is located on the Grand Canyon floor on the Kaibab Trail. It is reached on foot or mule.
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