Grand Canyon Phantom Ranch Guide

Phantom Ranch Grand Canyon

Phantom Ranch is not actually a ranch, but a group of bunks and cabins for rent at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  Located next to the Bright Angel Campground, this historic location provides meals and lodging for hikers and mule riders who made reservations well in advance for this unique experience.  Phantom Ranch is one of the few hike-in lodges in the National Park System and the only place to stay in the bottom of Grand Canyon National Park without setting up a tent.

Hikers and Riders get to the ranch via the hiking the Grand Canyon on the North Kaibab, South Kaibab or Bright Angel Trails which vary in distance from 7 to 14 miles.  This is one of the best Grand Canyon hikes and/or mule rides in the world, especially when you get a real bed to sleep in at the end of the day.  Phantom Ranch has both dorms and cabins for people want more privacy. The Cantina is where all the meals are served at the Ranch, including a full breakfast or dinner, as well as a boxed lunch.  When the Cantina is not serving meals, it opens to the general public and hikers and ranchers can both relax, get out of the heat and enjoy a snack or a cold beer. Read the guide below to learn about Phantom Ranch, or check out our Phantom Ranch map to see all the nearby destinations and attractions..

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Phantom Ranch Destinations

Phantom Ranch Lodge

The Phantom Ranch Lodge is run by Xanterra Parks and Resorts, the company who manages most South Rim lodging within the Grand Canyon National Park. This destination fills up quick and all reservations are done by lottery, but if you’re lucky you can get a cancellation from their wait list…especially in the off season. You can learn more about getting a reservation and submitting a lottery request here. Phantom Ranch is the only lodging at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and is only steps away from the Colorado River. 

Bright Angel Campground

If you don’t get a bed at Phantom Ranch, don't despair. Grand Canyon Backcountry Permits can be obtained from Grand Canyon National Park to stay right next door at the Bright Angel Campground.  Although you don't get a bed or shower, you do enjoy the night sky and the sounds of Bright Angel Creek, without snoring comrades in the bunk below you.  For more information about getting to Phantom Ranch and Bright Angel Campground, check out our guide to Grand Canyon Hikes to learn more about trails, campsites and general backpacking information..

Guru Tips for Exploring Phantom Ranch

Along with the Lodge and Cantina, Phantom Ranch offers hiking, backpacking, ranger talks, mule rides, fishing and rafting trips. Here’s a couple tips for making the most of Phantom Ranch and Bright Angel Campground.

Reserve your cabin or campsite in advance

  • Like we said earlier Phantom Ranch reservations are done via a lottery, so make sure to submit your request on time. 
  • Backcountry permits for Bright Angel campground open a little over 4 months in advance. Make sure you submit your request on time for the best chance at a permit for the campground.
  • Check out our South Rim Hotels guide to learn more or make reservations on the rim before or after your hike or mule ride.
  • For car camping reservations on the South Rim before or after Phantom go to recreation.gov. If the campsites you want are booked, we love Campnab to help find reservations at sold-out campgrounds.

Book a tour or ticket before you get to the canyon

  • A guided backpack, rafting trip or mule ride is one of the best ways to experience Phantom. 
  • If you're doing your own hike, the South Rim offers other great tours to add some variety to your trip. Learn more about tours with our complete list of Grand Canyon Guided Tours.

Get geared up

  • Make sure you have the right gear before your trip, since you'll need to have all necessary gear with you when you get to Phantom.
  • We’re definitely gear junkies here at the Grand Canyon Guru. Check out our recommended gear for our favorite canyon-ready clothing, travel bags and outdoor gear as well as rental options to outfit your trip.

More resources for Phantom

  • It always a good idea to have travel insurance for your trip. Check out rates and get travel insurance before you head to the canyon.
  • If you need more booking options for hotels, rental cars, flights, tours and tickets just check out our Grand Canyon reservations page.
  • Take a look at our featured tour and recommended activity below!
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Grand Canyon hike to Phantom Ranch

Featured Tour - Grand Canyon Rim to River 3-Day Hike

Get below the rim of this 3-day guided hike. See the Colorado River, grab a drink at Phantom Ranch and more on this classic adventure, from $975 on Viator.

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From overnight trips to Phantom Ranch to short rides near the South or North Rim, going for a mule ride is another classic Grand Canyon adventure.

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