Having spent many a night below the rim I am always in awe of the ability to either camp or if lucky enough score a dorm room or cabin. Although the cabin was a great stay the dorm was the best. Yes it’s not the Ritz nor was that what was wanted. A comfortable bed after a long hike without the need to carry it on my back! To relax with a cold beer possibly the best ever tasted was a great reward. Family style meals for us worked as we enjoyed our stew with travelers from all over the world. Have also had the steak dinner when available. The rangers and staff have always gone out of their way to insure an amazing experience. Please not this trip if fortunate enough to get is not for everyone. A long hike down beats up your knees, ankles and feet but to be lucky enough to have done this multiple times every trip down proves to be memorable. To find a bed, hot meal, shower and a cold beer at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, Priceless and worth every sore muscle!
Hiking down the Grand Canyon is a pure hikers dream. Nothing that is said here is meant to diminish even one bit of this truly unique, once in a life time experience. You can only have so many moments in life that you will remember for ever, and the hike itself is one of them.
Having said this, one has to separate this uniqueness from the service and product that is offered by Phantom Range.
First of all, all that is commented here is useless as you don’t have a serious alternative if you do not sleep in a tent. So, in the end make the best of it.
But their service simply is poor. Most tour operators describe Phantom Range as a wonderful place, with hot water and a nice bed and a cozy place and so on. However, Phantom Range is no more than a canteen for the camp grounds it in essence is. Yes there are personal cabins, nice to stay, spread around the site. But also dormitories, which they do not easily mention but you sleep in a mens or a women’s room, with 6 to 10 beds.
Phantom Range doesn’t have a bar nor a lounge. Nor a place to sit and relax. The total experience is a camping ground experience with a canteen. If it is raining you are lost. If it is cold, it is quite inconvenient.
The canteen offers room for about 48 people spread over 4 tables. As there are often over 100 people down, they have breakfast, lunch and dinners in shifts. All done in a rush.
The service is accompanied by a bit misplaced attitude on how “unique” the place is. And how remote. And how happy one should be to be there. Is that a reason for any lack of serious service? Any question asked is met with difficulty. And the ‘manager’ even keeps quite misplaced speeches on all “of the respect they deserve”. Sorry guys, this is still USA, with helicopter service and a ‘simple well paid donkey support’ that runs daily with all you need. Incomparable with remote areas in Africa, Nepal or some other places, that ask for much more personal effort to keep up running.
The hike is unique. Please make the stay with you as unique !
Ps. The price for a cabin is $ 180 per couple and for a dorm place $ 65, a night. Take this in account when a tour company shamelessly charges $ 1200 per person for a 3 days/2 nights trip. Nature comes free ...
Ps2. The hike has no price!! Truly amazing...
My friends and I rented cabin #9 (10 person cabin). It was amazing. It is air conditioned and has a small washroom.
The canteen is closed from 4pm-8pm to serve dinner (two seatings 5pm and 6:30) and doesn't open until after breakfast is served (10am??) So if you want to buy anything plan around those open hours. We all enjoyed the meals and the great service from the amazing team at the Phantom Ranch. The canteen serves beer and wine but it must be consumed inside the canteen (FYI). Canteen also has a variety of games available for public use. If you would like ice to put in your bladder/water bottle in the morning just buy the ice the night before and you can pick it up during breakfast (they put your name on a 10# bag and just ask for it when leaving breakfast), you cannot buy ice during breakfast.
There is a stream behind cabin #9 that we sat in for a bit and it provided great relief for our sore muscles.
Our cabin was very clean, not a cobweb anywhere. The beds are comfortable and the bunks are pretty high so the person on the bottom has a bit of head room.
From the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, we hiked down the South Kaibab trail, spent the evening at the Phantom Ranch and then hiked up the Bright Angel trail the following morning. The hikes down and up were fun but this review is focused on the Phantom Ranch. We originally were signed up, many months in advance, to stay in a dorm. However, due to the oppressive heat, a few groups cancelled and we had the opportunity to upgrade to a cabin. I'm pleased with the opportunity because we had a very peaceful night's sleep with only two of us in the room. The cabins are old but very quaint and had good working A/C. Both the steak dinner and the hearty breakfast were very tasty and full of the carbs and protein needed for the hike. The employees were very helpful, friendly and full of interesting facts about the Grand Canyon and Phantom Ranch. I would bring a bathing suit or something to sit in the very cold stream located along the cabins. After a 105 degree day of hiking 4.5 hours down from the rim, it was beyond joyful to soak your sore feet and leg muscles in the frigid stream water. You got used to the temperature in a few minutes but it definitely eased sore muscles and allowed for the long 7.5 hour hike up the next morning to go smoothly. If you have the opportunity, stay at the Phantom Ranch. It will make your Grand Canyon experience unique as less than 1/2% of those visiting the Grand Canyon make it to the bottom.
We stayed 2 nights at the bottom and sure were glad to have air conditioning and a real bed to sleep on.
We were a little confused by our room - we had been delayed from a February trip because the park closed during a blizzard and rock slides and they confirmed changing us from a queen room to a 4 bunk room. Imagine our surprise when we opened the door to Cabin 9 and found not 2 sets of bunks, but 5 - yes, that is 10 single beds and a toilet for my husband and I!
There was a surprising amount to do down there, between becoming a Jr Ranger, attending the ranger programs, sitting in the creek, watching the river, and hiking up to Phantom Overlook.
All the meals are served family style and I recommend being prompt, although they do refill most things. Dinner the first night was steak, and stew the second night. I am not a stew eater normally, but to my surprise it was delicious even after a 105 degree day! I think the only thing I would put above the stew was breakfast, which I ate a ton of.