Phantom Ranch is located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon by Bright Angel Creek near the intersection of the North Kaibab Trail and the Colorado River. There are only three ways to reach Phantom Ranch: hiking, riding the mules, or doing a raft trip. Advanced reservations for either lodging or food are a must. Dormitory rooms are $49.00 per night per person while the hiker's cabins are $142.00 per night for two people plus $14.00 for each additional person. Group cabins are a flat rate of $246.00. Meals are expensive and worth every penny. They are fantastic. Breakfast is $19.11; a box lunch is $14.00; the steak dinner is $43.65; the hiker's stew dinner is $26.45; and the veggie dinner is $26.45. From April 1 to October 31, there are two breakfasts settings: 5:00 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. From November 1 to March 31, the two breakfast settings are 5:30 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. The steak dinner is served at 5:00 p.m. and the hiker's stew is at 6:30 p.m. Duffel service is $68.00 each way. Call Xanterra at 888-297-2757 for food or lodging reservations.
History of Phantom Ranch. With the Grand Canyon becoming a national park in 1919 and the completion of a wooden suspension bridge over the Colorado River in 1921, more and more people began visiting the inner Canyon. Mary Jane Colter, the architect for the Santa Fe Railroad, drafted plans for a lodge on the banks of Bright Angel Creek. She designed buildings that drew upon the region's cultural traditions from the Spanish, Pueblo Indians, miners and cattlemen. She placed the dining room/kitchen at the center with guest cabins clustered around it. All the construction materials except the stone had to be hauled down by mules. She went to great lengths to have the new buildings blend in with the dramatic landscape. The resort opened in 1922. As demand increased, Colter added additional cabins, a recreational hall, and a bathhouse. Major construction ended in 1930 and the basic layout has changed little since then. In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps built numerous footbridges, a mule corral and cabin for the Park Service, and a campground that evolved into the current day Bright Angel Campground. They also dug a swimming pool for Phantom Ranch, which was used until 1972 when it was filled in.
History of the Kaibab Suspension Bridge. In 1903 David Rust began developing a layover point for hunters and sightseers at the present day location of Phantom Ranch. This became known as Rust's Camp. He was a Stanford educated schoolteacher turned trail builder. In 1906 he began building a cable tram across the Colorado River (another tram picture), completing it in 1907. Teddy Roosevelt used the tram in 1913 on his way to hunt mountain lions on the North Rim. In 1921 the tram was replaced with a wooden suspension bridge. While the new bridge allowed mules to cross the river, it was narrow and swayed violently in the wind. Finally in 1928, the National Park Service began construction of a new suspension bridge. In order to get the one-ton, 1.5-inch bridge suspension cables down, they enlisted forty-two men, mostly Havasupai Indians, to carry the cables on their shoulders while they snaked their way down the South Kaibab Trail. The finished bridge was 440 feet long, 5 feet wide, and 65 feet above the river. To see a picture of both the new and old suspension bridges during construction, click here.
History sections provided courtesy of the Grand Canyon Association and excerpted from Phantom Ranch, written by Scott Thybony and published by Grand Canyon Association, 2003.