The Grand Canyon is notably one of the most majestic places on earth and has lots to offer all who visits. As you make your way from one end to the other you will notice multiple viewpoints that allow to take in the vast geological phenomenon one can find in Northern Arizona. And, if you look close enough you may just see a few hazy structures down at the bottom. What could that possibly be you may ask? 4,600 feet below you will find yourself looking up from the desert-like bottom where the deeper you ascend you soon become surrounded by brittle brush, faded grass and riparian vegetation. There at the base of the canyon sits Phantom Ranch.
Only accessible by foot, mule or boat, this place is an oasis many seek to find solace, peace and to just be in the great outdoors. Located on mostly flat land, enclosed by the walls of the canyon, the Bright Angel Creek runs along Phantom Ranch and the creeks delta in the Colorado River. This area takes up about 14 acres which is nothing compared to the 1.2 million acres that is the Grand Canyon National Park, but still gives just as much awe.
Like many of the well thought out structures you see aging beautifully along the South Rim, Phantom Ranch was also designed by none other than Mary Jane Colter in 1922. Once you cross the Kaibab Suspension (black) bridge and the Bright Angel (silver) Bridge you begin to make your way towards the known cluster of cabins that are made from wood and native stone that are from the area. Built to be not only cabin-like and rustic she also gave it the aesthetics it needed to connect back to the environment which once were roamed by the ancient puebloans. This and the neighboring Native American tribes were her inspiration to blend in their cultural traditions, history and landscape with the natural beauty of the Grand Canyon. Together you get the Phantom Ranch oasis.
So what actually makes up the cluster of cabins?
For hikers, dormitories are where they stay. There are two male dorms and two female dorms, each have up to five bunk beds, there is a shower and shared restrooms for guests. If bedding is a concern when packing then keep this in mind, bedding and towels are provided. All other non-hikers stay in other cabins that can fit two to even ten guests. These cabins are provided with bedding, cold water sinks, toilet and of course liquid shampoo. All other items such as showers, bath towels, hot water sinks can be found at a central location.
If solitude with a touch of genuinity is what you’re looking for, then getting a reservation down there is the next must on your bucket list, as well as most time consuming. Why? Space is limited, and also because in order to get a spot down there you must first be selected in their online lottery system upon applying. Of the three different ways to reach the bottom of the Grand Canyon, it seems hiking is much more preferred and most rewarding. Just be sure to have plenty of water, good sturdy shoes, and remember to pace yourself, roundtrip, you’re both losing and gaining in elevation and the hike itself takes about 4-5 hours down and 4-6 to hike back up.