Bright Angel Campground


Spend a night at the bottom of the Grand Canyon surrounded by 2 billion year old granite and Vishnu schist! Bright Angel Campground is just a half mile north of the Colorado River on the banks of Bright Angel Creek, a tributary of the Colorado. Campsites either sit at the base of towering cliff walls or line the creek. Cottonwood trees shade the campground and create a lush oasis. This sought-after campground fills up quickly, so plan ahead and get your permit early . A few walk-in permits are available daily at the backcountry permit office.

From the campground, follow the creek a half mile upstream to the Phantom Ranch Canteen, where you can treat yourself to a cold lemonade or beer after your grueling hike. You can also buy snacks, play games, and mail postcards.

If you’d like to lighten your load, you can pay to have mules carry your gear in and out of the canyon. Contact the Bright Angel Lodge on the South Rim to make the appropriate arrangements .

Bright Angel Campground can be the perfect one-night excursion into the Grand Canyon, but many hikers use it as a stop on extended backpacking trips. From here, you can take the Clear Creek Trail east along the river, or use the corridor trails to make your own transcanyon loop route. Check out our Grand Canyon map for itinerary ideas ›


Camping below the rim in the Grand Canyon requires a backcountry permit , which you can get up to four months in advance of your trip. The park receives about 30,000 requests for backcountry permits each year but issues around 13,000 permits — the earlier you start planning, the better!

There are two ways to get a backcountry permit:

  • Fill out the backcountry request form and mail or fax it to the backcountry office (considered four months out).
  • Visit the backcountry office and get a permit in person (considered for start dates one to three months out).

More information ›

Bright Angel Campground is at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, so accessing the campground requires descending more than 5,000 feet via one of the park’s three corridor trails. Choose between the North Kaibab Trail , which begins on the North Rim, or the Bright Angel  or South Kaibab trails on the South Rim.

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How to Make Reservations For Phantom Ranch, Grand Canyon: Complete Guide

If you are wondering if there is a hotel at bottom of Grand Canyon or even just what’s at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, then the answer is yes, “Phantom Ranch” – the lodge at the bottom of Grand Canyon. 

If you’re expecting an upscale Grand Canyon Ranch resort, then you will be disappointed, as Phantom Ranch is actually a collection of rustic cabins and dorms, with camping also available nearby.  However, if staying at the bottom of the Grand Canyon is on your bucket list and you are willing to rough it a little, then you will love it!

No time to read this guide to making reservations for Phantom Ranch now? Pin It for later:

Stay at the Bottom of Grand Canyon at Phantom Ranch

If you are planning to visit Grand Canyon National Park, make your planning easy and stress free with a detailed itinerary. I have 1-, 2-, and 3-day itineraries for the South Rim of Grand Canyon that include all the park highlights, give you choices based on your preferred activity level, and take all the stress out of planning your trip. 

Check out the three Grand Canyon itinerary options

The downside is that there are not actually many Grand Canyon cabins at the bottom, so there is very limited availability at Grand Canyon Phantom Ranch.  At the same time, lots of people want to stay at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  The result is that making reservations for it is not easy.

Phantom-Ranch at bottom of Grand Canyon

How to Make Reservations at Phantom Ranch, Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Phantom Ranch reservations are very hard to get if you are not part of a river boat group , so if you are hiking down and then back out again, you will need to plan far in advance. 

In fact, the “ranch at bottom of Grand Canyon” is so popular that Phantom Ranch Grand Canyon reservations can now only be made through a lottery system . 

Phantom-Ranch-cabins grand canyon

Phantom Ranch Lottery

In the 15 th month before you want to stay (yes, 15 months!), you enter a lottery online for a Phantom Ranch booking.  This applies to any date in the month you intend to stay. 

You can enter the lottery any day from the 1 st to the 25 th of the month.  There is no advantage to entering on the 1 st rather than later in the month; all entries go into the same lottery.  Then you will be notified of the results in the following month (the 14 th month before your intended stay). 

There are two rounds of notifications for Phantom Ranch Grand Canyon reservations.  The first round is notified on the 4 th of the month and they have until the 13 th to confirm.  Any unconfirmed bookings then go into another drawing that happens on the 17 th .  They have until the 26 th to confirm. 

Any spaces unconfirmed after that will go on general sale on the first of the following month (13 months before the month of the intended stay).

This sounds complicated, so this table hopefully makes it easier to understand.

Overview of Grand Canyon Reservations, Phantom Ranch

Phantom Ranch, like all of the lodges, is run by Grand Canyon Lodges (the parent company is Xanterra).  Their website is here .   

For a full list of FAQs and additional Phantom Ranch reservation tips, click here .

To enter the Phantom Ranch lottery , check general availability or the Phantom Ranch cost, visit their website here .


How to get to Phantom Ranch

There are three ways to get to Phantom Ranch.

1. Phantom Ranch Hike

The Grand Canyon trails to bottom are not for the unfit, and you can’t safely hike to Phantom Ranch in one day and make it back to the rim in the same day.  This makes staying at the bottom essential if you want to make it from the rim to the river.  There is actually more than one trail to Phantom Ranch.

  • The Bright Angel Trail to Phantom Ranch is the most famous Grand Canyon South Rim hike to bottom. The trail is about 9.9 miles/ 16 km long.  Read my Complete Guide to Hiking Bright Angel to Phantom Ranch here .
  • The South Kaibab Trail to Phantom Ranch is the other south rim Grand Canyon hike to the bottom.  The South Kaibab to Phantom Ranch is less famous than the Bright Angel to Phantom Ranch, and starts at a different trailhead, but ends at the same point.  The South Kaibab starts at a higher elevation, but is shorter (6.7 miles/ 10.8 km) because it is steeper and more direct.   There is a shuttle bus from the main South Rim area to the trailhead.  A popular combination is to hike down South Kaibab and then hike up Bright Angel. 
  • The only trail from the north rim to Phantom Ranch is the North Kaibab Trail .  To Phantom Ranch from the North Rim is about 14 miles/ 22.5 km. It’s possible to do a Rim to Rim hike, starting at either the South or the North Rim and hiking to the other. If you do this, you can take a Trans-Canyon Shuttle daily May 15 – November 30 between the North and South Rims.  You can make a reservation (required) online or  928-638-2820.  The shuttle takes about 4.5 hours each way.

Bright Angel Trail Grand Canyon

Hiking Tips

For some hiking resources, check out:

  • If you are new to hiking, don’t miss my Hiking Guide for Beginners
  • If you aren’t sure what to wear and take, check out my Packing List for Hikers
  • If you want to make sure you have the right gear, check my Must-have Hiking Gear list
  • If you aren’t sure who has right of way – the hiker going up or the hiker going down (and other conundrums), read my Etiquette Guide for Hikers
  • If you worried about getting lost (though the Grand Canyon trails are generally easy to follow), here is a Guide to Reading Trail Markers

Duffel Service to Phantom Ranch

There is a duffel service available on the Bright Angel Trail.  You can pay for a mule to carry your luggage while you just hike with a small day pack.  The service costs $80 each way at the time of writing and can be arranged when you make your reservation.  There is a strict weight and size restriction.  I did this and it was worth every cent. 

Phantom-Ranch-mules-descending Grand Canyon

2. Phantom Ranch Mule Ride

Yes, mule rides to Phantom Ranch from the South Rim are an option.  It means you don’t need to hike, but unless you are used to riding a horse (or mule), it is worth knowing that a mule trip to Phantom Ranch can actually be much more uncomfortable than hiking. 

I took a three-hour mule-ride just at the top of the canyon, on flat ground, and long before the end of it, I was in so much pain I wouldn’t have done anything to get off the damn mule.  Riding requires a whole set of muscles that I have NOT developed.   

An alternative to the mule trips to Phantom Ranch is to hike but use the mules to carry your luggage ( see above ).

3. Rafting to Phantom Ranch

The only way to avoid the lottery is to take a rafting trip from the start of the canyon to the half-way point (Phantom Ranch).  Trips often spend their last night with a stay at Phantom Ranch, organized by the rafting company.  Then you hike the Bright Angel Trail out of the canyon up to the South Rim. 

raft in grand canyon and pillar of stone on river rafting trip through grand canyon

Read my post on Rafting through the Grand Canyon for full details.

READ MORE : How to Get to Grand Canyon National Park

What to Expect at Phantom Ranch

Phantom ranch amenities.

There are rustic cabins and dorms and a large central hall for dining, a shop, reception and a post office.  You can buy postcards and send them from there – they are carried out by mule and are stamped with this, which is pretty cool.   

There are free ranger talks held throughout the day and evening.  I attended an interesting talk in the afternoon on rattle snakes and an evening of stories about early Colorado River runners.

Cabins at Phantom Ranch

Staying at Phantom Ranch is all about being at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, rather than comfort.  Cabins and dorms are rustic, with bunk beds crowded into small rooms.  However, the cabins are clean and each cabin is set amongst trees, so it is a lovely setting.

Phantom-Ranch-inside-cabins Grand Canyon

Phantom Ranch Canteen

The Phantom Ranch restaurant is a rustic room with shared tables and simple meals. 

Phantom Ranch dinner reservations for main meals need to be pre-ordered when you book your accommodations.  Dinner is simple family-style fare – stew, cornbread and salad. It’s possible to book a meal if you are camping, though people staying at Phantom Ranch take precedence.

Take some time at the Colorado River to soak in the views. Both the Silver Bridge (Bright Angel Trail) and Black Bridge (South Kaibab Trail) are popular viewpoints inside Grand Canyon .

Camping at the Bottom of the Grand Canyon

Phantom Ranch camping is actually at the nearby (1/2 mile away) Bright Angel Campground.  This is sometimes called the Phantom Ranch camp, but is technically Bright Angel.  It is the only option for camping at the bottom of Grand Canyon. It is located 9.9 miles from the South Rim and 14 miles from the North Rim.

The other two campgrounds inside the canyon are Havasupai Gardens (formerly called Indian Garden) Campground (on the Bright Angel Trail 4.8 miles below the South Rim) and Cottonwood Campground (on the North Kaibab Trail 6.8 miles below the North Rim).


Phantom Ranch Campground Reservations

Reservations for all three of the above campgrounds need to be made directly with the National Park Services.  They require a back-country permit and are made through the Backcountry Information Center.  Check out their website for full details, which involve sending a written request at certain times of the month.

There are also a small number of walk-up permits given out in person at the South Rim and/or North Rim Backcountry Information Centers for the next day.  It’s possible to get a waitlist number the day before to help you get further ahead in the line. 

Camping is limited to two nights (consecutive or non-consecutive) per campsite or campground per hike (four nights maximum November 15 – February 28).

More Information

For more information about visiting Grand Canyon National Park, check out my Grand Canyon Guide.

Staying at the bottom of Grand Canyon is an incredible experience.  Good luck with getting a reservation.  Phantom Ranch is worth the hassle!

For more things to do, check out my guide: 30 Things To Do at the Grand Canyon

Do you have any stories about or tips for staying at Phantom Ranch? I’d love to hear them. Join my private Facebook group National Parks Collectors and comment and let me know.

If you liked this post, please share the love and Pin It to your National Parks or Grand Canyon boards!

All You Need to Know How to Book Phantom Ranch

About the Author

James Ian Yosemite

James Ian has dedicated his life to travel and has traveled to 82 countries and all 7 continents.  He’s visited all of the main national parks in the United States, as well as many national monuments and state parks.

As a national park expert, James has contributed to many publications, including Time Business News, Savoteur, and Wired. He also has several published detailed itineraries in addition to many free online guides.

James has rafted through the Grand Canyon; rappelled down slot canyons near Zion and Arches; hiked among the hoodoos in Bryce and the enormous trees in Sequoia; admired the waterfalls in Yosemite and the colored hot springs in Yellowstone; seen moose in Grand Tetons and seals in the Channel Islands, and much more.

Parks Collecting is a participant in the Amazon.com Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases .

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Grand Canyon National Park

Phantom Ranch is a historic oasis nestled at the bottom of Grand Canyon. It is on the north side of the Colorado River tucked in beside Bright Angel Creek. Make sure to put in your Phantom Ranch reservations, as its the only lodging below the canyon rim, and can only be reached by mule, on foot or…

Cabin, two people $154.80 Additional person in cabin $13.00 Dorm, per person $52.92 Group Cabin, Flat Rate $253.00 Breakfast, per person $22.50 Sack Lunch, per person $14.50 Steak dinner, per person $44.72 Stew dinner, per person $27.45 Veggie dinner, per person $27.45 Duffel…

Reservation Info

All Phantom Ranch reservations must be made in advance. Space is extremely limited. You can’t have extra people stay under your reservation. People may not double-up in the bunks or sleep on the floors.

Phantom Ranch is located in Arizona

Detail location of campground

Hiking is one of the most rewarding ways to see the Grand Canyon, and is also the most difficult. The walk to Phantom Ranch is approximately 7.5 miles down the South Kaibab Trail (average hiking time is 4-5 hours down) and 10 miles on the Bright Angel Trail (average hiking time down is 4-6 hours, average hiking time up is 6-10 hours). A good rule of thumb is for every hour it takes to hike down, it will take two to hike up. Summer temperatures can reach 120° F (49° C). Winter conditions can be icy and treacherous.


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Troy C.

At the bottom of the Grand Canyon

I stayed here in May on memorial day weekend.  It was extremely hot at the rim of the Grand canyon and cooler here.  The campground has two bunkhouses - one for men and one for women.  And I believe there are a couple of cabins available too.  They book up very quickly.  The campground has a store…

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Unfair cancellation

After years of trying to get a Phantom Ranch reservation, I was thrilled to finally secure a spot for myself and my husband in October, 2020. However, I was just notified that my reservation was arbitrarily cancelled because of maintenance. I understand that repairs periodically need to be made,…


Phantom Ranch, Grand Canyon

like the previous reviewers, you need to have reservations to stay at the ranch. i looked for a reservation, they were full, put my name on the lottery list, and got a spot the next day. Super lucky we were. Hike down not bad, about 4 hrs down, and hike up not too bad about 4 1/2 hours. Its was 123…

crossing suspension bridge over colorado river

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Phantom Ranch

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" Have a bandana - it helps from inhaling all that dust on the trail. Take some Tylenol/Advil with you, or perhaps take couple before starting "
" Book a year and a half in advance or be flexible and check availability multiple times a day and secure (quickly) whatever comes up. "
" Some cabins back up to the stream but it's a lottery system so you won't know what you get until you show up. "
" If you are unable to select a cabin during your reservation process, ask when you get there if there were any cancellations. "
" Get there early to get a bottom bunk. "

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PHANTOM RANCH - Updated 2023 Prices & Reviews (Grand Canyon National Park, AZ)

Grand Canyon's Phantom Ranch reopens reservations for 2023. Here's how to book

phantom ranch camping reservations

Grand Canyon visitors will have a new opportunity to reserve stays at Phantom Ranch, the rustic lodge at the canyon bottom that's so difficult to get into you need to enter a lottery to get a chance.

Xanterra Travel Collection, the concessionaire at Phantom Ranch, announced this week it would reopen reservations for cabin stays at the ranch from May to next January, as well as overnight mule rides to the bottom of the canyon rim from now through next January.

Reservations for Phantom Ranch were paused since January 2022 in anticipation of several National Park Service infrastructure projects. But delays on those projects allowed officials to reopen cabin and mule ride bookings. The hiker dormitories — small bunkhouses that hold 10 people each — are not available this year.

Snowy canyon: Seeing the Grand Canyon in winter was on my bucket list. Here's what I learned visiting

How to get Phantom Ranch reservations in 2023

Reservations for hiker cabins at Phantom Ranch can be made for May 2023 through January 2024.

A limited number of overnight mule rides are available on select dates in January, with more available from February through January 2024.

Xanterra will begin accepting reservations for Phantom Ranch cabins and mule rides on Tuesday, Jan. 17. Reservations can be made online starting at 12:01 a.m. MST at https://secure.phantomranchlottery.com , or by phone with a reservation agent starting at 7 a.m.

Xanterra also plans to open reservations for cabins and mule rides in February 2024 starting on Feb. 1 and in March 2024 starting March 1.

High demand is expected, so be patient when placing your reservation.

Is it typical to reserve Phantom Ranch with little advance notice?

No. Phantom Ranch is such an in-demand experience that Xanterra normally requires 14 months' advance notice.

And since there's so little space available, people must enter a lottery to get a chance at a reservation. Lotteries run for 25 days each month; winners are selected and notified the next month that they can book their reservations.

The lottery schedule will resume in February for cabin stays and mule rides in April 2024.

Why were Phantom Ranch reservations closed in 2022?

Xanterra paused reservations in January 2022 for mule rides as of January 2023 and hiker cabins as of May 1, 2023. It anticipated the park service would begin work on major infrastructure projects such as the Transcanyon Waterline Project, which would affect its ability to offer services at Phantom Ranch.

This month, Xanterra reopened a limited number of reservations based on the most recent park service updates, which stated the projects are "delayed and currently in the contracting phase."

For complete information on Phantom Ranch, go to https://www.grandcanyonlodges.com/lodging/phantom-ranch .

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For Phantom Ranch overnight mule rides and hiker cabin stays in April 2024 and beyond, our normal Phantom Ranch lottery operations will resume as follows:

Phantom Ranch utilizes a lottery system for random selection of the bed space (cabins and dorms). Please note the Dormitories are currently closed and we unfortunately do not yet have a new target date for them to re-open.

  • Lottery entries are made between the 1st and 25th of the 15th month prior to the desired stay month.
  • Lottery submissions will be processed, lottery winners notified, and reservations guaranteed within the 14th month prior to arrival.
  • Any unsold/unclaimed inventory will be released to general availability for reservations following the current 13-month reservation window.

Reservation Schedule

The below grid provides a schedule for the lottery with key dates of the lottery process, based upon the month of stay at Phantom Ranch.

Enter the Phantom Ranch Lottery

Search Current Phantom Ranch Availability

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Have questions? Consult our frequently asked questions page !

Phantom Ranch Re-opening Schedule

For stays prior to March 31, 2024, there will be no lottery process for overnight mule rides and/or hiker cabins at Phantom Ranch. Inventory will be released for general sale, and reservations can only be made online beginning at 12:01 am (Mountain Time) or with one of our Central Reservation agents over the phone beginning at 7:00 am (MT – Mountain Time).

The Phantom Ranch re-opening schedule will resume as follows:

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Tips for Staying at Phantom Ranch

Megan Anderson

Staying at Phantom Ranch in the bottom of the Grand Canyon is a must-do active outdoor vacation for all adventurers! Though it’s not a true ranch in the sense that some expect (you won’t find cattle roaming or wide open fields here in the canyon), Phantom Ranch is full of the spirit of the old west, made famous by the explorers and prospectors who explored the hidden corners of Grand Canyon. The Ranch is a world unto itself, with unique personalities, unspoken rules, endless inside jokes, and a constant supply of like-minded canyon-lovers. Read on to learn how to make the most of your visit!

staying at phantom ranch in the grand canyon.

Scenario : You just hiked the Grand Canyon and have arrived at Phantom Ranch. Priorities (in this order, usually): eat, shower, sleep, explore.

Food at Phantom Ranch

The Canteen (the main building where you check in) is open from 8:00am to 4:00pm and 8:00pm to 10:00pm daily. Dinners and breakfasts are served in two seatings but purchasing souvenirs or other services are not available while the meals are being served. All meals are family-style and seats are assigned based on your party.

Breakfast always includes pancakes with butter and syrup, bacon, scrambled eggs, and canned peaches. Water, orange juice, tea, and coffee are available too (the hot water is the light tan pitcher and the coffee is the dark tan pitcher). Coffee is available at the east window of the Canteen starting at 4:30am for super early risers.

Don’t forget to pick up your lunch after breakfast (if you ordered one). They are in plastic bags in a milk crate near the door. Lunches are intended to be “hiker-nutritious” and can be morphed into a bountiful array of deliciousness if you’re creative. They include a bagel, summer sausage, cream cheese packet, packet of jam, peanuts, pretzels, Craisins, Oreo’s and a packet of electrolyte powder.

Dinners have the most variety. At the early seating diners enjoy a massive steak, baked potato with butter and sour cream, salad, cornbread, and chocolate cake for dessert. The late seating is a Hiker’s Stew, broth-based with beef, carrots, and potatoes. There’s also a vegetarian chili served at this seating for those pre-registered as vegetarians, and cornbread and chocolate cake for everyone. Water is on the table and beer (usually Tecate and one local selection) and wine (one red and one white out of a box) are available for purchase. Remember, you can’t take your beer or wine outside so make sure to order it at the beginning of dinner so no chugging is required.

A group of people make a toast with tecate.

Shower and Bathrooms at Phantom

If you are staying in the Phantom Ranch  dorms there is a small room with a shower in it toward the back of the building. This room has its own light so you can shower late at night or early in the morning to avoid the rush and not wake your dorm mates up. A basic “wash everything” soap is provided in a dispenser and a towel can be found on your bed.

If you are staying in a  cabin  at Phantom Ranch you will have to make the short walk to the shower house (just south of the Canteen on the east side of the main trail). There’s a men’s side and a women’s side. Towels will be in your cabin and the magic soap is available here too. Don’t forget your cabin key (it gets you into the shower house…security to keep out those nasty campground people! 😉 ) and a change of clothes so you can walk back to your cabin clean and decent.

Pipeline Breaks and Water Scarcity

The Phantom Ranch pipeline is a marvel of 1970s engineering and therefore breaks multiple times per year. In this case, water will be highly guarded and showers in the shower house will not be allowed. The National Park Service is in the Transcanyon pipeline project the 24 miles of piping hidden just beneath the surface of the North Kaibab Trail, but be prepared that you may have to bathe in Bright Angel Creek (not the much colder Colorado River) if there’s a pipeline issue. Bring biodegradable soap in case you are one of the lucky ones to experience a real Phantom Ranch bath!

Phantom Ranch Dormitories

Remember how much you wanted a bunk bed as a kid? Now you get one!

Choosing your bunk

Early arrivals get the bottom bunks and will defend their easy-in/easy-out spots with their lives if necessary. If you’re in the dorms there are five bottom bunks and once they’re taken choosing from the top bunks is pure fun. There’s one bunk in the back corner with an angled ladder which is easier to negotiate than the vertical ones on all the other beds. Bonus: this bunk is right next to the A/C control! The bunk by the sink gets a light in their eyes whenever anyone uses the sink, but has the best A/C if you like to sleep cold. The bunks by the doors aren’t very quiet so most avoid those but they may not bother you if you are a heavy sleeper. If you get a top bunk, use the two hooks on the wall to hang all your stuff so you don’t have to get up and down every time you want a jolly rancher. Pro tip: bring lots of stuff sacks then hang them off the rail on the side of the bunk. That way you have a cockpit of personal needs at your disposal. Top bunks also get first dibs on the window sills so if you’re an organizer, you might enjoy “the penthouse.”

Bedding Provided

For each guest, Phantom Ranch provides a pillow, sheets, and a light blanket. Heat controls are to the left (north) of the front door, hidden behind a bunk. When you pick a spot, leave a piece of clothing or backpack on your bunk to claim it as yours. This will also keep housekeeping from stripping your bed and processing unnecessary laundry. Staying multiple nights and see your opportunity to grab a bottom bunk from someone who just hiked out? Do the Ranch staff the courtesy of moving your sheets over to the new bottom bunk so they only do the laundry for you once.

Tips and Tricks

Light sleeper? The A/C and other hikers are equally disruptive so bring ear plugs. A dormitory wake-up call will come every morning by the Ranch staff at 4:30am (it’s a ½ hour later during the winter) but if you have booked 10 people and have the whole dorm to yourself, make sure to ask that they skip your building so you can sleep until the late breakfast. If you’re booked at early breakfast and there are others still sleeping, be the coolest person ever and get your stuff ready the night before or outside the morning of your hike. Let the others sleep soundly for as long as possible! And if you put your personal food in the ammo can by the back door to protect it from animals, it’s only courteous to bring the can into the bathroom to open and close it if people are sleeping.

Visit Phantom Ranch

If you are planning a trip to Phantom Ranch, make sure you make your arrangements well in advance. Whether you hike into Phantom on your own or join a hiking trip with a professional outfitter, accommodations are limited and space fills up as far as a year in advance.

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Hit the Trail

Hit the Trail

Pioneering the Best Trails in the Southwest

Bright Angel Camground campsite | NPS Photo by Mike Quinn

Adventure Hikers & Campers Guide to Bright Angel Campground -Updated

Bright Angel is located approximately 1/4 to 1/3 of a mile downstream from Phantom Ranch and is operated by Grand Canyon National Park. A backcountry permit is required for camping anywhere in the Inner Canyon including Bright Angel, Indian Garden , and Cottonwood Campgrounds . 

There are 33 campsites which consists of 31 small group sites (1-6 people) and 2 large group sites (7-11 people). Camping is extremely popular and therefore permits are very difficult to obtain. More details can be found on the  Backcountry Permits page .

The small group sites vary in size but none are very large, so it is a good idea to keep that in mind if there are 6 of you and everyone is planning on taking a tent! It is a good idea to take the smallest tent possible and/or plan on sharing. Here are photos of some of the small group sites.

Campsite | Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon National Park - by Mike Quinn

  • Download NPS Corridor Trails Hiking Map (PDF – Free  Adobe Reader  required)
  • There is one building with toilets in the campground located directly in the middle of the row of sites. They have two stalls each for the men and women, and there is a ‘slop’ sink with running water located outside the men’s side. This is where you can wash dishes and yourself. The restrooms have running water and flush toilets and electric lights.
  • Outside the restrooms is a bulletin board where the rangers post the weather, ranger programs, and any other important notices daily.
  • The showers at Phantom Ranch are NOT available to campers. You have to be staying at the Lodge to use them.
  • Coffee is available at the side window at Phantom Ranch starting at 5:00 AM. You can’t get t-shirts or any other items from the window.
  • Phantom Ranch Canteen hours are: 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM and again at 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM. This is when it is open to the public and not being used for meals or meal prep.

Editor notes: we researched new updates and details in June 2023, see these additions below.

Beginner Hikers Guide to Bright Angel Campground

Are you a beginning hiker visiting Bright Angel for the first time? You might be perplexed as you try to figure things out and prepare for the trip.

Here’s what we recommend.

Bright Angel Campground is a sought-after destination located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, just half a mile north of the Colorado River on the banks of Bright Angel Creek[1].

The campground can be accessed via the Bright Angel Trail (about 10 miles from the South Rim), the South Kaibab Trail (about 7 miles from South Rim/ Yaki Point), or via the North Kaibab Trail (14 miles from the North Rim)[2].

Let’s Guide You

To help you prepare for your hike to Bright Angel Campground, here’s a beginner’s guide with essential tips and information.

Planning Your Hike

  • Choose the right season : Fall and spring are the best times to hike the Bright Angel Trail, as temperatures are cooler and crowds are smaller[3].
  • Check the weather : Always check the weather forecast before your hike to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience[4].
  • Obtain a backcountry permit : A permit is required to camp at Bright Angel Campground. Visit the Backcountry Permit page to learn how to obtain one[5].

Hiking Tips

  • Start early : Begin your hike early in the morning to avoid the heat and have enough time to complete your hike[6].
  • Stay on the trail : Stick to the official trail to protect the environment and ensure your safety[7].
  • Pace yourself : Take your time and hike at a comfortable pace, especially on the uphill sections[8].
  • Stay hydrated : Carry plenty of water and drink regularly, even if you don’t feel thirsty[8].
  • Eat regularly : Consume small amounts of food every half hour to maintain your energy levels[8].
  • Wear appropriate clothing and footwear : Dress in layers and wear comfortable, broken-in hiking shoes or boots[9].
  • Pack essentials : Bring a map, compass, first-aid kit, extra food, water, and clothing, as well as a headlamp or flashlight[4].
  • Know your limits : Be aware of your physical abilities and don’t push yourself too hard[8].
  • Practice Leave No Trace principles : Respect the environment by not littering, staying on the trail, and being considerate of other hikers[7].

Bright Angel Campground Facilities

Bright Angel Campground has 33 tent campsites, each with a table, two ammo boxes for food storage, and an area to pitch a tent[2]. The campground has a ranger station, drinking water, and flush toilets[2].

Phantom Ranch, less than half a mile from the campground, has a snack bar and offers dinner at the lodge with advance reservations[2].

Safety Tips

  • Be prepared for extreme heat : The Grand Canyon can experience high temperatures, so take precautions such as wearing sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses[6].
  • Know your water sources : Make sure you know where to find water along the trail and if the sources are open[6].
  • Be aware of wildlife : Keep a safe distance from wildlife and do not feed or approach them[9].
  • Hike with a buddy : If possible, hike with a partner or group for safety and support[9].

By following these tips and planning your hike carefully, you’ll be well-prepared for an unforgettable experience at Bright Angel Campground in the Grand Canyon. Happy hiking!

Citations: [1] https://www.grandcanyontrust.org/camp/cpe-bright-angel-campground [2] https://www.campsitephotos.com/campground/az/bright-angel/?amp=1&csp_rewrite_state=az [3] https://bearfoottheory.com/trail-guide-day-hiking-the-bright-angel-trail-to-indian-garden-grand-canyon/ [4] https://www.hipcamp.com/journal/top-10-hiking-tips-for-beginners/ [5] https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/campsite-information.htm [6] https://www.theadventurediet.com/blog/day-hiking-bright-angel-trail-in-grand-canyon [7] https://hikingguy.com/how-to-hike/hiking-for-beginners-11-essential-tips/ [8] https://azraft.com/bright-angel-trail-hiking-tips/ [9] https://www.wellplannedjourney.com/hiking-for-beginners/

Explorations from Bright Angel Campground

While your core home in Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park is Bright Angel Campground, there is so much more to explore around this coveted site.

This grand region, hemmed between South Rim and North Rim, is laden with attractions that hikers love to explore, right from the mystical Phantom Ranch to the roaring Colorado River.

Here’s more to explore and relish around the Bright Angel Campground.

An Overview of The Grand Canyon National Park

Nestled in the heart of Arizona, the Grand Canyon National Park is a monumental natural wonder. Managed by the National Park Service (NPS), it’s a dream destination for campers and backpackers, allured by the captivating Bright Angel Trail and the South Kaibab Trail. The Bright Angel Campground, at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, is a hotspot for adventurers year-round.

  • The North Rim is quieter and more remote, a perfect spot for solitude lovers. It offers a variety of hiking trails and incredible views of the canyon walls.
  • The South Rim is home to the bustling Grand Canyon Village and the busy Grand Canyon South Rim visitor center. It’s also where the Bright Angel Trailhead is located.
  • Grand Canyon Village is where you find amenities like restrooms, an emergency phone, and a ranger station, ensuring a safe experience for every visitor.

The Fascinating Corridor Trails

The Corridor Trails, including the Bright Angel Trail and the North and South Kaibab Trails, are well-maintained trails that lead campers down to the Bright Angel Campground. The Rim Trail is an accessible and less strenuous option for those who prefer less challenging routes. While the switchbacks might be demanding, the breath-taking views of the canyon walls are worth every step.

Camping Options and Amenities

The National Park Service provides campers with a variety of options for their Grand Canyon adventure.

  • Bright Angel Campground : This campground, located by the Bright Angel Creek, features 33 campsites complete with picnic tables, food storage boxes, and space for tents.
  • Cottonwood Campground : A smaller campground on the North Kaibab Trail, nestled among cottonwood trees, it’s a great resting point for backpackers.
  • Indian Garden Campground : Halfway down the Bright Angel Trail, you’ll find this shady oasis, great for a day hike.
  • Mather Campground : Situated in the Grand Canyon Village, it’s a convenient location with close proximity to the South Rim.

Remember, a backcountry permit from nps.gov is required to stay overnight in these campgrounds.

Bright Angel Campground is equipped with restrooms and flush toilets, and the nearby Phantom Ranch provides drinking water and even a snack bar for a quick bite. The ranger station is also on site for visitor support.

Points of Interest around Bright Angel Campground

  • Phantom Ranch : Here, the Colorado River is in view. It offers overnight lodging and meal services, but be sure to make reservations in advance.
  • Plateau Point : Just 1.5 miles from Indian Garden Campground, this viewpoint offers stunning panoramic vistas of the Grand Canyon.
  • Havasupai Gardens : For waterfall enthusiasts, a detour to Havasupai Gardens presents cascading falls and crystal blue waters.
  • Bright Angel Lodge : Located near the trailhead, this historic lodge offers accommodations and dining options.

Bright Angel Campground: A Year-Round Haven

The campground is open year-round, but remember to check the weather forecast before your hike. Keep in mind that during winter months, not all facilities may be available.

In conclusion, whether it’s the challenge of the switchbacks on the Bright Angel Trail or the serene peace by Bright Angel Creek, every hiker has something to cherish at the Bright Angel Campground.

And remember to practice Leave No Trace principles to keep this majestic place beautiful for future visitors. Happy adventuring in the heart of Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park!

Some recommended products below may include affiliate links for which I may receive a commission if purchased when clicking through. Please note that I only recommend products that I feel are worthy, and you will not pay any extra when purchasing through these links. Click here to read the full disclosure statement.

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Camping on Public Lands

BLM-managed lands offer numerous opportunities for camping under the stars ranging from staying in an RV at a highly developed campground to simply throwing a sleeping bag on the ground in the backcountry. No matter what type of experience you are looking for, you can find it on BLM-managed public lands.

Developed Campgrounds

At many locations the BLM provides developed facilities for camping. Campgrounds may include a variety of facilities, such as restrooms, potable water, electrical hookups, picnic areas, garbage cans, tent pads and group shelters. However, many campgrounds do not have all of these amenities and may only have a picnic table and fire ring. Make sure to check the campground’s website or call the appropriate field office when planning your trip.

Permits, Fees and Limitations:

Most BLM campgrounds require a fee to use a campground. These fees help maintain the facilities. Selecting a campsite is usually on a first come first serve basis. However, some campgrounds take reservations which can be made at r ecreation.gov . Please obey all posted rules specific to the campground and keep the following in mind.

  • Fee sites vary in price. Please check the campground’s website or call the local field office for details.
  • Camping stay limits vary by location but are generally about two weeks within a month period.
  • Pay camp fee within 30 minutes of occupying a site.
  • A campsite is rented ONLY once it has been paid in full with the pay-stub properly completed and displayed on site and the site is occupied by campers.
  • Do not leave personal property unattended for more than 72 hours.
  • Due to adverse weather, many campgrounds are only seasonally available. Make sure to check if the campground is open before planning your trip.

Dispersed Camping

Camping on public lands away from developed recreation facilities is referred to as dispersed camping. Most of the remainder of public lands are open to dispersed camping, as long as it does not conflict with other authorized uses or in areas posted "closed to camping," or in some way adversely affects wildlife species or natural resources.

Dispersed camping is generally allowed on public land for a period not to exceed 14 days within a 28 consecutive day period. Camping limitation rules vary per office,  please check with your local office for details on camping limitations . In addition, campers must not leave any personal property unattended for more than 10 days (12 months in Alaska).

Campsite Selection

Dispersed camp sites are located along most secondary roads and may not be marked.  Popular locations can be recognized by the telltale flat disturbed area that has been used as a camp site before.  Not all flat spots are sites. If possible, please use existing sites to avoid creating new disturbances. To further protect your public lands, campers must not dispose of any refuse, hazardous materials, sewage, or in any manner pollute the surrounding area.

States may have additional requirements or restrictions for dispersed camping. Please see Regional Information before planning your trip. 

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  1. Guide To Making Reservations For Phantom Ranch, Grand Canyon 2020

    phantom ranch camping reservations

  2. Guide To Making Reservations For Phantom Ranch, Grand Canyon 2020

    phantom ranch camping reservations

  3. Guide To Making Reservations For Phantom Ranch, Grand Canyon 2020

    phantom ranch camping reservations

  4. Reservations at Grand Canyon's Phantom Ranch set to reopen

    phantom ranch camping reservations

  5. How To Make Reservations For Phantom Ranch, Grand Canyon: Complete Guide

    phantom ranch camping reservations

  6. Guide To Making Reservations For Phantom Ranch, Grand Canyon 2020

    phantom ranch camping reservations


  1. Phantom Ranch

    All Phantom Ranch reservations must be made in advance. Space is extremely limited. Additional individuals cannot stay under your reservation, and guests are prohibited from doubling-up in the bunks or sleeping on the floors. Our cabins and dorms do not have phones or televisions.

  2. Phantom Ranch Information

    Advance reservations for meals and lodging at Phantom Ranch are required. Reservations are made through Xanterra via an on-line lottery 15 months in advance. The park's Backcountry Information Center does not make reservations for Phantom Ranch lodging or meals.

  3. Bright Angel Campground

    Description Spend a night at the bottom of the Grand Canyon surrounded by 2 billion year old granite and Vishnu schist! Bright Angel Campground is just a half mile north of the Colorado River on the banks of Bright Angel Creek, a tributary of the Colorado. Campsites either sit at the base of towering cliff walls or line the creek.

  4. How To Make Reservations For Phantom Ranch, Grand Canyon: Complete Guide

    If you are wondering if there is a hotel at bottom of Grand Canyon or even just what's at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, then the answer is yes, "Phantom Ranch" - the lodge at the bottom of Grand Canyon.

  5. Phantom Ranch Camping

    Reservation Info All Phantom Ranch reservations must be made in advance. Space is extremely limited. You can't have extra people stay under your reservation. People may not double-up in the bunks or sleep on the floors. Suggest an Edit Unlock Discounts Save $$$

  6. Backcountry Permit

    Reservations for overnight tent or RV camping in developed use areas on the canyon rims (Mather, Desert View, North Rim) are not obtained through the Backcountry Information Center. The Backcountry Information Center does not make reservations for river trips, mule trips, Phantom Ranch lodging, or trips into the canyon on the Havasupai Reservation.


    541 reviews #1 of 12 Specialty lodging in Grand Canyon National Park Location 5.0 Cleanliness 4.0 Service 4.5 Value 4.5 Phantom Ranch is a historic oasis nestled at the bottom of Grand Canyon. It is on the north side of the Colorado River tucked in beside Bright Angel Creek. Phantom is the only lodging below the canyon rim.

  8. Lodging

    Reservations are recommended. Most lodges in Grand Canyon Village are within walking distance of the canyon rim. Reservations are by Delaware North and Xanterra Parks & Resorts. (Grand Canyon Village) South Rim Shuttle Bus Service During Summer 2023, free South Rim shuttle bus service is in operation.

  9. Backcountry Trails and Use Areas

    Park Home Plan Your Visit Things To Do Backcountry Hiking Trails and Use Areas Backcountry Trails and Use Areas A permit is required to camp in a location other than a developed campground on the North and South Rims. Visit the Backcountry Permit page to learn how to obtain a permit.

  10. Phantom Ranch reservations 2023: How to book a hike or mule ride

    Reservations can be made online starting at 12:01 a.m. MST at https://secure.phantomranchlottery.com, or by phone with a reservation agent starting at 7 a.m. Xanterra also plans to open...

  11. Phantom Ranch Lottery

    Inventory will be released for general sale, and reservations can only be made online beginning at 12:01 am (Mountain Time) or with one of our Central Reservation agents over the phone beginning at 7:00 am (MT - Mountain Time). The Phantom Ranch re-opening schedule will resume as follows: Phantom Ranch Reopening Inventory Release Schedule

  12. Plan A Trip To Phantom Ranch

    Staying at Phantom Ranch: This remote outpost offers two accommodation options for visitors to the inner canyon. You can either attempt to reserve a private cabin or you can stay in the cozy gender-segregated Phantom Ranch dormitories. Each dormitory room has 10 beds (5 bunks), a bathroom in the dormitory, and bedding and a towel for your stay.

  13. Phantom Ranch FAQs

    Equipment Rentals/Purchase Guide to Flashlights and Lanterns for Hiking, Camping and Backpacking Seat Pads Sleeping Bags Sleeping Pads Socks Tents Walking Sticks Water Purification Trails & Campgrounds Bright Angel Campground Cottonwood Camp Desert View Grand Canyon's Corridor Trails Grand Canyon Trail Descriptions Havasu and Mooney Falls Guide

  14. Tips for Staying at Phantom Ranch

    Local Tips Arizona Tips for Staying at Phantom Ranch Megan A Arizona Aug 2015 Staying at Phantom Ranch in the bottom of the Grand Canyon is a must-do active outdoor vacation for all adventurers!

  15. Adventure Hikers & Campers Guide to Bright Angel Campground -Updated

    Equipment Rentals/Purchase Guide to Flashlights and Lanterns for Hiking, Camping and Backpacking Grand Canyon's Corridor Trails Havasu and Mooney Falls Guide Phantom Ranch/BA Day Hikes Phantom Ranch Area Map Phantom Ranch FAQs Phantom Ranch Lodging/Dining Sedona/Verde Valley Trails Toroweap & Tuweep Trip Reports - Baja Safety, Resources & Training

  16. Phantom Ranch

    Phantom Ranch is a lodge inside Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.It sits at the bottom of Grand Canyon, on the east side of Bright Angel Creek, a little over half a mile north of the Creek's confluence with the Colorado River.Opened in 1922, Phantom Ranch is a member of Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

  17. Mule Trips

    Grand Canyon Mule Rides. left to right: South Rim - Phantom Ranch, Bright Angel Trail switchbacks, North Rim riders descending North Kaibab Trail. ... For information and reservations call (928) 638-2891. Last updated: February 5, 2021. Park footer. Contact Info. Mailing Address: PO Box 129 Grand Canyon, AZ 86023 Phone: 928-638-7888. Contact Us ...

  18. Camping

    Developed Campgrounds. At many locations the BLM provides developed facilities for camping. Campgrounds may include a variety of facilities, such as restrooms, potable water, electrical hookups, picnic areas, garbage cans, tent pads and group shelters. However, many campgrounds do not have all of these amenities and may only have a picnic table ...

  19. What are the buildings at the bottom of the Grand Canyon?

    The campsites offer basic facilities like restrooms and picnic tables, allowing visitors to take in the grandeur of the Grand Canyon while enjoying a back-to-nature experience. Moreover, the Grand Canyon also houses various structures used by researchers and scientists. ... Making a reservation at the Phantom Ranch requires careful planning ...

  20. Elk River Idaho Recreation District

    Camp Areas, Rules & Reservations. feel the excitement. Campgrounds, events, area info & more fun in Elk River, Idaho! ... We offer camping spots at both our area's Parks and Recreation Area's and our local Elk River Recreation District Areas. Click on area's below for more specific info and to reserve your next vacation to Elk River Idaho!

  21. Camping

    Reservations for stays within Idaho's State Parks can be made online and toll-free by phone at: 1-888-922-6743. Agents will be available seven days a week, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Mountain Standard Time (MST), and Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., MST. From Monday through Friday, another option is to call the Reservations ...

  22. Reserve

    Changes can be made online or by calling 800-452-5687 during business hours (8 a.m -5 p.m. Monday through Friday). Changes are subject to a transaction fee. See our Change Reservation page for information. You may cancel your campsite, cabin, or, yurt reservation by phone or online up to one day before your scheduled arrival.