The rules are changing for lodging at Grand Canyon’s Phantom Ranch

Phantom Ranch Cabin, Grand Canyon National Park

Everything is changing for America’s most exclusive lodge.

Phantom Ranch sits at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and getting reservations there can be much like getting Hamilton tickets.

Afterall, sleeping in a cabin 5,000 feet below the rim of the most majestic place on Earth requires serious research, planning, and luck.

For decades, those wanting to stay at Phantom Ranch would follow these general steps.

  1.  You mark your calendar 13 months from the day you want to go.
  2. You have several phones and people ready to start dialing the Phantom Ranch reservation number.
  3. You cross your fingers and hope it doesn’t get booked up before you get through.
Phantom Ranch Cabin Grand Canyon National Park
Phantom Ranch Cabin, Grand Canyon National Park


But, if you’re wanting to stay at Phantom Ranch in January 2019 or later, forget everything you’ve heard or read, because everthing is changing.

The New Rules of the Game

Effective with stays of January 2019 and beyond, Phantom Ranch will utilize a lottery system for random selection of bed space.

One Shirt = One Tree
Plant a Seed
  • Lottery  entries will be required 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.
  • Any unsold/unclaimed inventory will be released to general availability for reservations following the current 13-month reservation window.


  • Want to stay in Janary 2019?
  • You enter the lottery (online) between November 1-25, 2017
  • The lottery will be processed and you’ll be notified in December 2017
  • Unsold inventory will be avilable January 2, 2018 (normally on the 1st of the month, January is on the 2nd due to the New Year’s Day holiday)

Here’s a Schedule to Make Planning even easier


Why the change?

Phantom Ranch has extreme demand and the current system is essentially a phone lottery where guests are continually redialing trying to get through on the first of each month. The new lottery system will simplify the process.

It’s also 2017, and it seems like it’s the right thing to do.

Is there a fee to enter the lottery?

There is no fee to enter the lottery. You only pay once you’re selected in the lottery.

How will lottery winners be determined?

Lottery winners will be selected via a computer program we designed specifically for this lottery.

What’s the big deal about Phantom Ranch?

It’s the only lodging below the Canyon Rim and can be reached three ways.  Foot, mule or raft.

Ooh Aah Point Phantom Ranch Grand Canyon
Ooh Aah Point on the South Kaibab Trail towards Phantom Ranch

The hike down to Phantom Ranch is 7.5 miles down the South Kaibab Trail and 10 miles down the Bright Angel Trail.

The cabins are rustic and have no TVs or phones. But when you’re at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, would you have it any other way?

There are two types of accommodations at Phantom Ranch.

  • Dormitories– There are two male dorms and two female dorms. Each dorm has five bunk beds, a shower, and restroom. Bedding and towels are provided for each guest occupying a dorm bed. Children must be at least six years old to stay in a dormitory.
  • Cabins– Cabins are equipped with bedding, cold water sink, toilet, liquid soap, and hand towels. Showers, bath towels, hot water sinks, and liquid soap-shampoo combination are provided at a central location.

After a long day of hiking into the Grand Canyon, the opportunity to have a “soft” bed and access to hot water is priceless to some.

If the idea of a cabin at the bottom of the Grand Canyon is too plush for you, that’s not a problem.  There’s also an option to try and secure a backcountry permit for camping at Bright Angel Campground.  The campground is located less than a 0.5 mile from Phantom Ranch.

For other FAQs click here.

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