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Grand Canyon Quick Escape: Hiking to Phantom Ranch

Trip Length 4 days

From $2,000

  • Experience the highlights of the Grand Canyon, including a visit to Desert View Watchtower and the Bright Angel Trail
  • Take an scenic hike down to the iconic Phantom Ranch and spend the night in this amazing lodge—the only one inside the park!
  • Learn about the park's unique wildlife, geology and history from expert guides, who'll help you see the park in ways you've never imagined
  • Dine on delicious meals and enjoy a celebratory dinner at the elegant El Tovar

Spend a weekend exploring the highlights of Grand Canyon National Park with the added special treat of an overnight stay at Phantom Ranch, the only lodging located in the heart of the Grand Canyon. The journey to the bottom showcases 1.7 billion years of geologic history, exposed in colorful layers by the down-cutting of the Colorado River. Freestanding buttes, sculpted alcoves, and massive cliffs spread out in front of us in a panorama of light and shadow. Expert guides will lead you to the awe-inspiring views from the Desert View Watchtower, South Kaibab Trail, Bright Angel Trail and overlooks from which the Colorado River and its famous rapids can be seen far below. Learn about the park’s unique wildlife, geology and history along the way, and unwind with delicious meals in the evening. When we return to the vibrant desert city of Phoenix, we bring with us an extraordinary experience from a premier World Heritage Site.

Day 1: Journey to the heart of the Grand Canyon

Arrive by 12:30pm at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport and start heading north. We progress through a series of different life zones as we climb above the Mogollon Rim onto the Colorado Plateau. Along the way our guides will explain the geologic forces that created this massive uplift and why the Grand Canyon formed. We pass through the town of Flagstaff at the base of the San Francisco Peaks; home to Arizona’s highest mountain, Mt. Humphreys and surrounded by the world’s largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest.

Past Flagstaff we are treated to the soft pastels and vast panoramas of the Painted Desert as we approach the Grand Canyon. Our first look at the canyon is from the historic Desert View Watchtower, a Mary Jane Colter building perched on the edge of the great chasm. It is only another 30 minutes of scenic driving along the rim to where we will check in to our rim lodging that will be our base for the next three nights. A delicious dinner waits at the Bright Angel Lodge after settling in to our rooms.

  • Dinner
  • Accommodation:Rim Lodge

Day 2: Hike the South Kaibib Trail

After a hearty breakfast we descend 7 miles and 4,780 feet into the grandest of canyons. Today’s hike takes us down into the canyon along the South Kaibab Trail, famous for the best views of any trail in the park. Built from December 1924 to June 1925 by crews working in both directions, this trail is one of the few in Grand Canyon National Park that follows a ridgeline rather than a fault line or side canyon, resulting in awesome panoramic views up and down the canyon for miles. We descend past Ooh Aah Point to Cedar Ridge where we enjoy a gourmet lunch before continuing our trek. From here we traverse the Tonto Plateau before dropping into the Inner Gorge. The last part of our hike takes us along the Colorado River and over a suspension bridge until, at trail’s end, we find Phantom Ranch nestled on the banks of Bright Angel Creek just before its confluence with the majestic Colorado River. Phantom Ranch was founded in 1903 as a hunting camp and named by local architect Mary Jane Colter after nearby Phantom Creek. 7 miles hiking (-4,780ft elevation loss)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Phantom Ranch

Day 3: Hike up Bright Angel Trail

The morning hours find us preparing to conquer the mighty canyon. Our exit is via the Bright Angel Trail, a classic Grand Canyon trek. After crossing the Colorado River, the trail snakes its way up out of the inner gorge to the shady oasis of Indian Gardens. Here we will refuel and refill with water before tackling the steep ascent up Jacob’s Ladder through the Redwall layer. While always a hearty challenge, your guides will provide you with helpful hints, strategies, techniques, and their insider knowledge of the keys to a successful ascent. Tonight we celebrate our accomplishments with the fine dining of El Tovar while recapping our adventures and swapping stories.10 miles hiking (+4,300ft elevation gain)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Rim Lodge

Day 4: Sunrise hike and return to Phoenix

It is hard to believe this is the last day of our journey! For those inclined to rise early we will hike from our rooms to Trail View Overlook for the moving experience of sunrise at Grand Canyon. Coupled with the beauty of the sun appearing over the desert to the east is the ever-changing light as the sun illuminates the canyon walls from the top down. A short walk back to the village gets us ready for a delicious breakfast at El Tovar before some free time for last minute photos, purchases, or awe-inspiring views before we pack and head back to the south. Taking a different route back to Flagstaff we will drive along the beautiful Highway 180 which offers spectacular views of the San Francisco Peaks, giant meadows, ponderosa forest and volcanic cones. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife like elk, mule deer and pronghorn. In Flagstaff we will enjoy a wonderful lunch before resuming our journey to Phoenix where our guides will drop us off either at the airport or hotel of choice. If you choose to fly home this evening, book your outgoing flight for 7:00pm or later. 

  • Breakfast/Lunch

Apr 20 - 23, 2017

May 06 - 09, 2017

Sep 04 - 07, 2017

Nov 25 - 28, 2017

pricing

2017 Price
$2,000 (4-12 members)
$550 Single Supplement

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Phantom Ranch — Grand Canyon

Phantom Ranch is a National Park Service owned and operated outpost in the depths of the Grand Canyon. The property is made up of a main lodge and rustic cabins, a prime example of organic architecture with roots dating back to the 1920s. The Ranch is known for its hearty meals which include options of steak, veggie, and stew dinners which are prepared by the rangers and served in liberal portions. The cabins are traditional but very comfortable, and provide a peaceful place to rest your head, deep in the Grand Canyon, after a day of long day of hiking.

Rim Lodge — Grand Canyon

Your Grand Canyon accommodation could be at either the Thunderbird Lodge or the Kachina Lodge:

Thunderbird Lodge

Built near the Bright Angel Trail head and the Vercamps Visitor Center, the Thunderbird is a popular South Rim lodge. Contemporary 1960s architecture coupled with a wonderful vantage point ensure an unforgettable stay on the very edge (literally) of a natural wonder of the world! Its comfortable rooms have all the amenities you'd expect, but its biggest draw is the location.

Kachina Lodge

Perched on the Grand Canyon's South Rim, the Kachina Lodge boasts a contemporary setup while being centrally located near the historic district. Rooms come with amenities like full baths and flat screen televisions, and make the perfect place to relax before or after your time on the trail. Overall, the lodge is a convenient and comfortable hub for energetic guests, who are eager to immerse themselves in the beauty of the Grand Canyon.

  • Experience the highlights of the Grand Canyon, including a visit to Desert View Watchtower and the Bright Angel Trail
  • Take an scenic hike down to the iconic Phantom Ranch and spend the night in this amazing lodge—the only one inside the park!
  • Learn about the park's unique wildlife, geology and history from expert guides, who'll help you see the park in ways you've never imagined
  • Dine on delicious meals and enjoy a celebratory dinner at the elegant El Tovar

Spend a weekend exploring the highlights of Grand Canyon National Park with the added special treat of an overnight stay at Phantom Ranch, the only lodging located in the heart of the Grand Canyon. The journey to the bottom showcases 1.7 billion years of geologic history, exposed in colorful layers by the down-cutting of the Colorado River. Freestanding buttes, sculpted alcoves, and massive cliffs spread out in front of us in a panorama of light and shadow. Expert guides will lead you to the awe-inspiring views from the Desert View Watchtower, South Kaibab Trail, Bright Angel Trail and overlooks from which the Colorado River and its famous rapids can be seen far below. Learn about the park’s unique wildlife, geology and history along the way, and unwind with delicious meals in the evening. When we return to the vibrant desert city of Phoenix, we bring with us an extraordinary experience from a premier World Heritage Site.

DAILY itinerary

Day 1: Journey to the heart of the Grand Canyon

Arrive by 12:30pm at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport and start heading north. We progress through a series of different life zones as we climb above the Mogollon Rim onto the Colorado Plateau. Along the way our guides will explain the geologic forces that created this massive uplift and why the Grand Canyon formed. We pass through the town of Flagstaff at the base of the San Francisco Peaks; home to Arizona’s highest mountain, Mt. Humphreys and surrounded by the world’s largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest.

Past Flagstaff we are treated to the soft pastels and vast panoramas of the Painted Desert as we approach the Grand Canyon. Our first look at the canyon is from the historic Desert View Watchtower, a Mary Jane Colter building perched on the edge of the great chasm. It is only another 30 minutes of scenic driving along the rim to where we will check in to our rim lodging that will be our base for the next three nights. A delicious dinner waits at the Bright Angel Lodge after settling in to our rooms.

  • Dinner
  • Accommodation:Rim Lodge

Day 2: Hike the South Kaibib Trail

After a hearty breakfast we descend 7 miles and 4,780 feet into the grandest of canyons. Today’s hike takes us down into the canyon along the South Kaibab Trail, famous for the best views of any trail in the park. Built from December 1924 to June 1925 by crews working in both directions, this trail is one of the few in Grand Canyon National Park that follows a ridgeline rather than a fault line or side canyon, resulting in awesome panoramic views up and down the canyon for miles. We descend past Ooh Aah Point to Cedar Ridge where we enjoy a gourmet lunch before continuing our trek. From here we traverse the Tonto Plateau before dropping into the Inner Gorge. The last part of our hike takes us along the Colorado River and over a suspension bridge until, at trail’s end, we find Phantom Ranch nestled on the banks of Bright Angel Creek just before its confluence with the majestic Colorado River. Phantom Ranch was founded in 1903 as a hunting camp and named by local architect Mary Jane Colter after nearby Phantom Creek. 7 miles hiking (-4,780ft elevation loss)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Phantom Ranch

Day 3: Hike up Bright Angel Trail

The morning hours find us preparing to conquer the mighty canyon. Our exit is via the Bright Angel Trail, a classic Grand Canyon trek. After crossing the Colorado River, the trail snakes its way up out of the inner gorge to the shady oasis of Indian Gardens. Here we will refuel and refill with water before tackling the steep ascent up Jacob’s Ladder through the Redwall layer. While always a hearty challenge, your guides will provide you with helpful hints, strategies, techniques, and their insider knowledge of the keys to a successful ascent. Tonight we celebrate our accomplishments with the fine dining of El Tovar while recapping our adventures and swapping stories.10 miles hiking (+4,300ft elevation gain)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Rim Lodge

Day 4: Sunrise hike and return to Phoenix

It is hard to believe this is the last day of our journey! For those inclined to rise early we will hike from our rooms to Trail View Overlook for the moving experience of sunrise at Grand Canyon. Coupled with the beauty of the sun appearing over the desert to the east is the ever-changing light as the sun illuminates the canyon walls from the top down. A short walk back to the village gets us ready for a delicious breakfast at El Tovar before some free time for last minute photos, purchases, or awe-inspiring views before we pack and head back to the south. Taking a different route back to Flagstaff we will drive along the beautiful Highway 180 which offers spectacular views of the San Francisco Peaks, giant meadows, ponderosa forest and volcanic cones. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife like elk, mule deer and pronghorn. In Flagstaff we will enjoy a wonderful lunch before resuming our journey to Phoenix where our guides will drop us off either at the airport or hotel of choice. If you choose to fly home this evening, book your outgoing flight for 7:00pm or later. 

  • Breakfast/Lunch
lodgings

Phantom Ranch — Grand Canyon

Phantom Ranch is a National Park Service owned and operated outpost in the depths of the Grand Canyon. The property is made up of a main lodge and rustic cabins, a prime example of organic architecture with roots dating back to the 1920s. The Ranch is known for its hearty meals which include options of steak, veggie, and stew dinners which are prepared by the rangers and served in liberal portions. The cabins are traditional but very comfortable, and provide a peaceful place to rest your head, deep in the Grand Canyon, after a day of long day of hiking.

Rim Lodge — Grand Canyon

Your Grand Canyon accommodation could be at either the Thunderbird Lodge or the Kachina Lodge:

Thunderbird Lodge

Built near the Bright Angel Trail head and the Vercamps Visitor Center, the Thunderbird is a popular South Rim lodge. Contemporary 1960s architecture coupled with a wonderful vantage point ensure an unforgettable stay on the very edge (literally) of a natural wonder of the world! Its comfortable rooms have all the amenities you'd expect, but its biggest draw is the location.

Kachina Lodge

Perched on the Grand Canyon's South Rim, the Kachina Lodge boasts a contemporary setup while being centrally located near the historic district. Rooms come with amenities like full baths and flat screen televisions, and make the perfect place to relax before or after your time on the trail. Overall, the lodge is a convenient and comfortable hub for energetic guests, who are eager to immerse themselves in the beauty of the Grand Canyon.

Dates and Pricing

Apr 20 - 23, 2017

May 06 - 09, 2017

Sep 04 - 07, 2017

Nov 25 - 28, 2017

pricing

2017 Price
$2,000 (4-12 members)
$550 Single Supplement

Activity Level Easy to Moderate
Trip Length 4 days

From $2,000

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Call us at 1-888-831-7526
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Award-winning journeys recognized by Travel +Leisure

Award-winning journeys recognized by Travel +Leisure