Phantom Ranch 1 or 2 nights

Old Jan 16th, 2009, 07:31 AM
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Phantom Ranch 1 or 2 nights

We are planning on taking the mule trip into the canyon with 14 and 11 year olds end of June 2010. Need to know if there is enough to keep the kids entertained to stay 2 nights. I realize it will be hot and not sure what kind of hikes there are at the bottom. We have traveled to South Dakota, Yellowstone, and Grand Tetons on previous trips and like to be away from the crowds seeing things most travelers don't see.
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Old Jan 16th, 2009, 09:14 AM
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I can't speak from personal experience, never having been down to the bottom where Phantom Ranch is, but this website might be helpful:
sludick is offline  
Old Jan 16th, 2009, 09:16 AM
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I would definitely do two nights if possible. There are several nice hikes from out of Phantom, especially since you rode a mule down and didn't cramp your legs like most hikers.

If it's not TOO hot you could day hike up to Ribbon Falls, which is about 6-7 level miles up North Kaibab. One of the most beautiful places in this corridor and lightly visited.

If it's really hot you could hike a mile or so up NK to Phantom Creek and then scramble up this narrow gorge. Don't do this if there is a chance of rain (unlikely in June). There is shade all the way and you are in and out of the water so a nice hike under the right conditions. In early June it may be too high because of the run-off from melting snow but if you can get it it's great.

You could also hike up NK to the turn-off to the trail to Clear Creek and maybe go to the top of the Tapeats for great views. This will involve some 'up' hiking but the views are worth it.

In June you should start out very early because of the heat and plan on being back at the Ranch not long after noon. You can swim in the creek or dip in the river, the water is probably in the 50's and 60's F in both so you will cool off quickly.
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Old Jan 16th, 2009, 10:05 AM
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It is such a remote and special place---well worth two nights.

Bill_H has given you good hike suggestions. You'll also want to spend some time cooling off in Bright Angel creek. The Colorado R. is too swift and strong for swimming, but you can sit in the very-cold water near shore at Boat Beach. Make sure you supervise the kids on this---the river is dangerous.

Another think you could do is challenge the kids to a Phantom Ranch treasure hunt:

In 3 visits, we have found most things on the list, but never the "no poodles" sign.

Be sure and attend the evening scorpion hunt if the rangers offer it. The kids will love that too.
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Old Jan 16th, 2009, 12:40 PM
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I would absolutely do 2 nights.

We did the mule tour and you arrive at PR mid-afternoon - 2:30/3 ish. We all put on shorts and sat by the riverbank and hung out. The sun sets earlier down there because you are in the middle of a big canyon (obviously).

The next day we were jealous of those not departing - we had to get up and get on the mules. We wished we could have stayed longer. I remember someone talking about a hike that went to a swimming hole ? (I've clearly lost a few brain cells since then).

The next morning coming out of the canyon you will go via a different trail - shorter. I think the first day down is Bright Angel and the way up is Kaibob ?

One thing for definite:
repeat after me:


After we stopped for lunch, the 1 day people turned around and headed up and were on the mules for another 3 or so hours. We were most of the way down and had a shorter trip down. They were very sore (we saw a few the next day).

Are you aware of the packing requirements ? The weight requirement ?

have a great time. I can't wait until our kids are old enough to go.
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Old Jan 16th, 2009, 12:49 PM
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Definitely 2 nights. You leave shortly after breakfast to head back up, so one night gives you very little time to explore down there.

Attend the ranger programs and do at least one hike (the one's already suggested are good). Just get up early, especially for the Ribbon Falls hike as you'll pass through the Box on the trail and it is a beast in summer. If anyone gets too hot just sit in the creek for a bit.
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