Most vacationers visit the Grand Canyon in warm weather months, but here's a chance to see one of the most spectacular sites on Earth-and not be bothered by big crowds. Bear in mind the north rim is closed in the winter due to snow. If you'd like to hike it in the winter from the South Rim, read on!
Tips & Warnings
Reservations at Phantom Ranch can be had 13 months in advance. Make yours as soon as you can commit to your hiking date.
Occasionally cancellations pop up. People have walked up to the Phantom Ranch reservation Desk inside the Bright Angel Lodge and gotten lodging down below for the next night. Don't count on it, though.
Dress in layers. It could be cold and snowy at the top and shirt- sleeve weather half way down.
Use hiking poles, 13 miles is tough on anybody's knees and poles will save wear and tear for you. Plus they will help you balance if the trail is icy.
The Phantom Ranch dinner seatings offer different menus, and if you and your companions ordered different dinners, you may not be eating together. The offerings are lentil loaf, a steak dinner and beef stew.
At the Ranch, there are little rustic cabins for couples and larger dorms that accommodate 10 in bunk beds. Bring ear plugs if you're a light sleeper.
Phantom Ranch supplies towels and soap. The canteen down there has snacks, too.
Yes, you can camp in the winter at the bottom if you're up for it. In which case, you'll be bringing everything: sleeping bag, tent, food-and a backpacking permit that you can apply for four months in advance.
BRING CHAINS for your car. It frequently snows up at the rim, and you could easily be caught in two feet of snow during your visit.
Be aware of hypothermia, which is what happens if you get chilled to the bone and can't get warm. That's why a warm hat, waterproof clothing, and layers are so important.
There's no place to cook in your cabin or dorm at the Ranch.