A variety of accommodations are available for the thousands of travelers visiting the Grand Canyon each year. Many will arrive in RVs or equipped with trailers and tents for outdoor camping. For those wanting to combine their adventure with more amenities and services, there are other options. The upscale El Tovar has been a favorite of many well-known people including Einstein, Zane Grey, and Teddy Roosevelt. Guests of this national historic site will appreciate the fine dining, concierge services, self-parking, a gift shop, lounge, and a choice of rooms or suites.
The Bright Angel on the South Rim attracts travelers for its rustic charm and reasonable rates. Built by Mary Colter, renowned architect for other Canyon properties, the lodge and cabins are ideal for families or groups. In addition to a restaurant, lounge, gift shop, history room, and an ice cream soda fountain open during the summer, this is a great location to arrange tours or activities, such as the Grand Canyon Mule Rides. Cabins are equipped with phones, TVs, and private bath.
Katrina-Thunderbird Lodge has fewer amenities, but the rooms have private baths, a small refrigerator, TV, and telephone. Check-in, dining, and other services are available a short distance away at either the Bright Angel or El Tovar.
Travelers will enjoy the atmosphere of the Maswik Lodge, set amid the Ponderosa Pines. Only ¼ mile from the Canyon rim, the Lodge features a sports bar, cafeteria, small shop, and an activities and tour desk. Rooms vary from simple motel style to spacious and up to date. Cabins on the grounds are also available for summer months, and rates are less expensive than some of the other accommodations
The large Yavapai Lodge is situated in the pinyon and juniper woods about ½ mile from the Canyon. Many of the 198 rooms have air conditioning, while others feature ceiling fans and vaulted ceilings. Conveniently located to the Market Plaza and the National Park Service Visitor Center, this lodge also has onsite dining at the Canyon Café, an activities desk, and souvenir shop.
For travelers seeking something unique in their visit to Grand Canyon, the Phantom Ranch should not be missed. Located over 5,000 feet below the North Rim, the area has a long and interesting history, dating from the Native Americans in 1050 AD to prospectors in the 1800’s and Teddy Roosevelt’s hunting expedition in 1913. His interest in the area led to further public interest and subsequent development by the Fred Harvey Company. Mary Colter was hired to design more permanent lodging, changing the name from Roosevelt Camp to Phantom Ranch. Except for rock, other construction materials for the camp were brought down by mule. The Civilian Conservation Corps made a number of improvements during the Great Depression, and by the 1920’s and 30’s, Phantom Ranch had become a popular tourist attraction for the wealthy, the young, and the well educated. Today, it is a national historic site, and a welcome oasis for hikers, rafters, and others eager to visit far below the rim. (Note: It is only one of two places in the Canyon, the other at Havasu Falls, where mail is still delivered by mule.)
Phantom Ranch is a complete campground with cabins, 4 dormitories (2 – male, 2 -female), a family style dining/beer hall, a mule corral, ranger station, a strip of beach on the Colorado River, and emergency medical services. Box lunches can be purchased to take along the trails through the cottonwoods to the river, where two bridges are the only crossings for 200 miles. As might be expected at this location, where access is limited to trails for people or mules, or from the river, lodging is inexpensive. Simple cabins have bunk beds, toilets, and showers nearby; each dorm has 9 bunk beds and only one shower. Travelers should come prepared for the considerable variations in temperature here, ranging from as high as 106F in the summer to 36F in the winter, but with little snow.
(Reservations for lodging, meals (if needed), can be made a year in advance by calling: 303-297-2757.)
Fourteen miles from the rim, travelers will discover the Grand Canyon West Ranch, a 100,000-acre working cattle ranch. A perfect location for couples or families, the West Ranch offers reasonable rates, which include three full meals, live cowboy entertainment, horseback riding, and wagon rides. Enjoy the comfort of a private cabin with loft, fireplace, and pure mineral water bath, or stay outdoors in an authentic Indian tepee. Whether singing around the campfire at night, or socializing in the Diamond Bar, there’s no lack of things to see and do at West Ranch.
– by Sharon Slayton, LASR.net contributer
– NPS Photo by Michael Quinn