Enter the Phantom Ranch Lottery

You have questions about the Phantom Ranch lottery, we have answers. Below you will find some of the most frequently asked questions we have received about the new process. Don’t see your question on the list? Feel free to give us a call at 888-29PARKS and one of our Central Reservations agents will be happy to answer any question you may have.

General:

  • Q: Why the change to the reservation process?
  • A. The schedule is based upon our existing window of accepting reservations up to 13 months in advance. With a month allotted for the submission period, followed by a month for processing, notification, confirm/guarantee the reservation, etc., it bumps the lottery schedule out from 13 to 15 months prior. This allows guests to make additional plans, knowing whether they were successful in securing beds at Phantom Ranch. 
  • Q. Why do I have to submit my request so far in advance?
  • A. 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 simplifies the reservation process. Guests have almost a month to submit reservation requests vs. needing to spend hours on the first of each month trying to get through to our central reservations call center. Everyone who submits a request will be notified whether selected or not. If your submission was chosen in the lottery, and your request matches with available inventory, you will be given instructions on how to proceed. If your submission was not chosen, you can try again for new dates. We believe this is a more equitable system that also requires less time for our guests trying to secure reservations. 
  • Q. Is there a fee to enter the Phantom Ranch lottery?
  • A: No. There is not a fee to enter the Phantom Ranch lottery. Payment will only be required to confirm reservations of the lottery winners. 
  • Q. When can I make my reservations for lodging on the Rim for before and/or after my Phantom Ranch stay?
  • A. Reservations for our lodges on the Rim are currently accepted for stays up to 13 months in advance. On the first of each month we begin accepting reservations for the same month in the following year. For example, on February 1, 2018, we begin accepting reservations for the entire month of February 2019. Due to the New Year holiday, January is the one exception where reservations are accepted beginning on January 2nd vs. January 1st. 
  • Q. Can I call to make a lodging reservation at Phantom Ranch?
  • A. Yes. Once the lottery is completed when any unsold or unclaimed inventory is released to the general public, reservations are accepted online or over the phone for the unsold spaces. You may not call to enter a lottery submission or to make a reservation at Phantom Ranch prior to the 13 month advance reservation period referenced above.
  • Q. What portions of Phantom Ranch are included in the lottery?
  • A. The Phantom Ranch lottery is for bed space only. For Hikers, the lottery is for either Hiker Cabins or Hiker Dorms. Meals and duffel service can be added at the time of guaranteeing the bed space reservation. Phantom Ranch overnight mule rides are also included in the lottery. 
  • Q. Does the lottery system apply to mule rides to Phantom Ranch?
  • A. Yes. Overnight mule rides to Phantom Ranch are part of the lottery system. 
  • Q. If the lottery is for cabins and dorms, what about my meals or duffel service?
  • A. Hiker meals and duffel service can be added at the time of guaranteeing the bed space reservation. Overnight mule rides to Phantom Ranch include meals. If additional duffel service is requested, it can also be added at the time of guaranteeing the reservation. Duffel service is typically not needed for guests riding the mules to Phantom Ranch, as the riders are able to take the necessities for an overnight stay with them on the mule ride.
  • Q. I plan to backcountry camp. How do I reserve meals at Phantom Ranch?
  • A. Meals are first offered to the lottery winners. Following the lottery processing, unsold meals are made available to the general public. At that time, reservations can be made online or by calling our central reservations call center.
  • Q. What are the meal options at Phantom Ranch?
  • A. Meals at the Phantom Ranch Canteen are fixed menus and are served family style at specific seating times with two seating times each for dinner and breakfast. Overnight mule rides are packaged to include meals. We recommend Hikers purchase dinner and breakfast when confirming the overnight accommodations since these meals typically sell out. Dinner seatings offer the option of steak that is served at 5:00 p.m. or Hiker’s Stew and Vegetarian Chili served at 6:30 p.m. The early breakfast seating is at 5:00 a.m. April through October and 5:30 a.m. November through March. The late breakfast seating is at 5:30 a.m. April through October and 7:00 a.m. November through March. Don’t be late as the doors are closed during the meal periods. Sack lunches are also available. The Canteen is also public hours where a small variety of snacks, beverages, and a few other items are available for purchase. For additional information, please visit our Phantom Ranch Canteen page.
  • Q. I will be taking a whitewater raft trip that is starting/ending at Phantom Ranch. How do I reserve Duffels or Mule Drag service?
  • A. Duffels are first offered to the lottery winners. Following the lottery processing, unsold duffels are made available to the general public (see schedule). At that time, reservations can be made online or by calling our central reservations call center. Mule Drag Service reservations are not a part of the lottery system and continue to be reserved over the phone within the 13-month advance reservation window.
  • Q. Is Mule Drag Service part of the lottery system
  • A. Mule Drag Service is for guests requesting a one-way ride into the Canyon or out of the Canyon. These have extremely limited availability with some very specialized restrictions. As a result, Mule Drag Service reservations are not a part of the lottery system and continue to be reserved over the phone within the 13-month advance reservation window.
  • Q. What if my requested stay at Phantom Ranch crosses two months?
  • A. Good question! The lottery is only for the applicable calendar month and submissions will not be accepted that cross over two months. If your desire is for a stay that crosses between two months, you will have to take your chances on unsold inventory once both months have been released to the general public.
  • Q. What is the process if I’m reserving for 10 or more people?
  • A. Requests for Groups of 10 to 20 Hikers must complete a Group Lottery Submission via this site following the same schedule for submission. See the tab for Group FAQs for additional information.
  • Q. Are there restrictions on how many people and/or nights that I can reserve?
  • A. Yes. There are restrictions that vary depending upon the request type. Non-group reservations at Phantom Ranch are limited to one reservation per month. Hiker reservations of 9 or fewer guests are limited to one reservation per person for a maximum of 4 nights and a maximum of 9 people in the reservation. Mule Rider reservations up to 10 Riders are limited to a maximum of one night for stays of April to October and a maximum of two nights November to March. Hiker group reservations are considered 10 to 20 Hikers, for a maximum of two nights for stays of March to October and a maximum of three nights November to February. See the tab for Group FAQs for additional information.
  • Q. What is the non-Group deposit policy for Phantom Ranch?
  • A. Phantom Ranch requires a deposit equal to the full amount of the reservation. Lottery winners have 10 days to guarantee the reservation with the deposit. After each month’s lottery is completed, reservations booked from any remaining inventory require full payment at the time of booking.
  • Q. What is the non-Group cancellation policy for Phantom Ranch?
  • A. Phantom Ranch has a 45-day cancellation policy under the new lottery system (stays of January 2019 and beyond). Guests who cancel reservations at least 45 days prior to the arrival date will receive a full refund of the deposit. Guests who cancel reservations less than 45 days prior to the reservation’s arrival date will forfeit their deposit. A reduction in quantities is considered a cancellation and the cancellation policy applies. 
  • Q. How are the lottery winners determined?
  • A. Lottery winners are randomized and then selected via an automated system designed specifically for this lottery. Winning submissions are processed to compare the requested components to available inventory. A reservation is then made when there is inventory to fulfill the winning request. Guests associated with the winning submissions will be notified and provided up to 10 days to provide payment to confirm and guarantee the reservation in addition to adding other services such as meals. 
  • Q. Can I call to check on my lottery status?
  • A. No. You will receive an email acknowledgment that includes a recap of your submission (check your Spam folder if you haven’t received one). If you are selected through the lottery process, a reservation will be confirmed for the desired and matching available spaces. Winners will be notified via email with instructions to call or go online to add meals and/or duffel service, and to guarantee the reservation with payment to a valid credit card. Submissions that are not selected as winners will be notified via email late in the month that they were not selected in the lottery for the applicable month. We will not be able to view your lottery submission or advise of your lottery status over the phone. 
  • Q. What are the age limitations to stay at Phantom Ranch?
  • A. The age limitations are different for Mule Riders vs. Hikers. 
    • Mule Riders: One of the rider restrictions is that all riders must be at least 9 years old and meet several other rider restrictions. See other rider restrictions.
    • Hikers: We discourage parents hiking to Phantom Ranch with children under the age of 8 years old. Hikers must be at least 6 years of age to stay in a dorm and children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult of the same gender and of at least 18 years of age. Children of any age are permitted in a cabin when accompanied by an adult. Safety is our primary concern. Our goal is for all of our guests to enjoy this extraordinary experience. Management personnel reserve the right to make final decisions regarding children staying overnight at Phantom Ranch. If there is any doubt about whether the child can handle the ride, make the hike to and/or stay at Phantom Ranch, we advise against it until the child is old enough to enjoy this amazing opportunity. 
  • Q. What if I have special needs related to my hike or mule ride?
  • A. If your submission is selected and a reservation booked, please contact us and review your special needs with one of our representatives. We will do our best to accommodate your request if it can be done without sacrificing your safety or the safety of other guests, our wranglers or our mules. 
  • Q. I have an existing reservation at Phantom Ranch and would like to change to a different date. Can my existing reservation be modified as part of the lottery process?
  • A. No, modifying the dates of reservations is not part of the lottery process. If you wish to change to different dates for the same month as your lottery reservation, you will have to wait until that month is open to the general public and attempt to modify the reservation based upon what is available at the time. If you wish to change to a new future lottery month, you will need to complete a lottery submission for the new month and cancel the original reservation (subject to applicable cancellation penalties).
  • Q. Is there a way to increase my odds of winning the lottery to have my entry selected?
  • A. No. Entries are selected at random through an automated system. Once an entry is selected, the system checks available inventory against what has been requested. If we’re unable to fulfill the requests as submitted, the entry is passed and we move onto the next selection. Based upon the randomness of the selection process, there is no way to increase the odds of being selected. However, once an entry is selected, those entries with the most flexibility and/or simplest requests will have a better chance of being fulfilled. We recommend completing the submission forms with as much flexibility as you’re able to provide. Also note that requests for larger parties naturally have a more difficult chance of being fulfilled given the limited quantity of beds available each day/night.
  • Q. Can I enter a lottery submission and resell the space?
  • A. The lottery system is designed for individuals who are planning to utilize the reservations themselves with family members or friends. Reselling reservations is discouraged. See other items within the FAQs regarding duplicate submissions and see Phantom Ranch Groups for more information about group reservations.

Submission

  • Q. What information do I need to include with my submission?
  • A. In addition to providing the requested details of the stay (example: preferred arrival date, number of nights, number of male and females, etc.), we ask for some basic contact information (example: first and last name of the submitting party along with email address, credit card billing address, daytime phone number, etc.).
  • Q. Will I receive an email to confirm receipt of my submission?
  • A. Yes. An email will be sent to acknowledge receipt and provide an entry number. To ensure that you receive all future notifications about the lottery, please whitelist lotterynoreply@xanterra.com. If you have not received this email within an hour of your submission, please check your SPAM folder. 
  • Q. Do I need to submit on the first of the month for the best chance to win?
  • A. No. The submission period extends from the 1st through the 25th of the applicable submission month and all submissions during this time frame have equal opportunity. The date and time of the submission do not change the chances of winning the lottery.
  • Q. How many entries am I permitted to submit
  • A. Submissions are limited to one entry per person, per month. Submissions are reviewed for duplication and those tagged as duplicates are removed from the lottery process.
  • Q. What happens if I miss the submission deadline?
  • A. The submission period extends from the 1st through the 25th of the applicable submission month. Once submissions are closed, no additional submissions will be accepted for that month. If the deadline is missed, you can check if there is any available inventory when it is released to the general public or try again for another month.
  • Q. What happens if I make a mistake on my submission?
  • A. We recommend reviewing your entry very carefully BEFORE submitting your request. Then examine the email acknowledgment of your submission as soon as you receive it and confirm everything is correct. If you find an error, DO NOT submit an alternate entry because if you do so your entries will be flagged as duplicates. Follow the link in your email acknowledgment or visit our website to void or cancel your original entry. Upon confirmation from us that your original entry is voided, you can submit a new entry with the correct information. Void requests must be submitted prior to 11:59 p.m. Mountain/Denver time on the 25th of the month. Void requests received after this time will not be processed.
  • Q. There are several in our party. Can each person in our party send in a lottery submission?
  • A. Submissions are limited to one entry per person, per month. Each person in the traveling party may send in their own lottery submission. In the unlikely event that the lottery selection process results in multiple reservations for the same party, the winning parties would determine which reservation to keep. Unclaimed/unsold inventory is (as applicable) made available for the second chance lottery or is released to the general public when reservations can be made online or by calling our central reservations call center.
  • Q. How many people can be included in my lottery submission?
  • A. Hikers may request for a maximum of 9 people per submission. Mule Riders or Mule Riders with Hikers may request a maximum of 10 people per submission. When sharing cabins with Riders and Hikers, each cabin must have an equal or greater number of Mule Riders vs. Hikers. Hiking parties of 10 to 20 must submit the Phantom Ranch Group form.
  • Q. May I submit for more than one date or set of dates?
  • A. Submissions are limited to one entry per person, per month. However, each submission provides the option of specifying a preferred date and then up to two additional dates or date ranges. If you are only able to go on specific dates, then you’ll be able to provide up to three specific arrival dates. Are you more flexible? Provide your preferred arrival date and up to two additional date ranges that may include the entire month if applicable. The second and third options also allow you to change accommodation types and/or quantities, depending on which is most important to you.
  • Q. Can I submit entries for different quantities of people?
  • A. Submissions are limited to one entry per person, per month. However, each submission provides the option of specifying a preferred quantity of people and then up to two additional optional requests. The second and third options also allow you to change the quantities of guests, requested stay date (or date range) and/or accommodation types, depending on which is most important to you.
  • Q. Do I need to provide names for each person included in my lottery submission
  • A. No. The reservation is made only under a primary name which should preferably be the name on the credit card used for payment. If the credit card holder is not the primary name on the reservation and will not be present at the beginning of the stay, please advise our representative when providing payment so we can assist with the appropriate authorizations for 3rd party payments.
  • Q. Are there advantages/disadvantages to the number of people in my lottery submission?
  • A. The quantity of guests in the submissions does not have any impact on the initial lottery selection as submissions are randomly selected through an automated process. However, when a lucky submission has been “drawn” or selected, we check inventory to see if there is availability to match the request. As a result, simpler requests, such as those with fewer guests and/or those with the most flexibility on the stay dates have a better chance of their request matching available inventory. If your submission is selected and we are unable to find available spaces to fulfill the request, we will move to the next selection from the lottery. To simplify, the odds are greater to find space to fulfill a request for two guests when compared to the odds to find space to fulfill a request for 9 guests.
  • Q. How do I submit a lottery request when our party has both mule riders and hikers
  • A. At the beginning of the submission form, select the option “As a Mule Rider and Hiker” and follow the steps. When both mule riders and hikers are on the same submission, the mule rider requirements and restrictions apply. This includes the number of nights, age requirements, etc. When sharing cabins, each cabin must have an equal or greater number of mule riders vs. hikers. Example: Two riders and two hikers in a 4-person cabin is acceptable; One rider and two hikers in a 4-person cabin is not acceptable. Hikers on the same submission form can also request separate dorm space. The total per non-group submission cannot exceed 10 riders or 10 riders/hikers.
  • Q. I’m planning a rim-to-rim hike. How do I submit my request?
  • A. For rim-to-rim hiker requests, enter the applicable number of nights (maximum 4) to span the stays at Phantom Ranch. On the detail screen of the submission adjust the quantities of Male and Female guests to 0 (zero) for the night(s) you will be away from Phantom Ranch. Example: The first night might have 2 males and 2 females, the second night might be 0 males and 0 females because you’ll be staying at the North Rim, the third night might again have 2 males and 2 females for the stopover on the way back to the South Rim.

Processing

  • Q. How and when will the lottery winners be notified?
  • A. Upon completion of your lottery submission, you will receive an email acknowledgment that includes a recap of your submission. If you are selected through the lottery process, a reservation will be confirmed for the desired and matching available spaces. Winners will be notified via email with instructions to call or go online to add meals and/or duffel service and to guarantee the reservation with payment to a valid credit card. Submissions that are not selected as winners will be notified via email late in the month that they were not selected in the lottery for the applicable month.
  • Q. How quickly will lottery winners need to respond?
  • A. The lottery has two rounds, both of which occur in the 14th month prior to the stay month. The winners from the first round should be notified by the 4th of the month and will have until the 13th of the month to guarantee their reservation. A second chance round will then occur to book any unclaimed/unsold inventory from the first round. The second chance winners should be notified by the 17th of the month and will have until the 26th of the month to guarantee their reservation. Unclaimed/unsold inventory will then be opened to the general public according to the 13-month schedule where reservations can be made online or by calling our central reservations call center.
  • Q. What happens if someone wins but fails to guarantee their reservation within the required timeframe?
  • A. Unclaimed reservations will be resold in the second chance round or to the general public according to the 13-month schedule where reservations can be made online or by calling our central reservations call center.
  • Q. If my submission is selected, can I change the quantity of beds?
  • A. If your submission is selected you may decrease the quantity of beds during the guarantee phase of the process while also adding meals and/or duffel service. You may only increase the quantity of beds (subject to availability) once any unsold/unclaimed inventory is released to the general public.
  • Q. Will I be notified if I am not selected?
  • A. Submissions that are not selected as winners will be notified via email. See the schedule for more details.
  • Q. What is the process if the person paying for the reservation will not be able to join the rest of their traveling party?
  • A. The credit card holder will need to contact our central reservations call center to provide the proper authorization to change the reservation to the new primary name on the reservation. When calling the credit card holder will need to provide applicable security information to prove they are authorized to make the change.
  • Q. How are the lottery winners selected?
  • A. Each entry is assigned a random number. Once entries have been scrubbed for duplicates, etc., lottery entries are randomly selected based upon the entry’s assigned number. Winning submissions are then processed to compare requests to available inventory and reservations made when matches are found.

General Availability

  • Q. What are my options to make a reservation if I’m unsuccessful in the lottery?
  • A. Once the lottery is completed any unsold/unclaimed inventory is released to the general public, (see schedule), reservations are accepted online or over the phone for the unsold spaces.
  • Q. Is it possible to reserve beds or meals that have been canceled?
  • A. Unclaimed reservations from within the lottery period or canceled reservations are returned to our inventory to be resold. Availability can be checked and reservations made online or by calling our central reservations call center.
  • Q. How close to my stay am I able to make a reservation?
  • A. Reservations can be made online or over the phone through our central reservations call center up to 2 days prior to the arrival/stay date. If there is any unsold inventory for “today” or “tomorrow” it is managed by the Bright Angel Transportation Desk for walk-up reservations.

Groups

  • Q. What constitutes a Group at Phantom Ranch?
  • A. Groups hiking to Phantom Ranch require a minimum of 10 Hikers and a maximum of 20 Hikers.
  • Q. What are the available types of accommodations offered to Groups?
  • A. Groups are limited to a maximum one per day. The first 10 Hikers will be reserved in a 10 person cabin. If the group size is 11 to 20 Hikers, the first 10 Hikers will be reserved in a 10 person cabin and the additional Hikers in Male Dorms or Female Dorms as applicable.
  • Q. What portions of Phantom Ranch are included in the Group lottery?
  • A. The Phantom Ranch Group lottery submissions include the requested details for bed space, meals and duffels. For Hiker groups, the lottery is for one 10-person cabin per day with the potential to add Hiker Dorms for the additional beds with groups of 11 to 20 people. Meals and duffel service are included with the lottery submission based upon the larger quantities required. See details on the standard Phantom Ranch lottery for details on overnight mule rides. Please see our website for additional details about meals and for additional details about duffel service.
  • Q. What if there are 14 people in our group and we want to ride a mule to Phantom Ranch?
  • A. There is a maximum of 10 riders per day on the mule rides to Phantom Ranch and parties up to 10 Mule Riders are handled through the regular Phantom Ranch Lottery Submission.
  • Q. We have more than 10 people in our group and some want to hike and others want to ride a mule to Phantom Ranch?
  • A. The Group lottery is for 10 to 20 Hikers only. Your request would require everyone to hike as part of a Hiker group, or split the party into separate submissions between a Hiker group submission of 10 to 20 Hikers and a separate entry by another member of your party into the regular lottery for a maximum of 10 riders.
  • Q. Are there restrictions on how many nights I can reserve for my group?
  • A. Yes. There are restrictions that vary depending upon the request type. Hiker group reservations are limited to a maximum of two nights for stays of March to October and a maximum of three nights November to February.
  • Q. What is the Group deposit policy for Phantom Ranch?
  • A. Phantom Ranch requires a deposit equal to 50% of the full amount of the reservation within 14 days from the date of the contract. The remaining balance is due at least 90 days prior to arrival.
  • Q. What is the Group cancellation policy for Phantom Ranch?
  • A. . Phantom Ranch has a 45 day cancellation policy under the new lottery system (stays of January 2019 and beyond). Guests who cancel reservations at least 45 days prior to the arrival date will receive a full refund of the deposit. Guests who cancel reservations less than 45 days prior to the reservation’s arrival date will forfeit their deposit.