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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What are the options to get someone in or out at Phantom Ranch. I know you can hike in Bright Angel. Can you get helicopter ride? How do you get out once you have hiked out? I there other places to get an and out other than Phantom Ranch?
 

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You can not get a helicopter ride.
You can arrange for a mule ride either for a person or baggage.
You can arrange for bus transportation to Flag once you get out.
There are other trails that you can hike to the rim on, but most leave you in the middle of nowhere (relatively speaking). The BA leaves you right in the middle of the south rim village, which is good to transportation to elsewhere. The Tanner leaves you 3/4 of a mile or so from Desert View. The Hermit leaves you at Hermit's Rest, which has a shuttle in the summer to the South Rim.
 

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Helicopters are for (real) emergencies only.

There are two trails from the south rim and one from the North Rim that converge at Phantom Ranch. Bright Angel from the South is standard and considered best balance of gradient and distance. North Rim is significantly more elevation gain and is a harder hike. Mules can be arranged to/from South Rim (GC Village).

There are a few other trails in and out (e.g. Hermit Trail) that are not as straightforward. If you use one of these (or any hike in/ hike out plan for that matter) you'll need to make it clear what the plan is with the Park Service ahead of time.

If you don't have a car at the Rim waiting for you, Arizona Shuttle gives rides to/from Flagstaff to GC. http://arizonashuttle.com/ Otherwise you could call around various Grand Canyon tour bus companies (typically operate out of Las Vegas or Flagstaff) and see if you can get a one-way ride to/from Tusayan (ie Grand Canyon Village). They may not advertise one-way rides but I'm sure a few would take your money if they're allowed to.
 

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Helicopters are for (real) emergencies only.
Are you saying that a person who has the money could not charter a helicopter to transport them? Or is there some law saying you can't fly in that area?
 

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Hi Philip,

Yup, there are very well defined flight corridors in most of the Canyon managed by NPS. They prohibit all but emergency helicopter activity outside those corridors, and limit them to altitudes above the rim as well. Those restrictions include all of the area in and around Phantom.

Sadly, the restrictions don't include the Quartermaster area in the lower Canyon. Huge numbers of choppers land just above the river every day on tribal lands, but that is way below where we're talking about.

FWIW.

Rich Phillips
 

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On my last trip someone had reserved a mule ride out from phantom. It cost her $900. If you are just taking a ride out then it is a fortune. She said if there had been space, she could have spent the night at the ranch, had a meal, and been muled out for about $500. So call up soon if you think they may want to take that route.
 

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For what it is worth and based on my personal opinion only, some advice.

If you have little or no experience riding a mule up / down a narrow winding canyon trail, get some before signing up for a mule ride in the Grand Canyon.

Same for hiking up from or down to Phantom Ranch.
 

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What are the options to get someone in or out at Phantom Ranch. I know you can hike in Bright Angel. Can you get helicopter ride? How do you get out once you have hiked out? I there other places to get an and out other than Phantom Ranch?
You have received some good advice so far. Whomever is hiking in or out (is this a commercial or private trip?) will likely want top take the Bright Angel, where numerous travel options await. If this is part of a commercial trip, you will need to have a guide hike up with you, and I am sure they will make other transportation options.

I would not recommend someone new to Grand Canyon hiking exchange anywhere but Phantom and hike up Bright Angel trail. It can be done, and has been done, but without prior experience I do not recommend it. Also, there is piped water on Bright Angel, and every other trail WILL BE DRY!

No helicopters, no way to charter, just no way. If someone needs to exchange, they should be prepared to make the (~9.5 mile) hike.

Good luck. More information will garner more informed responses.
 

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Are you saying that a person who has the money could not charter a helicopter to transport them? Or is there some law saying you can't fly in that area?
I remember several years back where some very rich guy got a copter ride either in or out of the GC. He simply had to pay enough for the pilot to more than break even after that infraction.

I believe this was in the hundreds of thousands.

Yes, you can fly in or out of the GC even without a compound fracture.
 

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I've done the corridor trails described above a couple times.

Remember its easy to go downhill but hard to go up with those blisters you got going down.
The number of people you see in a bit of foot trouble and general fatigue is impressive.

Just going one way would help.
 

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To respond to the OP, the options for descending/ascending to/from Phantom from the South Rim are either Bright Angel or South Kaibab trails. BA is 9.2 miles, spreads the 6000 ft. + elevation gain/loss over 3 more miles of walking and has water at Indian Gardens; South Kaibab is 6.3 miles and dry, plus concludes at Yaki point, not GC Village (shuttle bus to the village is only 15 minutes ride, free). You can also go through Xanterra and hire a mule; last year (2014) it was $509 for the ride down, night at Phantom with dinner and breakfast, and ride out. No helicopters, thank goodness... (plenty at Quartermaster, thanks to the Hualapai...)
Hiking out (up) is actually easier for most folks than hiking in (down). Depends on your knees/hips, etc... But takes longer. Regardless, from May to September, primo hours for hiking are pre-dawn to 9 or 10 AM and maybe (possibly not in middle of summer) once the sun has left the route you're going to navigate. Dark rocks radiate heat - be prepared. Carry MINIMUM of 4 quarts/liters of water and drink it BEFORE you're thirsty; pound a quart/liter of water 30 minutes to an hour before you start walking - better yet, drink 2 quarts over the 1-2 hours before you commence and add some electrolytes.
Mules are dialed in, but it's an expensive and awkward option for many. If you're freaked by exposure, not the best place to "conquer" your fear... likewise, if you're grossed out hiking through mule piss puddles, maybe consider other rivers to run.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you all for quick responses, We are doing a private trip in April. I now have a good place to start planning. Thanks again.
 

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As the risk of sounding self-righteous, I'd humbly suggest that someone who cannot handle the hike should not be on a private trip. A mule ride is expensive (and oddly moreso for one-way travel). I'm dubious that anyone would give someone a chopper ride, regardless of money, as it'd likely lead to substantial penalties, and more than monetary (bans from the park); anyhow, it's just wrong, as it's a wilderness area (motorized river trips non-withstanding). Of course, if you're a high-level NPS official, chopper rides in and out of the Canyon are no problem ...

The South Kaibab trail is much more direct, and I'd recommend it, even for an inexperienced hiker, if going downwards and the weather is not too hot. The Bright Angel trail ends/begins with a mile-plus slog river-side; but, because it has water in several spots along the way, should be used for an inexperienced hiker going upwards or if it's very hot.

At any rate, the person should train a bit for the hike, if for no other reason than to not have terribly sore legs after the hike (especially if they're hiking in and joining the trip).
 

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As the risk of sounding self-righteous, I'd humbly suggest that someone who cannot handle the hike should not be on a private trip. A mule ride is expensive (and oddly moreso for one-way travel). I'm dubious that anyone would give someone a chopper ride, regardless of money, as it'd likely lead to substantial penalties, and more than monetary (bans from the park); anyhow, it's just wrong, as it's a wilderness area (motorized river trips non-withstanding). Of course, if you're a high-level NPS official, chopper rides in and out of the Canyon are no problem ...

The South Kaibab trail is much more direct, and I'd recommend it, even for an inexperienced hiker, if going downwards and the weather is not too hot. The Bright Angel trail ends/begins with a mile-plus slog river-side; but, because it has water in several spots along the way, should be used for an inexperienced hiker going upwards or if it's very hot.

At any rate, the person should train a bit for the hike, if for no other reason than to not have terribly sore legs after the hike (especially if they're hiking in and joining the trip).
I believe the best place to exchange is Pipe Creek. Cuts that tedious River Trail out and eliminates water issues. Also a nice lunching spot before Horn. Just my opinion. Wonder how many folks are using the across from Pipe beach camp? Looked ok after the high flow. Plenty of sand. I got a good picture a few weeks ago I'll post up soon.
 

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I believe the best place to exchange is Pipe Creek. Cuts that tedious River Trail out and eliminates water issues.
I've heard people opine that you can't pull in there, but it's obviously untrue, but I've also heard it's somewhat tricky.

Another issue with it is, if you dropping off hikers-out there, the boatman who drops them off (typically very early) will not get to enjoy the "fleshpots of Phantom Ranch" else will have to hike back there.
 
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