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Welcome to Phantom Ranch. Having descended more than a vertical mile below the rim of Grand Canyon, you have reached the bottom of one of the largest canyons in the world. Carved by the Colorado River and sculpted by water from innumerable storms, the canyon reveals an unparalleled record of Earth's history in the cliffs above you. The dark walls in your immediate vicinity, metamorphic schist, are close to two billion years old, nearly half the age of planet Earth.
Erosional forces formed the watery oasis that is the setting for Phantom Ranch and Bright Angel Campground. The creek and river create a lush riparian (streamside) habitat in the midst of the desert, one of few such habitats remaining in Arizona. Many species of insects, amphibians, birds, mammals, and plants thrive in this moist environment.
Though a remote and rugged setting, the Phantom Ranch area has long been a destination for humans. People have modified this area for thousands of years to make the inner canyon more accessible, to make it a home. Today Phantom Ranch, like the rest of Grand Canyon National Park, represents a mix of natural processes touched by human intervention.
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