Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays - Phantom Ranch - Grand Canyon
Phantom Ranch is almost a mile down and 10 miles by trail from the South Rim. Approximately 4.5million people visit the South Rim each year and maybe 50,000 make it to here.
The present day ranch was designed by Mary Jane Colter and constructed in 1922. It was called Rust's Camp, then Roosevelt Camp but she named it Phantom Ranch after Phantom Creek that enters Bright Angel Creek just north of here. The Style of architecture is referred to as National Park Rustic. A popular campground - Bright Angel Campground - is just south of here. It was the CCC camp back in its day (before I was hiking). When I first came down, there was a swimming pool, but it was removed in the 1970's. It had electricity when I first visited here, but the Silver Bridge, present water system and septic system weren't in place yet from what I remember.
The site where the ranch is now located was used by Native Americans; pit houses and a ceremonial kiva dating from about 1050 AD have been found there. The earliest recorded visit by Europeans took place in 1869, when John Wesley Powell and his company camped at its beach. Prospectors began using the area in the 1890s, using mules to haul their ore. At the turn of the century, the founders of the Grand Canyon Transportation Company began a project to exploit its tourism potential; they hired a crew to improve the trail from Phantom Ranch to the Canyon's North Rim. President Theodore Roosevelt travelled down the canyon to the camp during a hunting expedition in 1913; in honor of this visit, the site became known as Roosevelt Camp.
Roosevelt's enthusiam for the Grand Canyon helped lead to its incorporation into the National Park System in 1919. The Fred Harvey Company was granted the concession for the camp in 1922; the company hired the American architect Mary Colter to design permanent lodging. Mary Colter suggested that its name be changed to Phantom Ranch. Construction presented a major challenge: all the building materials except rock had to be hauled down by mules. Meeting the challenges at this and other national parks led to the architectural style known as National Park Service Rustic, which features native stone, rough-hewn wood, large-scale design elements, and intensive use of hand labor.
During the Great Depression in the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps made a number of improvements to the ranch and its access trails. The 1920s and 1930s saw its popularity grow, and it was visited by many wealthy and notable guests. The Fred Harvey company made it a point to hire young, attractive, well-educated, and adventurous women to staff the resort.
ps - do not expect to hike down here, drink a 6pack of Tecate and make it back to the Rim the same day in the summer. Take my advice and take a siesta at Indian Gardens, put on your headlight, take two Tylenol and stagger up to the Rim when it cools down.