Mary Colter's Phantom Ranch

A historic image of Phantom Ranch on the left and a modern image of Phantom Ranch on the right.

Phantom Ranch (1922) is a comfortable oasis nestled at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. It is tucked in beside Bright Angel Creek on the north side of the Colorado River and is the only lodging facility below the canyon rim.

The Ranch can only be reached by mule, by foot, or by rafting the Colorado River and is a popular stop-over point for hikers and mule riders traveling to the bottom of the Canyon via the famous Bright Angel or Kaibab trails. Open year-round.

Fifty-three year old Mary Jane Colter, architect for Fred Harvey Co. and the Santa Fe Railroad, was given the assignment to design a small group of rustic stone cabins on the north side of the Colorado River near the mouth of Bright Angel Creek. She called it Phantom Ranch. The ranch was completed in 1922. The rustic cabins and main lodge are built of wood and native stone and fit in with the natural beauty and solitude of the setting.

Mary Colter’s plans for Phantom Ranch, like of all of her designs, drew inspiration from the region’s history, cultural traditions and landscape. Instead of trying to compete with the dramatic scenery, she used native materials to blend in with it.

Visit our keyboard shortcuts docs for details
9 minutes, 50 seconds

Visit Phantom Ranch, a historic oasis nestled at the bottom of Grand Canyon; a storied place that can only be reached on foot, by mule, or by rafting the Colorado River.

Photo of cabins at Phantom Ranch.
Phantom Ranch (1922)

Continue to Phantom Ranch photo gallery on Flickr.

A stone cabin with a tree blocking the front of it.
Phantom Ranch History Continued

Learn more about Phantom Ranch on Arizona State University's Nature, Culture, and History at Grand Canyon website.

A black and white photo of a women sitting in a chair.
Mary Colter's Buildings

Mary Colter was the chief architect and decorator for the Fred Harvey Company from 1902 to 1948.

John Verkamp in front of his tent.

After the Santa Fe Railroad started bringing visitors to the canyon, entrepreneurs came to the canyon to make their fortune.

A cemetery gate.

Passing through or calling the canyon home, many people have influenced the development and protection of Grand Canyon.

Last updated: September 21, 2019

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

PO Box 129
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023



Contact Us