The Grand Haunted History of the Canyon’s El Tovar Hotel

Updated Feb 24, 2020

When you’re going a vacation to Grand Canyon National Park and don’t care for roughing it, there are plenty of hotels to choose from. But why book a room at chain motel when you can get adventure in both hiking the Grand Canyon trails during the day and at your hotel at night? This reason is why many tourists that are fans of history and the supernatural stay at the El Tovar Hotel.

The El Tovar has been rooming and serving guests since 1905. Perched atop a bluff just 20 feet from the South Rim, the El Tovar has a great view of the wilderness. However, nothing is more wilder than the ghost stories and sightings bandied about and traded among the tourists and staff.

Over the past few decades, a number of strange occurrences have been documented at the El Tovar. There was a painting that followed viewers wherever they went. Hotel staff reported seeing a phantom wander across the hotel’s front stairs and property before suddenly vanishing into thin air. One year, during the holidays, a mysterious well-dressed gentlemen welcomed people to a holiday celebration on the third floor.

Guests of the hotel have their own ghost stories to tell. Tourist Mark Griffith said that his wife felt a presence in their room that pulled on her clothing in the middle of the night. A Los Angeles couple staying at the hotel reported that they saw the face of a gray-bearded man peering at them from their TV set. There are dozens of stories like this throughout the years.

If you want some additional spooky flair to your Grand Canyon tour, you can also visit Maricopa Point and the Phantom Ranch. Visitors have reported seeing ghosts of workers laboring in the area. That extra chill in the air might not be the Grand Canyon weather.

So if you like to dip your toe into supernatural waters, you may want to book a room at the El Tovar and set up tours in those areas. You never know what experiences or stories you’ll bring back home with you.

After your ghostly adventures, you might want to lighten the mood by sampling their Peach Cobber, a traditional Harvey House item.  Noted for its dining program during its heyday, the El Tovar (est. 1905) continues the tradition of grand meals at a grand local. For more information on the El Tovar Hotel or to make reservations, visit the resort’s website.