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Arizona ghost hunter travels: The enchanting El Rancho Hotel

The beautiful lobby of the El Rancho Hotel
The beautiful lobby of the El Rancho Hotel
Photo by Debe Branning

Arizona ghost adventures traveling east on old Route 66 will find New Mexico to be much more than just a land of enchantment. It is surrounded in history with lots of mysterious places to visit on your journey of the Southwest.

Experience the old west at the El Rancho Hotel
Photo by Debe Branning

The 1937 El Rancho Hotel in Gallup, New Mexico was built by R.E. Griffith, brother of movie magnate D.W. Griffith. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the El Rancho Hotel is an example of America’s Old West. Many well-known guests and celebrities stayed here and it was a headquarters for the filming of many 1940’s -1960’s westerns and other films. Some of the past guests include Ronald Reagan, Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, and this writer’s personal favorite, Ben Johnson.

According to author Russell A. Olsen, “As you enter the historic El Rancho through the stately front entry, you immediately realize this was and still is a special place…During its heyday, the El Rancho Hotel was one of the premier hotels in the entire Southwest and became the place for the Hollywood set to stay when filming in the area.”

During its glory years, the El Rancho was the place to be. Situated on historic Route 66, it was considered a luxury hotel and included the finest amenities. For 50 years, the El Rancho Hotel greeted weary travelers and celebrities alike, with class and dignity.

It is rumored that Errol Flynn rode his horse into the bar when he wanted a drink. One can only imagine the names of other western film stars that have bellied up to the 49er Bar housed in the El Rancho Hotel. When you stay at the El Ranch Hotel, you will be sleeping in a room where a famous movie star once slept. But, remember, the hotel is not all about the movie stars. You will also be following the travel stop of American vacationers who ventured west along Route 66 to experience life in the Southwest. When you visit or spend the night at the El Rancho Hotel, you will feel the essence of what it was like to stay at a grand hotel in the glory days of Route 66. The hotel is one of the most authentic accommodations in the Southwest Region.

But there is more to the El Rancho Hotel than meets the eye. Witnesses who say the building is haunted have reported unexplained footsteps and laughter in the upper lobby, doors that open and close by themselves in the bridal suite, and objects that move around on their own throughout the hotel. They say “Ghosts of movie stars walk these halls.” If you are lucky enough, you might see the spirit of one of your favorite western stars…and it may not just be a desert mirage.

El Rancho Hotel
1000 E Highway 66
Gallup, NM 87301

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