The Grounds began as a five-acre site for Presbyterian meetings. Beginning in 1927,
the Grounds hosted the Synod, Synodical, and Young People's Conference for nine
straight years. Volunteers erected many buildings during these early years, buildings
that continued to be used for the Young People's Conference after the other conferences
stopped meeting here. Since 1937, the focus of Grounds has been on youth camps.
Seventy-one acres of the old Ellis Ranch were added to the Grounds in 1951. The
Young People's Conference met at the expanded Grounds until 1956. When the Grounds
were not used for Presbyterian meetings, other denominations and civic organizations
used the camp for youth retreats and meetings.
In 1985 the Presbytery of Santa Fe decided to move all camps to its facility near
Mount Taylor. For the next ten years the Grounds were not used as frequently as
they had been in the past. To rekindle interest in youth camps, the "Friends of
Sandia Conference Grounds" took over operations at the Grounds in 1994. Sandia Mountain Retreats
incorporated and took over operations in 2000.
You may also read "How the Sandia Conference Grounds Began"
from the book The Main Trail by Ralph J. Hall (1971), or a Personal Remembrance of the campground from 1926 to 1977.