Colorado invokes images of the majestic Rocky Mountains, incredible scenery, and an abundance of outdoor activities. But the state also has a creepy side with its rich and amusing haunted history full of bizarre characters, creepy tails and unexplainable events. The best part? Many of these spooky hotels, activities and tours can be enjoyed year-round for your Colorado family vacation!
Haunted Downtown Denver – Oxford Hotel
Denver’s oldest boutique hotel (1891), the Oxford Hotel is also known for its haunted past, from bathroom stalls locking themselves from the inside to sinks turning on and off during the night. But to get really spooked stay in Room 320, where single, male guests often report feeling their arms pulled and covers ripped off the bed, compliments of the spirit of Florence Montague. Florence is the young woman who shot and killed her married lover before turning the gun on herself in 1898.
For a brief encounter, order a martini at the Cruise Room, the first Denver bar opening on the day Prohibition was repealed in 1933. Bartenders tell of seeing a man walk into the bar with an old post office uniform, ordering a beer than muttering “the children, I have to get the gifts to the children.” When he leaves, bartenders pick up the bottle, which is always completely full. Research revealed the story of a postal worker in 1930, charged with delivering Christmas presents to Central City and never showed up. His decomposed body was found the next spring with gifts still in his possession.
Haunted Tour in Boulder, Colorado
From the moment the bus arrives in front of Hotel Boulderado, you’ll immediately see that Banjo Billy Bus Tour isn’t your normal boring city bus tour. Your chariot is a bus that’s been pimped out to resemble a hillbilly cabin. Step onto the bus and you’ll have your choice of seats, not those boring regular seats, oh no! You’ll choose from a number of recliners and couches – and even a saddle char. TIP: Avoid the back couch unless you want the bouncy ride of your life!
My tour was focused on ghost stories, highlighting Boulder’s 153 year old interesting history including a 40-something year old “Boy Scout” ghost, the murdered ghost, Elaura Jaquette, of Mackey Auditorium on the University of Colorado campus, and more. These tours occur all year round, featuring Boulder’s history, crime or ghost stories – and also brew tours. Be prepared for some “hillbilly” humor as the guide (mine was John) treats you to a fun style of humor.
Family friendly tours are also available. Adults $23, Seniors $19, Children 6-12 $13, tours operate 6 days a week 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. For pricing and more info: www.banjobilly.com
Check into the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, the inspiration for Stephen King’s novel, The Shining. Otherwordly residents include the first owner’s long-deceased wife, Flora Stanley, who can still be seen and heard playing the piano.
Choose any room on the fourth floor, particularly Room 418, to check your ghostly stamina. Or for the ultimate experience, stay in Room 217, where King himself stayed – if you dare! Whether you stay or night, Stanley Hotel’s historic ghost tour is worth the $25, and their Night Tour is most definitely the creepiest. Bring your camera and someone to hold onto, because this one will challenge even the staunchest non-believers. TIP: Get the most out of your visit by booking an appointment with Stanley Hotel resident Psychic Madame Vera.
Haunted Fort Collins, Colorado
Take a guided journey into and under Old Town Fort Collins. Explore local legends, haunting, ghostly sightings and strange happenings on the Fort Collins Ghost Tour. Although day tours are available, book the late night tour through Old Town. Visit Civil War graveyard, walk the alleys and paths the led to brothels, gambling establishments, murder and mayhem. The guides are entertaining and the ghostly activity is spooky.
Affordable tours at $15, purchase tickets online at www.hauntedFortCollins.com or call 970-372-1445.
With her blended family of 4 daughters and 7 grandchildren, Diana Rowe is the Traveling Grandmom. Although she writes frequently about multigenerational family travels, she also writes and blogs about her solo, business, and adventure travels for various publications. You can follow her travels at her blog TravelingInHeels.com and on Twitter @DianaRowe