Abandoned prison cells. Haunted halls of historic hotels. Spooky graveyard night tours. Ghostly coffin races. Confusing corn mazes. Whatever your preferred haunts, get into the spirit of Halloween with Colorado haunts: hotels, festivals, and tours.
As we creep up to Halloween and the witching hour, I like to explore my own backyard and try Colorado haunts hotels, festivals, and tours. From Denver to Trinidad, take a look at this selection of creepy Colorado haunts – if you dare.
Colorado Haunts: Haunted Hotels
Psychics and paranormal experts will tell you that Halloween releases a special spirited energy in the air, enticing ghosts to walk the halls of historic hotels perhaps more often than usual. These Colorado haunted hotels are guaranteed to send the chills down your spine.
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DENVER: Downtown Denver’s haunted hotels include the historic Brown Palace which also offers a ghost tour. Reports of lights turning off and on. Carpet “crawling” under your feet. A bartender who appears to go in and out of the walls. Countless guests have stayed at The Brown since its 1892 opening, and no surprise that there are a few lingering guests who never really “checked out.”
The Brown’s popular ghost tour highlights tales of unexplained phenomena and spirits who appear to have chosen to spend eternity at The Brown Palace. Details: Offered during the month of October, $15 per person (Complimentary to hotel guests). Reservations highly recommended.
ESTES PARK: For a real shiver down your spine, stay at the historic Stanley Hotel. This haunted Colorado hotel is already one of the creepiest places to stay, with an abundance of paranormal activity of ghosts, moving objects, flickering lights, and general creepiness. (And yes, I have overnighted at the Stanley, and yes, I have had an other-world visitor!) The Stanley Hotel also offers ghost tours.
Colorado Haunted Tours
CENTRAL CITY: Unexplained orbs of light appear on photos taken at this Central City cemetery at night. A little boy follows visitors around the grounds, ducking behind trees whenever they try to talk to him. A beautiful mysterious woman in black appears twice a year and places columbines on the grave of resident John Edward Cameron. Any attempts to find out more about this mysterious woman have been unsuccessful as she vanishes into thin air when visitors approach.
The Gilpin County Historical Society leads Creepy Crawls around the city’s ghostliest sites, select Fridays and Saturdays in October. Tickets must be purchased in advance, and often sell out. Get yours early!
FORT COLLINS: Looking for a unique way to get scared? We’re talking Speakeasies and Spirts, Horse and Buggy Ghost Tours, and old-fashioned Cemetery Tours. Situated at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Fort Collins is an Old western town in northern Colorado.
Fort Collins’ historic strip on Walnut Street and the old Firehouse served as inspiration for Disneyland’s Main Street. And that same strip serves up some spooky ghost stories.
GLENWOOD SPRINGS: Take a Ghost Walk through Linwood Cemetery in Glenwood Springs, and hike the rocky trail by lamplight to Linwood Cemetery, where the ghosts of Glenwood’s past – including Doc Holliday and Kid Curry –recount their days among the living. Doc Holliday and Kid Curry are two famous spirits that materialize near their grave markers.
These are just two spirits on this spooky and educational annual cemetery Ghost Walk, which is also a fundraiser for the Frontier Historical Society and Museum. Homemade cookies and hot apple cider will be served at the bottom of the hill after each tour. DETAILS: Tours are Friday and Saturday nights in October. Purchase tickets in advance.
CANON CITY: Investigate the paranormal as you take a tour of the abandoned cells in the Museum of Colorado Prisons, located in Canon City. Its first territorial prison was built in 1871, followed by 12 additional state and federal prisons making Canon City the Corrections Capital of Colorado. And the perfect storm for ghosts. Guests can book private events in the witching hour that occur from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. Those who are brave enough to participate will learn from the experts on to use the latest equipment and techniques for capturing proof of the paranormal.
TRINIDAD: Take an evening stroll through the heart of Trinidad in Southern Colorado, where murders, shake downs, and Old West characters have left their mark. From April through October, the Haunted Corazón (heart) Tour regales visitors with chilling tales. Why did the infamous Billy the Kid want to scalp all the doctors in Trinidad? Why do Shadow People linger in the Columbian Hotel? Find this out and more on a guided tour of downtown Trinidad.
MANITOU SPRINGS: If you’re looking for a wacky, Halloween-themed family friendly and free event, mark your calendar for last Saturday of October for the Emma Crawford Coffin Races & Parade.
Diagnosed with tuberculosis, Emma came to Manitou Springs for the miracle mineral springs in 1889. Unfortunately, she lost her battle on December 4, 1891. Her dying wish was to be buried on top of Red Mountain. Her fiance, William Hildebrand (a civil engineer on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway), and eleven other men carried her body up the 7,200 ft. slope. In 1929, after years of stormy weather, her remains washed down the side of the mountain. Only her casket handles, a nameplate, and a few bones were found. Some say she haunts Red Mountain.
The legend of Emma Crawford lives on in an annual race up Manitou Avenue. This annual procession of costumed “Emma” impersonators riding on coffin-like contraptions pulled by teams of four costumed “mourners.” Awards are given for the best Emma and most creative coffin completing the daylong event. Entries for the Coffin Races have already been filled, but a wait list is available for any teams hoping to participate. Watch the parade while sitting at one of the numerous patios of restaurants and bars on Main Street.
Colorado Haunts for Children or Scaredy Cats
For those with children (or just plain scaredy cats), Colorado offers many family friendly, less scary fall and Halloween options.
CANON CITY: Hang high at Boo at the Bridge Take in the natural beauty of the Royal Gorge atop one of the world’s highest suspension bridges. The Royal Gorge Park & Bridge will offer several activities including Night Flights on the Gondolas, Salida Circus, Northern Wind Dancers, Halloween-themed movies at the Plaza Theater and much more. Get your thrills with night flights across the gorge on the Royal Rush Skycoaster and the Cloudscraper Zip Line, both open until dusk.
DENVER: One of my favorites is the family fun Corn Maze at Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms. This is a 750-acre native plant refuge and working farm located along the banks of Deer Creek in southern Jefferson County.
On a beautiful fall day in September, my granddaughter and I took a drive to south Denver to wind our way through Chatfield Farms’ 8-acre corn maze. (For those under 10, explore the mini-maze.)
Apparently, my granddaughter takes after me as both of us are directionally challenged. We managed to get lost, but laughed the entire time, as we followed one dead end after another. We did get some directional assistance by climbing the 15-foot tall bridges to find our way. Along the way, we snapped photos with the life-size animal cut-outs. The maze is open various dates in September and October, both day and night. Also enjoy our After Dark Corn Maze and Dead Zone Haunted Attraction.