For all of the epic beauty that abounds in Colorado, there are just as many macabre spots that show off a much darker and more disturbing side to the Centennial State. In fact, there are several reasons that we might just be living in the most terrifying and spooky state in America. Here are 11 of them:
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Stanley Hotel (Estes Park)
Not everyone can say that one of their hotels inspired the King of Horror, but guess what? Colorado can! After spending the night in the Stanley Hotel's haunted Room 217, Stephen King penned his iconic The Shining, which is still considered to be one of the most classic horror stories of all time. What makes 217 so terrifying? As per legend, a hotel housekeeper was electrocuted during a lightning storm while she cleaned the room, which has left the room plagued by the paranormal.
2. Riverdale Road (Thornton)
Hiding out in Thornton is the "Gates of Hell," which is more commonly known as Riverdale Road. As the story goes, Riverdale has been the setting for many morbidities, including a deranged man murdering his wife and children by setting their mansion on fire, slave lynchings, and an underground chicken coop that was once said to be home to conjured demons and spirits.
3. Administrative Maximum Facility Florence (Florence)
What do the Boston Marathon bomber, the Unibomber, and the Oklahoma City bomber have in common (aside from all being crazy murderers)? They all reside at ADX Florence; one of America's scariest maximum security prisons that houses some of the worst criminals in recent history.
4. Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site (Eads)
One of the saddest and most horrifying instances in Colorado history is that of the Sand Creek Massacre, where 700 men from the Colorado Territory militia blind-sided the Plains Indian tribes by ransacking their village and killing/mutilating somewhere between 70-160 men, women, and children. Though the incident took place in 1864, the area is now marked as the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, where it is said you can still hear the screams of the men, women, and children who had their lives taken during the massacre.
5. Gold Camp Road (Colorado Springs)
Note to self: Never step foot near the old Gold Camp Road in Colorado Springs, where a tunnel collapsed while a school bus full of orphans was driving through, killing the driver and children. Though the structurally unsound tunnel is barricaded by bars, visitors claim that you can still hear the children's screams and find small and dusty handprints on your car.
6. Alferd Packer
Oh, Alferd Packer... if you grew up in Colorado and paid attention during your Colorado history class, you are sure to remember the story of Colorado's favorite cannibal! In case you need a refresher, Packer was a miner who was traveling through the mountains with five others and is alleged to have eaten them after they died from the cold.
7. Cheesman Park (Denver)
What do you get when you decide to build a park over an old cemetery, hire a cheapskate to exhume the bodies, and then still build over a bunch of corpses that were never properly (respectfully or decently) moved? You get Cheesman Park; one of Denver's most popular parks that is said to be chock-full of restless spirits who can be seen and heard around the premise.
8. Central City Masonic Cemetery (Central City)
How could we possibly have a list of the most morbid spots around Colorado without mentioning a cemetery or two? Located in historic Central City, the Masonic Cemetery is arguably the most haunted graveyard in Colorado, thanks to many sightings of a mysterious woman in black who is seen leaving flowers at her beloved's grave and then disappearing into thin air. (Check out
for more on the legend of the "Lady in Black.")
9. Buckhorn Exchange (Denver)
One of Colorado's oldest restaurants is also one of our most haunted. Opened in 1893, the Buckhorn Exchange was once a watering hole for local miners, traders, and railroad workers, and is said to still be a meeting place for these folks, though they are long dead and are now mere spirits.
10. Grand Lake
What? You didn't realize that Colorado's deepest and largest natural lake is also Colorado's most haunted? Now you do! A little back story for context: Legend surrounding Grand Lake states that Ute women and children were placed on rafts and sent to the middle of the lake during a battle, resulting in their death during a violent storm. If you listen carefully, you can still hear their muffled screams.
11. Cripple Creek
Historic Cripple Creek, Colorado may be nicknamed "Real Fun, Real Colorado," but it could also be called "Real Haunted, Run Away." Why do we say that? It is because its many historic buildings are teeming with ghosts, like the Imperial Hotel (which is home to an iconic apparition of a woman in black), Outlaws and Lawmen Jail Museum (this once working-jail-turned museum now houses the spirits of old inmates), and Bronco Billy's Casino (keep your eyes peeled for a ghostly little girl in the stairwell).