If you’re looking for the most haunted places and ghost towns in Colorado, there are plenty of ghoulish stops within Colorado Springs as well as nearby Manitou Springs, Cripple Creek and Canon City.
These sites offer eerie beyond-the-grave energy. With a history of tuberculosis, to the scoundrels and debauchery of the Pikes Peak or Bust Gold Rush residents, spirits are lurking around many corners. There’s no lack of opportunity to bump into something or someone, that’s not of this world with a few of these haunted places in Colorado.
A city with a great history also comes with a deep past. Dark tunnels and Native American lore lend themselves to some unsettling spots around the town.
This cemetery was part of Colorado Springs before the town was formally founded in 1871. People were buried there dating back to the 1860s. While the cemetery itself may be haunted, the presence many have experienced is in the small Chapel that was built to store caskets and for services in 1910. After many years, the usage of the building declined and quickly fell into disrepair. Cemetery workers using the basement for supplies have seen dark figures. Will Deboer Jr., cemetery manager since 1992, worked to receive funds to restore the building as well as have it listed on the National Register of Historic Places. As the tour for the designation was being conducted, the woman representing the organization felt a negative force move through her entire body and quickly left. The cemetery was even featured on Biography Channel's My Ghost Story.
Ancient Native American lore told the story of an Indian God named Manitou throwing the devil into the canyon facings the heavens. The Devil’s Horns rock formation can be found there today. Tales of a local cheating gambler being thrown into the canyon, as well as the finding of other remains from the 1800s as almost a dumping ground for riff-raff, live on.
GOLD CAMP ROAD/TUNNELS
This location is a popular hangout for high schoolers and teens, especially on summer nights. When the tunnels were built in the 1800’s – it’s said that many workers died in actually building the tunnels. There have been rumblings of a school bus accident ranging from a suicidal driver to an oncoming train. Legend has it that the entire bus full of children perished. Today, many drive through the 2nd tunnel waiting for the car to be moved after putting it in park and turning off the lights. Others have said to see apparitions of men in cloaks. The third tunnel, you are not able to drive through but many peer in wondering the secrets of this spooky spot.
This charming mountain town just west of Colorado Springs was a mecca for Native American worship as well as pagan ritual back in the 70's. Founded on health and wellness after a national bout of tuberculosis, there are many spirits of the people who fell victim to the disease while living or being treated here. Manitou Springs is a stunning and small community that's rich in history, legends and ghost stories. It's no wonder people travel from all over for paranormal experiences.
RED CHIEF MOUNTAIN
This site, in Manitou Springs, sits at 7,300+ feet above sea level. Back when tuberculosis was common and sufferers traveled to Manitou Springs seeking the healing springs and mountain air, Emma Crawford made her trip for a cure as well. Alas, she died at the tender age of 19. Her last wish was to be buried on the summit of nearby Red Mountain. Her fiancée, along with 11 other men, obliged and carried her remains to the summit for burial. After years of stormy weather and erosion, her remains washed down the side of the mountain. Because of this unsettling upheaval, many still believe that Emma haunts the mountain today; some have even seen her. There are trails on the side of the mountain to visit the site of her grave. A stop in the Manitou Springs haunted Cemetery will show an unmarked grave in remembrance of Emma. Annual coffin races are held in her honor down Manitou Avenue every October.
BRIARHURST MANOR ESTATE
This historic Inn was the home of Dr. Bell and his family in 1874 during the dark plague of tuberculosis in the area. Many who suffered from the disease traveled to Manitou Springs to seek the healing powers of the springs themselves. Briarhurst was the Bell's summer home until 1922. Later the Manor was purchased and turned into a fine-dining establishment. Today the paranormal activity is intense. The Briarhurst was so active that the Atlantic Paranormal Society from SyFy Channel's show Ghost Hunters investigated the property with plenty of things to air on for a 2009 episode. Find out for yourself if this historic inn is as scary as it appears. Cameras are encouraged but any unusual findings must be shared!
CAVE OF THE WINDS MOUNTAIN PARK
The Cave of the Winds in Williams Canyon north of Manitou Springs has been a visitor attraction since 1881. Before then, the Native American people who frequented the mineral springs at Manitou knew of the open gorge that holds the cave's main entrance. The Jicarilla Apaches in New Mexico reported in 1960 that they believe the Cave of the Winds is home to the Great Spirit of the Wind, and that anyone entering the cave could become twisted in both body and mind by the twisting movement of the wind passing through the open gorge. Only the bravest tribe members will enter the cave's entrance chamber. The reopening of the historic Manitou Grand Caverns section to public lantern tours has resulted in numerous reports by staff, visitors and cave explorers of spooky happenings. Management has invited several paranormal teams to investigate the cave in the last decade. The Manitou Grand Caverns was featured in a 2012 episode of the Biography Channel series, "My Ghost Story," detailing one paranormal investigation by The Spirit Chasers.
THE AVENUE HOTEL B&B
Owner Gwenn Davis attests to weird happenings include lights and flashlights going on and off and paranormal investigators saying that the lodge is haunted by a few children as well as to a coachman who once resided there.
This American ghost town was the site of the Pikes Peak or Bust gold rush. Settlers sold everything they owned and made the trip to this small town seeking their fortunes. Some struck it rich while others weren't so lucky. The eery feeling in the old jail and frequent sightings in old hotels help tell the tale.
THE JAIL MUSEUM
This location was the Teller County Jail for over 90 years. The red-brick building housed many heathens during the Pikes Peak or Bust Gold Rush and thereafter. There were cells for both men and women. Accounts of paranormal activity include hearing laughter from what used to be the solitary confinement cell, sightings of small children who quickly disappear and even “white noise” recorded on audiotape. A recent investigation was conducted by Mountain Peak Paranormal Investigations who detected activity. The museum offers special lock-ins where visitors can spend the night with the spirits in one of the cells as well as try to detect activity with the Mountain Peak Paranormal Investigators.
IMPERIAL HOTEL (now permanently closed)
This property may be one of the most haunted hotels in the entire state of Colorado. It's said to be frequented by the spirit of the original owner, George Long, and his daughter Alice. As George married his first cousin, it’s believed that is why Alice was born with a severe mental disorder. Eventually, she became so unruly that she had to be locked in the couple’s apartment next to the hotel. One day, George “fell” down the stairs and perished, although stories say Alice hit him with a skillet in the head before he plummeted to his demise. Today, Alice’s old room is the Red Rooster Bar. Staff reports if the doors are closed, scratching can be heard on the other side. George’s ghost is a bit cheekier playing the slots at night when the casino is closed and touching lady guests at his leisure. The location was featured on an episode of Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures.
COLORADO GRAND CASINO AND HOTEL
Home of Maggie’s restaurant, guests may catch a glimpse of Maggie, herself, if frequenting the hotel. Often times at night, music and voices can be heard from the ballroom, slots clinging and clanging after hours and even the hotel’s security cameras have caught Maggie in her period clothing. After being stowed away, the tapes mysteriously disappear. The property was also featured on the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures Cripple Creek episode.
HOTEL ST. NICHOLAS
Originally built as a hospital during the boom of the Pikes Peak or Gold Rush, the hotel has a few haunting additions. One of the most seen apparitions is “Stinky” who stands behind a staircase and is often followed by a sewage-like stench. Another, a half-missing miner, is sometimes spotted along with a little boy known as “Pete” who often steals cigarettes and other items. Many of the paranormal beings are believed to be from the mental ward of the hospital which finally closed its doors in 1970 before opening again as the hotel.
VICTOR LOWELL THOMAS MUSEUM - VICTOR, CO
The Victor Lowell Thomas Museum has had its fair share of unusual activity. At the museum, a young boy named Jake seems to wander through the rooms and sometimes makes noises that rattle the nerves of staff and visitors. Upstairs in the museum, the glasses of Lowell Thomas have been reported to move from their resting place in one display room to another. Paranormal investigations of the basement in recent years revealed some interesting images – one in which appears to be a uniformed man standing among the shadows. Contractors working in the basement and upstairs have reported unexplained presences and in past years, several staff members have refused to venture to the upper level where they heard voices of a small girl. The museum holds paranormal investigations during special events.
This small town just south of Colorado Springs is home to multiple prisons, as well as the Museum of Colorado Prisons. The spooky spot has a jaded past as does the unmarked cemetery nearby.
MUSEUM OF COLORADO PRISONS
This location, straight from one of Colorado ghost stories, welcomes visitors to explore the history of Colorado Corrections. Individual audio tours guide visitors through 32 cells, filled with exciting exhibits and life-sized models that link the past to the present in a dramatic presentation. Other artifacts and exhibits include the last hangman's noose and the gas chamber used in Colorado for an execution, confiscated weapons (some used for actual murders), contraband and more. If this doesn't give you a bit of the creeps, the mannequins used to depict many exhibits might just do the trick. Mountain Peak Paranormal Investigators offer guided investigations throughout the year on-site.
GREENWOOD CEMETERY’S WOODPECKER HILL
The bluff that sits above Greenwood Cemetery doesn’t hold the revered members of society. A resting place for dead prisoners, the wooden place markers that have been damaged by woodpeckers give the eerie spot its namesake. The cemetery holds the remains of the last man ever executed by a “Colorado-specific” designed hanging apparatus that would often decapitate its victims. It is also the final resting place of Edward Ives, a convicted double murderer, who believed he cheated death when his hanging rope malfunctioned. Edward said no man could be hung twice, but Edward was wrong. His suspended body wriggled for a record 23 minutes after hanging. These are just a few of the shady characters whose remains lie deep within Woodpecker Hill.
Take a walk on the scary side, literally. Blue Moon Haunted History Tours have been scaring the living with their informative and creep-tastic guided adventures for a decade. Various packages are offered all over the region including Manitou Springs, Old Colorado City, Fountain and Victor. All of the haunted locations are verified by published facts and have been documented by professional paranormal investigators. Be sure to bring a camera to capture a lasting souvenir of the experience. Offerings from Memorial Day weekend to November 1st. Other times of the year may be available upon request.