The Stanley Hotel which inspired Stephen King to write “The Shining”

The thriving mining towns of yesteryear, often populated with cowboys, outlaws and saloons are today like an eerie step back in time.  The deserted structures often provide a rare opportunity for visitors to experience life in the 19th century.  Many of the towns were abandoned when gold trade production diminished and bypassed with the introduction of highways.

With over 15 sites safely accessible for visitors across Colorado, the ghost towns all offer a different aspect on the traditions and way of life of the Wild West.

St. Elmo, situated west of Buena Vista, is one of the state’s best-preserved ghost towns. Akin to the set of a John Wayne movie, soak up the scenery and tour the dusty Main Street walking past abandoned saloons, wooden storefronts and even private homes to peer through the window frames.  From St. Elmo visitors can then make their way on to the infamous neighbouring town of Tin Cup, providing an amazing opportunity to explore the town’s history that was once home to numerous intense showdowns with a full cemetery as proof.

Ashcroft is a former mining town located only 10 miles outside of Aspen. Following the extinction of silver from the town, the people slowly left the area with the ghosts being said to have moved in shortly after!  Preserved by the Aspen Historical Society the area is popular with guests that visit the empty buildings, stables and saloons. There is also a guided tour of the jail while soaking up the ghostly essence of the town.  

For some further ghostly encounters a visit to Cripple Creek will greatly increase your chances of experiencing the paranormal.  Mystery has surrounded this town that flourished with gold between 1890 and 1910 with over 500 mines producing a staggering 22,400,000 ounces.  Cripple Creek, for many years, has been bound by tales of ghost sightings alongside legendary stories of the spirit of a young girl that inhabits Buffalo Billy’s Casino and is rumoured to make glasses fly across its bars. Other haunted sites include the Colorado Grande Casino, the Hotel St. Nicholas and the Mt. Pisgah Cemetery that all offer tours around Halloween time.

The Stanley Hotel is another famous location due to its inspiration of noted author Stephen King.  King wrote popular novel “The Shining” following his stay at the 102-year-old hotel in Estes Park.  Children’s distant laughter is often heard emanating from the deserted hallways, comparable to the hallways mentioned in the well-known book and film.   The hotel also offers visitors a popular ghost tour putting visitor’s valour to test with a tour taking in the most haunted parts of the hotel that includes an unnerving underground tunnel.

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