America’s Most Haunted Ski Town – Crested Butte, CO

Dominic Gawel | | BrainsBrains
Crested Butte, CO as a mining town. Credit: Western Mining History

Crested Butte, CO is known as America’s Last Great Ski Town. It is also known for being the most haunted ski town in America. Crested Butte sits at 8,885 feet in the Elk Mountains of Colorado. The town was founded in 1880 as a coal mining town with a population of 400 people. Prior to the incorporation of Crested Butte, miners flocked to the area around 1860. Several years later, the town was booming with a population of over 1000, restaurants, hotels, and saloons. Any mining town is sure to have its fair share of accidents and ghost stories, and Crested Butte is no exception to that. 

1884 Jokerville Mine Explosion:

On January 24, 1884, an explosion destroyed the Jokerville mine west of Crested Butte and killed between 59 and 63 miners. The sudden and untimely death has resulted in many of them continuing to occupy the area long after their time. Rescuers worked for 36 hours to gather the remains of the miners and many of them were buried in a mass grave in the Crested Butte Cemetery. Several years later in 1891, a large avalanche killed several people and they are attributed to some of Crested Butte’s ghosts. Next time you are skiing the bump run “Jokerville” at Crested Butte, remind yourself of this tragic accident.

Jokerville Mine after its explosion in 1882. Credit: Western Mining History

The Dogwood Cocktail Cabin:

The Dogwood is a well-known bar in Crested Butte. It is rumored to be a cabin where miners used to live and some have chosen to stay for good. You may not be enjoying drinks without an unwanted visitor at the Dogwood. Ghosts have been known to mess with photos taken in the cabin.

The Dogwood Cocktail Cabin. Credit: TripAdvisor

The Forest Queen Hotel:

The Forest Queen Hotel opened in 1881 on Elk Avenue as a brothel and is one of the most paranormally active buildings in America. Their website homepage even remarks, “For the comfort of other guests, Ouiji boards are not permitted.” The Discovery Channel visited this hotel and deemed it very haunted.

The Forest Queen is haunted by Elizabeth or “Liz”, a local lady in 1884. Liz fell in love with a visiting gambler and the gambler convinced her to let him gamble her life savings. The gambler went next door to the Kochevars Saloon and ended up winning big. He quickly left town leaving Liz with nothing. Liz was perturbed by his actions. She jumped out of a window of room #4 on the second story of the Forest Queen hotel to her death in the frigid waters of Coal Creek. The Kochevars Saloon next door is also reported to be haunted.

You can still stay at the Forest Queen Hotel today. They advertise as Colorado’s Most Haunted Hotel. Liz is reported to bang doors and keep you company in odd ways. Locals report rooms #2 and #3 are even more haunted than room #4 where Liz jumped. On your next visit to The Forest Queen Hotel, be sure to ask to stay in room #2, #3, or #4 for the most paranormal experiences.

The haunted Forest Queen Hotel. Credit: Travel Crested Butte

Cemetary Hitchhiker:

The Crested Butte Cemetary lies between Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte. A mysterious man can be seen standing by the gates around dawn on some mornings. The man is rumored to hitchhike, smell bad, look dirty, and is confused with modern transportation. The cemetery hitchhiker is friendly and looks for a ride to the Gothic or Irwin townsites. He has remarked “What do you call this wagon?” in response to a modern bus. The next time you are on your way to dawn patrol, keep an eye out for the cemetery hitchhiker.

Crested Butte Cemetary. Credit: TripAdvisor

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