The Shining Hotel

The Shining Hotel

Forget Casper; the real friendly ghosts live in The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. Perched majestically beside the mountains since 1909 the hotel has a long, haunted history. Besides inspiring the setting of Stephen King’s novel and consequent blockbuster, The Shining, the hotel has had rumored ghost stories of its own for over a century.

The haunted theories date back to 1911 when the hotel’s chief housekeeper, Ms. Elizabeth Wilson, was blasted through the floor of room 217 during a lantern explosion. Her fall was not fatal, however, room 217’s guests have reported strange additional maintenance being done to their room for decades. It is almost as if Ms. Wilson is still there tidying up and taking care of her guests. In other rooms, guests have reported hearing children laughing and playing outside their door only to open it and find nothing there. The ghosts of the original builder, Freelan Stanley, and his wife have reportedly been spotted hovering in different locations around the hotel. A piano is often heard though no one is playing it. Sometimes the lights flicker, or footsteps fade leaving guests wondering about supernatural presences.

It was also in room 217 that Stephen King commenced writing The Shining. During his stay there, King reported hearing phantom children yelling down the hallways. He sensed the ghostly ambiance of The Stanley Hotel and brought one of the greatest horror stories in history to life from it.

Stanley Kubrick, the director of The Shining, followed in King’s footsteps in 1980 and based the film’s famous Overlook Hotel off of The Stanley Hotel. The film production built a life sized model of the Overlook Hotel in London and supplemented by filming in various locations in California, Montana, and Oregon. 17 years after Kubrick’s critically acclaimed film came out, King hired a new director to film the story more accurately to his novel. This second, lesser known film adaptation was filmed inside The Stanley Hotel exactly as King envisioned it should be.

Stephen King believed in The Stanley Hotel’s unique environment strongly enough to conceive his own twisted, horror story in the midst of it. The Shining is yet another remarkable development to add to the hotel’s rich past. Hundred year old ghost stories can be hard to refute, especially with one of America’s greatest writers believing in them.

Today, The Stanley Hotel is not threatened by sinister spirits like other establishments that lay claim to haunting. Rather, there are frequent tales of paranormal housekeeping. Guests may find their things packed, unpacked, or rearranged in unexpected ways. Sometimes, guests wake up and discover that someone folded their blankets or tucked them in while they slept.

Whether the ghosts are real or not, The Stanley Hotel is a special, historical place where curious people can find out for themselves.

Don't Miss|Closing Soon|Trail Ridge Road, RMNP's Most Scenic Drive

Alpine View from Top of Trail Ridge Road

Experience breathtaking views & fall colors without having to hike! Trail Ridge Road will be closing when snow arrives to stay - usually in October - so don't miss this wonderful fall drive.

Designed to complement the landscape, Trail Ridge Road follows the curves of the mountains for 48 miles of incredible views from Estes Park all the way to Grand Lake.

Trail Ridge Road begins by meandering through Rocky’s beautifully preserved forests and quickly leaves tree line behind, passing through the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park and the Continental Divide. It is common to see wildlife right outside your car window!

The Trail Ridge Road experience is surreal; being in the car on a road yet surrounded by unadulterated nature.  Lush forests, alpine lakes, and mountain ranges disappear in the rear window as your car reaches greater heights.  Stop at the Alpine Visitor Center at the top, take in the views, and experience the thinner air of 12,000 ft elevation.  Souvenirs, coffee, and food items are available for purchase at the Alpine Visitor Center and Café.

Trail Ridge Road is the longest paved high elevation road in the United States, reaching an eventual peak of 12,183 feet. Open since 1921, this feat of high alpine construction is pristine and smoothly paved.

The road stays at a 5-7% grade the entire way, making it possible for all kinds of vehicles to drive, weather permitting. The higher you drive, the colder it gets outside. Expect temperatures of around 20 to 30 degrees cooler than in Estes Park.

Between the unparalleled views of the Rocky Mountains and opportunities to see high alpine wildlife, nothing is more authentic and awe-inspiring than driving across the Continental Divide on Trail Ridge Road. Whether you turn around at the Alpine Visitor Center or make it all the way to Grand Lake you will be sure to enjoy the ride!