Haunting Moab

Things to Do, What's New — By julietrevelyan on September 30, 2011 at 3:52 pm

You think Moab doesn’t have its share of spooky things, ghost tales, and haunted spots? Think again. This little desert town has a long history involving murder, mayhem, and betrayal. Brawling miners? Check. Gunfights? Check. Outlaws wreaking havoc around town? Check. Okay, they didn’t all leave their spectral mark. (As far as we know…mwah-hah-ha….) But if you have a vivid imagination, check out these places in and around Moab…and bring along your ghostbusters if you’re already shivering from the unearthly chill.

Jailhouse Cafe

It’s a hot breakfast spot that used to be an actual jail. Check out the thickness of the doorways for proof! (Yep, jail cells.) Is it actually haunted? Well, nothing terribly scary ever happens there, unless you count the wait time on a busy weekend morning. But come on in for a really good meal, and wonder if any ghosts of still-angry captives are wafting through the happy, oblivious diners.

Cisco Ghost Town

It’s true, a real-live ghost town! Uh…a really not live ghost town, that is. Cisco had its hey-day starting around the turn of the 20th century, complete with train stop, businesses, and lots of, um, sheep. All that’s left today are rickety old wooden houses, the faded paint of once-proud signs, and tumbleweeds rattling through when the wind blows. This is a great spot for picture-taking; try to get here early morning or late afternoon for the best light.

photo: Jeremiah Ro/Flickr

Sego Canyon Ghost Town

What’s with all the ghost towns near Moab? All the old mines. The mining boom here was huge, and people rushed the area with get-rich-quick dreams. As is usual with most such dreams, they go bust pretty fast sometimes. In this case of Sego, about 30 miles from Moab, the early-1900s dreams here evaporated in 1947 when the mine shut. But wander among the ruins and you just might hear the whisper of eager voices searching for riches (coal, in this case) drifting across time.

Goblin Valley

The second you enter this state park, you’ll understand why it’s called Goblin Valley: all the water- and wind-created hoodoos look like twisted, gnarled little red goblins scattered and hunched all through the valley. Tons of fun to visit and an easy two-hour drive from Moab (stop by on your way to Capitol Reef National Park or Lake Powell), this park is fun to hike, canyoneer, camp, and just basically explore. Now, we can’t say Goblin Valley is really haunted. There aren’t any really spooky stories about it. But we are here to assure you, spend a full moon night here, and you just might think some of those goblin-like hoodoos start to move…

Tags: ghost town, ghosts, haunted, moab