With Halloween right around the corner, thoughts of other worldly ghouls and goblins inevitably pop to mind. And although there’s no guarantee that you’ll actually see a ghost, this self-guided haunted Flagstaff walking tour is the perfect choice for a leisurely All Hallows’ Eve stroll. Even better—this half-mile walking tour features mostly level sidewalks with curb-cuts, and the majority of shops and restaurants along the route have level access. So linger on, shop, have a bite to eat, and maybe even hoist a pint on this wheelchair-accessible haunted Flagstaff walking tour.
The Phantom Brakeman
Known as one of the most haunted cities in Arizona, Flagstaff has no shortage of ghost stories — beginning with The Brakeman who sometimes makes his presence known to Flagstaff Visitor Center employees. And since the visitor center is located right off Route 66 in the center of town, there’s no better place to park your car and begin the haunted walking tour.
There’s accessible parking in the small lot next to the Flagstaff Visitor Center (https://www.flagstaffarizona.org/), which is located in a 1926 rail depot building. There’s level access to the building, which offers a staffed information desk, a nice collection of brochures and maps, a gift shop, an Amtrak station and accessible restrooms.
That said, prior to 1926 the railroad tracks ran right through the current visitor center — the same tracks where a brakeman died when he was crushed between two boxcar couplings. And perhaps that accounts for the numerous reports of doors mysteriously locking, feelings of heat or cold, and strange sounds and voices heard in the unoccupied building at night. Take some time to look around the station, and be sure to pick up a map to guide you on your way before you leave.
A Haunted Theater
From the visitor center, head west on Route 66, cross Beaver Street and turn right. Although you can also turn right before you cross Beaver Street (as the official map suggests) there are a few obstructions and tight spots on the east side of the sidewalk, so it’s best to take the west section for optimal wheelchair access. Continue along on Beaver Street for one block, then turn right on Aspen, where you’ll find the Orpheum Theater on the right.
Dating back more than 100 years, the Orpheum Theater is home to some lively spirit activity. First off there’s a shadowy figure on the balcony that was reported by a late working janitor who was supposedly alone in the building. Then there was the time that a roll of paper towels took on a life of its own in the concession area. And then there’s the men’s restroom, where visitors have reported feelings of a presence and electronic vibrations. Additionally, one time time the toilets spontaneously began flushing while the water taps came on seemingly by themselves. There’s no real explanation for the specter that is believed to haunt the theater, but some folks feel it’s the spirit of a person who allegedly committed suicide by jumping from the roof.
Continue along Aspen, then turn right on Leroux to continue your tour. There is a slight incline in the sidewalk for about 15 feet before you reach the Weatherford Hotel, which is located near the corner of Aspen and Leroux. And as with many older hotels, some ghostly guests check in, but then they never check out.
The Zane Grey Ballroom is where one of the most often seen spirits appears. Sometimes visitors see a ghostly woman floating from one end of the room to the other; while other times she appears to dart back and forth across the room.
Then there is room 54, where a honeymooning couple was murdered in 1939. Reports of eerie feelings and ghostly figures in this room are not uncommon; while one hotel employee saw a bride and groom at the foot of the bed. Today this room has been converted to a storage room, but sightings of a wedding couple entering or leaving the room still continue.
Strange Hotel Happenings
Finally, continue along Aspen Street to the next intersection — San Francisco — and glance up diagonally across the street for a look at the Hotel Monte Vista, the final haunted building on the walk. You can’t miss the building — look for the vintage sign out front.
This hotel also has a number of spirits who reportedly make noise, move furniture, knock things over, ring the lobby phone and even unscrew the hallway lights.
A phantom bellboy often knocks on room 210 and announces room service, but when guests answer the door nobody is there. Reports of ghostly figures in the second-floor hallway are also commonplace.
Occupants of room 306 have reported that they felt they were being watched, and a few male guests felt they were being smothered, in this room where two prostitutes were murdered. Ghostly images of the working girls have also been spotted in the pool hall and the lounge.
And next door in room 305, apparitions of a woman sitting in a rocking chair by the window are frequently reported.
And last but not least there are reports of strange voices and bar stools that move by themselves down in the lounge. Hotel employees attribute that to the death of a bank robber in the lounge in the 1970s. Apparently he tried to rob a nearby bank and was shot, but managed to make it to the hotel lounge before he expired.
All in all it’s an interesting and accessible walking tour of some of the haunted sites in downtown Flagstaff — even if you never spy a ghostly figure. To complete the loop and return to the visitor center, just turn right on San Francisco, walk a block and make a left of Route 66.