As a co-founder of the Denver Ghost Hunters group, Stephanie Smith has explored some of the most terrifying locations in the city. However, she admitted that even she felt a sense of fear while on Riverdale Road, an 11-mile stretch that twists and turns between Brighton and Thornton.
Smith shared with me, “I discovered a spot where I sensed a presence and didn’t feel alone. I had a hunch that there was something there.” He continued, “To investigate further, we sent a camera crew to capture any evidence on film by taking photos and recording audio.”
As I stroll down the street, a sense of fear overcomes me when I spot a figure in the distance. It appears to be a man, but it’s difficult to tell from this distance. As he approaches me, I notice that he’s wearing cowboy boots, and my anxiety intensifies. Smith recounts a similar experience where she was followed by mysterious lights in her photos. She confided in the film crew and her companions that she sprinted ahead of them because she was petrified of what lay ahead.
According to Smith, she felt perfectly fine after crossing the street. Despite bringing several groups to the area over the years, she refrained from disclosing any information about it. Instead, she merely had them follow her path. However, many people, particularly women, often feel an uneasiness as if someone or something might harm them. “It’s only on the west side of the road, not the east side,” Smith clarified. She further added that she couldn’t find any relevant information that could shed light on what occurred or could have happened on this side of the two-lane street.
Riverdale Road is notorious for its ghost stories and urban legends. From the infamous “Gates of Hell” to the tragic tale of a man who burned down his house with his family inside, the road is steeped in spooky lore. One particular spot on the road, known as “Jogger’s Hill,” is said to be haunted by the ghost of a jogger who was killed in the area. Many drivers have reported feeling a tap on their car from this ghostly presence. Other urban legends surrounding the road include sightings of a ghostly Camaro and the eerie sight of bodies hanging from trees during full moons.
Although there is no concrete historical evidence to support this claim, numerous blogs and YouTube videos mention it. Matt Barnes, who previously served as a spokesperson for the Thornton Police Department, revealed that he would often be asked about Riverdale Road by the media, particularly during the Halloween season.
Barnes stated that they had conversed with dispatchers regarding the urban legends surrounding the road and its supposed haunted nature. Despite this, they couldn’t recall or locate any relevant service calls that supported these tales.
Riverdale Road is a picturesque stretch of land that Smith, a resident living nearby, frequents to put her son to bed. As the sun sets, it paints the road with a stunning hue, but the lack of lighting coupled with the numerous turns can be hazardous for drivers at night. According to Barnes, a former Thornton Police employee, 33 accidents occurred on this road in 2019, leading to both property damage and physical injuries. Moreover, there have been several fatal crashes on Riverdale Road in recent years, as Barnes points out, drawing attention to the pressing need for improved safety measures on this road.
According to Barnes, who has been around for quite some time, this road has seen its fair share of fatal accidents. The main reason behind this is the fact that the road has a lot of curves, and people tend to drive too fast. Barnes further stated that the police have always found real individuals when they have checked on people walking in the area, dispelling any rumors of ghosts.
Driving down the road that winds through cottonwood trees and open space on a clear day offers a view of planes taking off from Denver International Airport. According to local rumors, the infamous “Jogger’s Hill” can be found near 120th Avenue, while the location of the “Gates of Hell” remains a mystery with different stories circulating. Despite not knowing much about these legends, Smith feels an eerie sense of fear when standing in certain spots along the road.
Despite the general skepticism towards the existence of ghosts, Riverdale Road continues to pique the interest of ghost hunters. If you’re interested in conducting your own investigation, Smith advises caution due to the road’s winding and often obscured turns, whether you’re walking or driving.