Emma Crawford Coffin Races 2019 in Manitou Springs CO

In our last post, we talked about the famed mineral springs of Manitou Springs and their potential healing effects. People from far and wide were drawn to the springs for healing from their ailments. Legend has it, Emma Crawford was one of those people. The story goes that she came to Manitou Springs in 1889 in search of a cure for her tuberculosis. Unfortunately the disease took her, but not before she communicated her last wish to be buried on nearby Red Mountain. Her coffin rested on Red Mountain for years before it got washed away in a particularly rainy season, and her coffin slid down the mountain, landing as a pile of bones and coffin debris that local children later found.

A team of racers pull their coffin up the hill of Manitou Avenue while onlookers watch and cheer.

Years later, the town of Manitou Springs decided to honor this local legend by hosting a parade followed by competitive coffin races every October. Teams of five participants, (four “mourners” and one “Emma”), build a coffin vehicle and race it up the 195-yard course to their hopeful victory. Other awards include “Best Emma”, “Best Entourage”, and “Best Coffin”.

This 25th annual silly, quirky event will take place on October 26, 2019. The parade starts at noon, followed by the races. Dress up in your own costume and prepare to get your “spooky” on! There’s really no better way to experience the coffin races than by staying with us at Avenue Hotel. We are located right in the heart of this event, which means no parking hassles or waiting for shuttles. Just enjoy one of our delicious breakfasts and then saunter out for this zany, unconventional celebration of the macabre. We’ll even have some great photo opportunities set up on our front yard for you to capture your own special memories of this event!


A man sits on a bench in front of Avenue Hotel. The yard is decorated with spooky tombstones, witch silhouettes, and bones. An eerie fogs looms in the air.


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