Photo courtesy of Haunted Forest.

I have been to nearly every “haunt” in Utah over the past few years, and a favorite is always the Haunted Forest, which is now in its 24th year of haunting. It is the only outdoor haunt in Utah, and it’s nice and long so you get your money’s worth and a chance to revel in the terror.

“I was a young man just looking for fun things to do, and we got an idea and thought that we’d never seen one done outside before, so we thought it’d be fun to do it outside and it worked great,” says owner and founder Rob Ethington.

Located just off exit 276 in American Fork, the haunt covers 220,000 square feet—way more than your average 30,000-square-foot haunt.

If you make it through Psycho Manor, the haunted insane asylum, you’ll wander through meandering forest trails with tunnels, mines and a replica of the farmhouse from “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”

You never know what’s around the corner or lurking in the trees as you make your way, sometimes feel your way, through the night. 

The Haunted Forest is not for the faint of heart. I don’t want to give anything away, but the Samara this year scared the pants off me, and the forest has some of the best chainsaws, yes plural, I’ve seen at Utah haunts.

“It is the only outdoor haunted house, and there’s nothing like it,” says general manager Trent Bezzant, who started out as a cast member when he was 13. “If you want to scream your head off, this is where you come.”

Photo courtesy of Haunted Forest.

Insider tips:

  • Allow for about 90 minutes for the total experience: getting tickets, waiting in line a bit and going through both Psycho Manor and the Haunted Forest.

  • Wear good outdoor walking shoes and a warm jacket. Sometimes it can get a little muddy and dirty, so plan accordingly.

  • Those with an averseness to clowns, flashing lights, enclosed spaces or loud noises should probably just stay home and watch “Tangled” or something.

  • I’d say it’s good for kids probably 8 and up, but that’s just my opinion.

  • There are concessions and portable toilets available.

  • FYI: Next year, the forest will be bigger and better at a new location.

Know before you go:

  • Open through Halloween
  • 7:30–10 p.m. on weekdays; 7:30–midnight on weekends, closed Sundays
  • Tickets are $20, plus $5 if you want a fast pass. A $35 ticket will get you into the forest and Zombie Warz (about 1.5 miles away, where you can shoot zombies with paintballs).