The Death Trail Offers Scares with a Message

This haunted trail celebrates its 10th anniversary with a highlight reel of past scares, religious ministry.

What do creepy clowns,a room of spiders, ancient catacombs, aliens, and bloody brides have in common? They all scare someone, and The Death Trail is like the Mulligan stew of haunted trails. There’s something to trigger every phobia.

I’ll admit, I was worried when I saw this haunted attraction was connected to a church. Religious-themed scenes of the horrors of alcohol and damnation played out in my mind. But The Death Trail Haunted Attraction in Dumfries, Virginia is no Evangelical Hell House, even though, at the end, you’re herded into a room to watch a six minute video about Jesus.

After 10-years in operation, with a 4.3 average of 47 Google reviews, and judging from the crowd size, visitors don’t mind the concluding sermon. I was impressed with the variety of horrific scenes, length of the trail, and the price. With most haunted attractions these days running at $30 to $40 at least, The Death Trail is well-worth it for $15. You get your money’s worth.

There’s a lot other haunted attractions can learn from this one, though there are areas to improve. For one, I appreciated the organized admission, with general tickets as well as a pre-order line and RIP pass that gets you to the front. This haunted trail uses a color-coded system, so you can hang out around the grounds and wait for your color to be called, rather than standing in line for hours. There are games, food, and picnic tables to enjoy while you wait.

Horrific scenes included a twisted carnival (the scariest), cannibal house, bone yard and mortuary, and many more. The variety had its downsides–it felt like our group was rushing from one scene to the next, without having time to appreciate the effort and detail put into each scene. A guide would have helped slow down our group, and a narration would have set the scenes. I’ve gone through haunted trails that require everyone hold onto a rope, which would’ve helped here.

A haunted attraction is one of the more unique ministries I’ve encountered. The Death Trail is run by Montclair Tabernacle Church of God at 16120 Dumfries Road in Dumfries, Virginia, a nondenominational Christian church. According to their website, “We believe that in a sick and twisted world, Jesus is the only answer.”

The Death Trail is open the last two weekends in October, as well as Thursday, October 31 from 7pm to 10pm; and Friday, November 1 and Saturday, November 2 from 7pm to 11pm. The trail gets crowded quickly, so I suggest buying your tickets in advance online.

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Author: Michael Kleen

Michael Kleen is an author, raconteur, and occasional traveler. He has a M.A. in History and M.S. in Education. He enjoys studying military history, folklore, and philosophy.

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