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National park tips: See the spooky Stanley Hotel that inspired Stephen King's 'The Shining'

National park tips: See the spooky Stanley Hotel that inspired Stephen King's 'The Shining'
The Stanley Hotel, opened in 1909, is known for its architecture, its setting and its effect upon author Stephen King. After a stay there, he wrote "The Shining." The hotel stands in Estes Park, just outside Rocky Mountain National Park. (Karen Schwartz)

Whether you're a hotel geek, an aficionado of  horror or just another Colorado traveler, you might need to make a small detour in Estes Park, outside the east end of Rocky Mountain National Park.

What for? The Stanley Hotel, which opened in 1909. By the 1970s, it had faded so dramatically that it inspired Stephen King’s setting for “The Shining.” (The Stanley Kubrick movie was shot elsewhere.)

Rates typically start around $230 nightly, but you need not sleep here. Just prowl the public rooms and let your imagination roam.

Or, if you're deep into the horror vibe, sign on for one of the hotel's several tours, most of which have spooky themes. They run 90 mintues and are priced at $20-$28 per person.

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In honor of this year's National Park Service centennial, the Travel section is posting 100 park travel ideas and tips based on trips staff travel writer Christopher Reynolds has taken, along with photo-op advice from Times photographer Mark Boster. We'll post one per day through Dec. 31.

Follow Reynolds on Twitter: @MrCSReynolds

See travel videos by Reynolds from around the world.

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