Paranormal Activity and Horror Movie Inspiration at Yosemite Hotel

Paranormal Activity and Horror Movie Inspiration at Yosemite Hotel

The Ahwahnee Hotel

Millions of nature lovers looking to experience the wild beauty of Northern California make their way to Yosemite Valley each year. Many of these visitors opt to spend their stay at a campsite. Other unsuspecting visitors looking for a more luxurious stay, may unknowingly check into one of the Valley’s paranormal activity hot spots.

The Ahwahnee hotel, now known as the Majestic Hotel, sits a short distance from Yosemite’s famous Half Dome. It was originally opened in 1927, being named to reflect the local heritage of the area. The building’s stunning design and interior decor feel elegant, rustic and pay homage to the Native Americans of the area. This, paired with the paranormal activity occurring within the hotel’s walls contributed to the on screen inspiration of the quintessential cinematic haunted hotel to be drawn from the Ahwahnee.

Exterior Shot of the Haunted Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Valley.
Exterior Shot of the Haunted Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Valley.

Paranormal Activity in The Ahwahnee Hotel

Walking around the exterior of the hotel, one feels no sense of the paranormal. The hotel looks perfect against it’s backdrop of Yosemite’s rock cliffs and green pines. Maybe, this perfect scene contributed to one of the former owners resistance to leave the hotel, even in death? In 1970 Mary Curry Tressider passed away inside her apartment on the hotel’s 6th floor. Allegedly, her spirit still hangs around her room and the floor’s hallways where her apparition is commonly sighted by staff and guests. This shouldn’t deter prospective visitors from staying here. Mary’s haunting is that of a friendly one. It seems she continues to look after her guests even from the other side. Reports of being tucked into bed or having clothes folded up on their own aren’t uncommon.

Another, more peculiar haunting is believed to be linked to John F. Kennedy’s stay on the third floor in 1962. At this time he made a special request to have a rocking chair placed in his room, to assist easing his back pain. The rocking chair was removed after the former president’s stay. However, it has since made a reappearance following Kennedy’s death. Staff and guests have made reports that a rocking chair moving by itself has been sighted in rooms on the third floor. Despite the chairs removal it continues to rock.

Looking down the hallways of the Awhanee Hotel's third floor where paranormal activity has been reported.
Looking down the hallways of the Awhanee Hotel’s third floor where paranormal activity has been reported.

Horror Movie Set Inspiration From The Ahwahnee Hotel

A visit or stay at this hotel may leave horror fans feeling as though they’re in a familiar setting. The Ahwahnee was a major influence on the interior set creation of Stanley Kubrick’s horror masterpiece, The Shining. The film, based on a Stephen King book, portrays the Overlook Hotel as an extremely haunted location in the mountains that shares links to Native American heritage. The Ahwahnee’s lobby, great lounge and particularly it’s double red door elevators portray stark similarities to those portrayed in The Shining.

Elevator Doors inside the Ahwahnee Hotel that inspired those used in The Shining. Complete with orb on the right hand side.
Elevator Doors inside the Ahwahnee Hotel that inspired those used in The Shining. Complete with orb on the right hand side.

Visit The Ahwahnee Hotel

I took a self guided tour around the hotel during a visit to Yosemite National Park and the ate lunch in The Majestic Yosemite Dining Room, which offers high end California fare.

Gaining entry to Yosemite National Park will set you back $30 per car.

To stay at the Ahwahnee Hotel, I would recommend planning ahead due to the popularity of the destination. Dining at the Ahwahnee shouldn’t be more than a 45 minute wait during peak times.

The Awahnee Hotel's Dining Hall.
The Awahnee Hotel’s Dining Hall.

If you’re interested in learning about more haunted locations I have visited, then why not check out my post on The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum too.

Thanks for reading!


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About Amy

Amy is a world traveller and explorer of creepy locations. She has visited some of the most famously haunted places around the world in search of evidence of the paranormal. Follow Amy's Journey:

Comments (4)

  • Kim Quintard

    Posted by Kim Quintard on June 25, 2020

    In Sept. 2014 I stayed in room #348 at the Ahwahnee & something very strange happened. Do you know of any incidents from that room?


      Posted by Amy on June 29, 2020

      Hi Kim! Thanks for this comment! I have not heard of any stories specific to this room, that’s not to say that strange things don’t necessarily happen in there though. I’d love to know what you experienced there if you feel comfortable sharing it with me. Cheers!

  • Kim quintard

    Posted by Kim quintard on September 25, 2022

    I don’t know if I answered this yet :). I was taking a shower and when I looked down there was blood running down the side of the tub. I thought maybe I cut myself and didn’t feel it??? I got out, dried off and no blood on the white towel, (with the blood I saw I would have had an artery gushing). Next time I’ll grab my phone 4 vids or pics. My husband was sleeping. I hadn’t been drinking, except coffee. It didn’t really scare me and I slept good that night


      Posted by Amy on October 16, 2022

      Wow, that’s a strange experience. Thanks for sharing.

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