Haunted trail to spook Halloween fans at Reclamation Ranch

Proceeds will benefit newly created veterans organization

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Crystal Young points the path of the haunted trail at Reclamation Ranch. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Crystal Young is bringing spooky Halloween spirits to the trails surrounding her Mitchell ranch.

With the help of military veterans, Young will be scaring all of those who dare enter the haunted trails that will lead to spooky barns at the Reclamation Ranch located roughly 5 miles south of Mitchell. Young is attempting to create scenes that are common phobias shared among many such as fear of creepy clowns and claustrophobia.

“We are going all out on this, and I am confident that everyone who goes through the haunted trail will face some of their fears and phobias,” Young said. “I can’t share what phobias we are creating, because we want to make it a suspenseful experience.”

The haunted trail event will run from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday on Halloween night. However, Young is hosting a one-day kid-friendly haunted trail to allow youth to experience the event from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. during Halloween on Saturday afternoon. Tickets will be sold at the gate. The price for admission is $10, and anyone under the age of 13 who is entering the haunted trails must be accompanied by an adult.

While it marks the second year for the haunted trails at the Reclamation Ranch, there is a new group involved with the event. The proceeds generated from the three-day Halloween event will be donated to a new military veteran organization called Heroes Helping with Horsepower, which Young founded roughly a year ago to help veterans overcome any life obstacles they may be facing. Some of those veterans will also be behind the masks of the ghouls and goblins who are gearing up to scare the trailgoers.


As a military wife and daughter, Young is passionate about finding interesting ways to give back to veterans. Helping with Horsepower is another notable organization that Young is heavily involved in, which utilizes the Reclamation Ranch for horse therapy.

“One of the goals with the veterans programs is helping them through some unfinished business and providing another community for them to be involved in for their well being,” Young said. “This is one way we can do that.”

Scattered along the quarter-mile trail and haunted barn will be 25 live ghouls and goblins scaring the trailgoers. Young estimates it will take a little over 10 minutes to complete the entire haunted trail.

Young was anticipating to host the event last year, but the wet weather Mitchell and the surrounding area experienced in the fall of 2019 caused its cancellation. With the popularity and positive feedback from those who completed the haunted trail during its inaugural year in 2018, Young said she intends on making it an annual Halloween attraction.

She said one inspiration for the haunted trails was the lack of haunted houses in Mitchell over the past few years.

Since the former Jaycees haunted house that was hosted in an old downtown Mitchell building discontinued several years ago, Young said there’s been a void for Halloween enthusiasts. With the exception of Dakota Wesleyan University’s haunted house, Young said it was time to bring another option to the Mitchell area.

“When we were kids growing up in Mitchell, we always had the Jaycees haunted house to go to, which was always so fun and really scary,” Young said. “Halloween is not complete without a haunted house experience.”


Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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