Looking Back at Colorado’s Deadliest Avalanche

Mount Gothic in Gunnison County. Note: This is a stock photo of a mountain in the same county. If you’ve taken a photo of Woodstock that we’re able to use, feel free to send it to [email protected]. Photo Credit: Jeffrey Beall (Flickr)

There is – was – a town in Colorado called Woodstock. If you visit today, all you’ll find will be a few foundation stones and a sign that informs visitors about the town’s tragic demise following the state's deadliest recorded avalanche.

On March 10, 1884, the town was struck by an avalanche, destroying many buildings and burying 18 people – 13 of which died. Once a town of 200, people left following the destruction and never came back to rebuild.

Prior to the disaster, Woodstock was a town built alongside railroad tracks for the Denver, South Park, & Pacific Railway, with most of the residents living in the area due to a job with this service. That is, until the avalanche changed everything.

Perhaps most tragic was the death of Marcella Doyle’s six children, aged 23 to 10, who now live on in a brief mention on the sign at the site that explains this horrific event. Mrs. Doyle survived, rescued after twelve hours of being partially buried. She later sued the Denver, South Park & Pacific Railway company for building a railway station in a spot where an avalanche was so likely to occur.

Today, ghost stories are still told about Woodstock, a result of the avalanche that occurred more than 100 years ago. One account states that on that day each year, one might spot a ghostly train accompanied by sounds, lights, and rumbles in the area.

If you’re looking to visit this ghost town, it’s located in Gunnison County down a 2-wheel-drive road near Pitkin. The best time to visit is during the summer.

Here’s a map that shows where Woodstock is located:



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