San Diego East County Haunted Trail; A relic from the past comes back from the dead!

San Diego East County Haunted Trail; A relic from the past comes back from the dead!

Marshal Scotty’s Scare Trail;  Old Marshal Scotty’s site Halloween Haunted Trail Now Open

San Diego –  October 2016

San Diego East County Haunted Trail; For many native San Diegans over 40, memories of coasters, Ferris wheels and bumper cars come to mind at the mention of “Marshal Scotty’s Playland.” And for the Halloween enthusiast, the mere mention of “Scream in the Dark” tingles the back of the neck.  Dustin Parr and Ryan Powers , the men behind a new haunt located at the abandoned Marshal Scotty’s site, have longed to bring those two beloved relics from San Diego’s historical past back from the dead.

It was Jan. 1, 1967 when Frank Hobbs opened Marshal Scotty’s Playland in Lakeside California just off Lake Jennings Park Rd. and the Interstate 8 freeway.  His small western themed amusement park would soon become a popular family destination throughout the 70’s and 80’s. Today, Marshal Scotty’s is no more than a blissful memory of fun and innocence for kids that grew up in San Diego during that time. Fortunately, the park would forever be captured in the film Scavenger hunt (1979) for those of us with fading memories.  A lot has changed since then. The two tall cowboys at the entrance are gone and the rides have since rotted. In this detritus state of doom, Dustin says “the Playland was ripe for something more.”

The biggest and scariest haunted housescream in San Diego back in the 70’s and 80’s was “Scream in the Dark” produced by christian youth group, Campus Life. “Scream in the dark” was a fundraising program put on by Campus Life in many cities across the United States. In San Diego these Haunted Attractions occupied vacant department stores in malls such as College Grove, Sears in Hillcrest and other locations.  These were long, scary haunts. Sand pits along the path, absolute complete darkness maze sections where you could not see your hand in front of your face and cleaver tricks to freak you out were down right frightening.  That is type of fear Dustin Parr aspires to live up to with his new haunt. “If I can make kids leave with that feeling I had at “Scream in the Dark” then I will have given a younger generation a lasting memory like I have.”

scottys-bathroomWith 16 acres of dilapidated, vintage, amusement park to work with, Dustin says the old Marshal Scotty’s site really is everything you need for a haunted attraction. The historical significance is great and there is a strong interest from the community to come see these grounds transformed into a Halloween time experience. A small team of family and friends along with Dustin make “Scotty’s Scare Trail” possible. “Everyone here is very passionate about making this experience horrifyingly scary.”

As I toured the grounds it was clear that you just can’t beat 26 plus years of decay to set the mood! The haunted trail itself is about 1/2 mile long and takes guests about 30 minutes to complete. With over 30 plus creatures roaming the grounds you are going to lose it! At least once.  I knew when I entered the old bathrooms that this haunt was something special. There is something very spooky about abandoned places, especially abandoned amusement parks. I couldn’t help but wonder if their weren’t real spirits haunting this place.


Scotty’s Scare Trail is open Thurs. – Sun 7pm to 11pm though the rest of October 2016.

Check back for my update next Thursday as I face the horror of clowns, chainsaws and creatures only a mother could love on Scotty’s Scare Trail. More info at


Editors Note: Marshal Scotty’s Land has been for sale since 2014. No telling when redevelopment will happen so this could be your only chance to visit Marshal Scotty’s one last time.