The Trail of Nightmares – Full Review

The Trail of Nightmares is a Haunted Attraction located in Ontario, OH.

4135 OH-309, Ontario, OH 44903
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Haunt Type(s):

Haunted Trail


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Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Food/Concessions, Indoor Waiting Line, Uncovered Outdoor Waiting Line, All-Outdoor Attraction


This attraction was reviewed on October 5, 2018 by .

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Final Score: 8.61

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Appearances are not always what they seem, but nevertheless, we were surprised when our navigation system took us to a storage facility in Ontario, Ohio for a tour of Trail of Nightmares haunted house. Its unassuming appearance, however, hid a vast wooded area behind the storage units with a truly spectacular haunt behind it.

Trail of Nightmares has been in operation for 7 seasons now and the several buildings scattered along the trail have had the necessary time to settle into their surroundings and gather a natural patina of moss and overgrowth that can only be achieved by the hands of nature and time. With bespoke sound effects, sets, and even a few animatronics, the whole atmosphere achieved at Trail of Nightmares is a truly unique sight to behold.

The haunt didn’t carry a theme throughout but instead, gave every building a unique theme with immaculate set dressings that the actors all fit into well. The haunt as a whole had a kind of backwoods village feel to it and encompassed everything that we love about a classic haunted trail.

Cast: 9.05

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Trail of Nightmares told us that they were running about 10 actors short on the evening of our visit but, we would not have guessed it. Each stop along the trail seemed well-staffed and there were a few actors that would venture a short distance from their location to keep you on edge just a bit longer. They all filled their roles beautifully, providing high energy engagement when necessary or just presenting an ominous and creepy presence if that is what the scene called for. Their timing and delivery were impeccable and they were not afraid to strike up a conversation. We were very impressed with all of the actors that night.

Costuming: 8.48

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All of the costumes along the trail helped to enforce the story being told by the scene around us. There were not many masks in use but, the ones we did notice fit very well and the actors inside them were adept and communicating through them. There was one mask or appliance on the witch that seemed a bit large for her face’but, we know it is difficult to find a proper fitting woman’s mask, especially for a smaller woman. The makeup jobs were beautiful and accentuated the characters nicely, bringing together the complete package and solidifying the story line.

Customer Service: 8.7

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GPS will take you right to their location and there is a brightly lit sign out front. It is a little odd pulling into a complex of storage units, but the large reaper over their ticket booth’flanked by burning torches, assures you that you are in the right place. We had seen flyers for Trail of Nightmares during our tour at another haunt that evening and it was great to see them returning the favor here. The staff were all very friendly and the smell of the food filling the air from the two food tents was making me hungry. Our only regret is that we exited the trail too late to get some fried pickles. They also have a few port-o-potties on site for your convenience.

There were a few roots along the trail that can trip you up but, we must say that this is one of the best maintained trails that we have seen so far. Despite heavy rains for most of the day, we were not sloshing through mud the entire way.

Atmosphere: 7.85

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Waiting in line to enter the trail, you are surrounded by a playlist of rock music, roaming queue actors, the aromas of food and the screams coming from within the woods. The queue area is among some storage units and it is hard to shake that, so it’s hard to be prepared for what lies ahead. Even the giant reaper poised over their ticket booth helps to try and create that haunted house feel, but you just can’t ignore the fact that you are standing in a group of storage units. You know you’re at a haunted attraction, but it’s just hard to get into that ‘mood’ in the queue area.

Special Effects: 8.9

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One of the most impressive aspects of Trail of Nightmares is that everything is made in house. You won’t find a lot of catalog props or d������cor here. Even the sounds effects are created by the owners and that makes their effects a bit more impressive. There are so many great effects that they pull off here that it is difficult to pinpoint a favorite but, one of the top effects for us was certainly the exorcism room. The timing and atmosphere in that room was impeccable. We are not going to spoil it for you, you will just have to see it for yourself. A couple others worth mentioning would be the white pallet maze which created a similar effect to a vortex tunnel with their use of strobe lights and the chapel scene. Even the tunnel/cave effect was beautifully created.

Theme: N/A

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Scare Factor: 8.35

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The actors at Trail of Nightmares are not afraid to go after anyone for a scare. Jason is 6’1′, 250 pounds and there was a gentleman in our group that was even taller. Both of them were targeted several times by actors. Front’back’middle, it didn’t matter where you tried to hide within your group, no position was safe. Their timing and use of the environment allowed them to attack from just about anywhere and they used quick startle scares, as well as elaborate suspense to draw the screams out. We were particularly fond of their lighting along the path in between scenes. It nodded to old summer camp lighting and hinted at a slightly solitary feeling, while lulling you into a false sense of security. It was an odd combination of feels’but, in a good way.

Entertainment & Value: 8.7

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Our walk along the Trail of Nightmares took right around 45 minutes and, with only a $15 ticket price, it puts their minutes of entertainment per dollar spent value at a solid 3! They could certainly bump up the ticket price and it would still be a great value. With the highly detailed sets (the witch’s hut was our favorite) and the fantastic character interaction that you get, this is worth every penny of the ticket price and then some!

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Guest Reviews
Guest Average: 10 out of 10

Jess Martin – 10/10September 24, 2022
I would rate higher if I could. This trail is perfect for someone like me who is clausterphobic yet …show more loves haunted houses. There are some spots where it’s a bit enclosed but you get out of it soon. They have great scenes and a dedicated staff. The Trail of Nightmares is my favorite thing to do in the fall! I chose to do this as part of my bachelorette party and I loved every second.

Nikki – 10/10October 31, 2020
Loved this….it was one of the best we have been too…definitely will be going back next year.

Jennifer – 10/10October 24, 2020
One of the best haunts around. They actors are amazing and they definitely have the best scares …show more around. I will definitely be taking my kids through next year.

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