We all know that being outdoors is the best place to be in the summertime. Often we overlook the fact that camping and hiking can be just as fun in the fall because the weather starts to cool off. However, this is the best time to get outside and enjoy hiking trails. The coming of pumpkin spice season also means that it’s time to ramp up our attempts to scare ourselves. I know I find myself searching for haunted houses near me, or better yet, haunted hiking trails near me. The spookier the better! Where are the top 10 most haunted hiking trails though? From Virginia to California and everywhere in between we did the spooky research so you don’t have to!
Before you head out on the trails make sure to take a look at our listing of Outdoor Risks that you must consider.
1. The Ghost House Trail
The first most haunted hiking trail on our list is The Ghost House Trail. This is a 1.2-mile hike that has some moderate terrain but is a fairly easy hike even for beginners. The trail is located in Tennessee’s Big Ridge State Park. It is a wonderful park filled with many things for people to do. However, it comes with a grisly history.
It is said that this area is where scalpings and witch hangings have taken place. While there is no true evidence there are even local legends of this being the site of witch burnings and murders. What is verifiable is that the ghost of Mary Hutchinson who lost her life to tuberculosis haunts the trail with her trusty K-9 companion. They wander up and down the trail. It is likely that you will hear her footsteps or feel her breath as she passes by. If you aren’t so lucky you may hear her dog coming up behind you.
2. Black Diamond Mines Trail
Our next haunted hiking trail is the Black Diamond Mines Trail in the state of California. Close by the East Bay area of San Francisco, you will find the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve. This area is normally a wonderful spot away from the hustle and the bustle of the city with just enough green space to make you feel like you have escaped. Come Halloween time though you will be questioning if you really escaped anything. Especially if you get lost on the over 65 miles of hiking trails within the preserve.
If you head out in the afternoon and dusk hours, then beware. You may come across the Wailing Witch who haunts the nearby mines. She was charged with witchcraft and executed nearby after the deaths of her children by neglect and numerous diseases. She wails for her children whom she can never hold again. If you don’t hear the witch, then you may catch a glimpse of Sarah Norton near Rose Hill Cemetary. Poor Sarah was crushed by her carriage one day. Lucky for you that you may see her coming.
3. Bloody Lane Trail
You may never consider hiking on this haunted hiking trail as it is in the Antietam National Battlefield. This 1.5-mile trail was the site of one of the deadliest Civil War battles in 1862. Sometimes our history is the scariest thing we have. The American Civil War was one of those times that we look back on with pain even to this day. As Lincoln said a nation divided against itself cannot stand. What about an individual? Are you divided on whether you can survive a spooky stroll along the paths where Americans fell in battle?
It is not uncommon for visitors to hike these trails and come across ghostly soldiers both day and night. They are forever trapped in the battle between north and south, never to return home to their families. There are numerous cemeteries around the battlefield and Burnside’s Bridge. With all of the mayhem of war and death, nearby hikers have recorded seeing orbs of blue light, the steady drumming of the army, gunfire, battlefield songs, and smelling gunpowder. What will you see when you hike this trail?
4. IRON GOAT TRAIL
Number four on our list of haunted hiking trails is The Iron Goat Trail. This trail is located in the Cascades and is part of Stevens Pass. Like many older railways in the country, the tracks have been turned to trails. This is great for hikers because they end up being relatively flat and wide which makes for easy hiking. However, the Iron Goat Trail was the site of one of the worst train incidents in American history. In the early 1900s, two trains tried to summit the Cascade Crest only to get caught in a violent snowstorm. Being stuck near the top the passengers would soon meet their fate at the hands of an avalanche. Nearly 100 lives were lost.
Now you can hike this ill-fated path and imagine the blizzard that claimed so many lives. As you walk you may feel the chill in your bones that the passengers felt as their train car was swept into the creek. It is likely that you will hear the screams and shouts along the rail line. They will get louder the closer you get to the ghost town of Wellington. Remember that this is not a trail you can attempt at night and the tunnels are off-limits. That is of course if you still have a pulse.
5. Spruce Railroad Trail
You have made it to number 5 on our list of haunted hiking trails so you must be willing to really to get spooked on a trail. We are not leaving the Pacific Northwest quite yet though. Our next trail is in the Olympic National Park on another railroad trail conversion. On the Spruce Railroad Trail, we find the ghost of poor Hallie Latham. Her life was gruesomely cut short by her husband murdering her and leaving her for the animals. Her body wasn’t found for three years.
So we dare you to take this eight-mile trail. Search for the “Lady of the Lake” who haunts this area. Feel her cool hand reach from the depths to drag you under. If you don’t see her by the lake you will probably be okay. Likely though she won’t follow you…
6. Chilnualna Falls Trail
Back to California, we head for the number six most haunted hiking trail and this one is located at Yosemite National Park. The Chilnalna Falls Trail is an 8.4-mile long trail that passes many grand views including Grouse Lake. Yosemite is a sacred place to any who have visited. More so to those who have never left. There are tales of a Native American boy who drowned in the lake as well as the evil spirit Pohono. The trail may be beautiful but there are dark secrets in this sacred place.
If you want to remain among the living and leave the park to tell your tale then you should be careful. When you hear the boy crying and asking for help in the lake, make sure it is not the ghost of the Native American boy. He is said to drag you under so he can have friends in his watery tomb. Pohono is a trouble maker and when you are out on your hike he will disorient you and help you find the wrong way. He is especially troublesome if you get close to Bridalveil Falls as he will push you over the edge. For ecological and safety sake though you shouldn’t ever go near Bridalveil Falls. Pohono will make sure you never forget your mistake.
7. Long Path
The most haunted hiking trails continue on the East coast again with the addition of The Long Path to Thiells in Rockland County New York. This trail is unique in that it connects Theills, New York to the Letchworth Village Cemetary. Now you may be thinking why would I hike to a cemetery? Well, it is Halloween of course and it is what we do to fill that spooky need. It is especially the case when I tell you that Letchworth was a mental institution in the early 1900s. The cemetery includes no names of the souls who perished at Letchworth. Instead, each cross is marked with numbers. The horror doesn’t end there though because most of the residents were actually children who were subjected to clinical drug trials, abuse, extreme neglect, and overcrowded conditions.
The institution was shut down in 1996. The children still remain in the cemetery and along the path. So are you willing to help them find their way on an eerie night or are you giving this one a pass?
8. SOUTH COLDWATER TRAIL
The most haunted hiking trail number eight is the South Coldwater Trail which is around Mt. Saint Helen’s. This is a ten-mile roundtrip hike with some steep terrain. While not shrouded in mystery and death like number seven there is certainly an air of creepiness as you walk this path. Mt. Saint Helen’s erupted in 1980 spewing ash all across the pacific northwest. You can still feel the trembling of the earth and the movement of the volcano.
This trail really captures the essence of the day of the eruption. As we have seen from videos of the eruption it came out of the blue. People were working at logging camps, hiking, and enjoying the outdoors. Life came to a grinding halt that day and there are still bulldozers, yarding towers, machines with rocks in the cabs, and warped metal from the intense heat. It was not a safe place to be and the destruction contrasts deeply with the beauty of the mountain. You may not see a ghost on this trail, but you will be reminded of the deep power of nature and small you really are. Truly isn’t that scary enough?
9. Camp Lulu
You are almost to the end of our most haunted hiking trail list. Are you ready to explore a haunted trail near you? The next on our list is Camp Lulu which is near Brownsville, Texas. There are many trails around this area. However, the one we want to focus on leads in and around an abandoned girls’ camp. While the human girls and counselors are gone something remains. The trail has even been said to be the home of a gang killing field. The fun of summer has definitely left this tainted place.
There are two things we can count on Florida Man and Texas being the brewing place of modern-day horrors. It is said that the spark of one child’s life ended at the hands of a counselor at the girls’ camp. Hmmm, reminds me of some movies I have watched. Maybe it was more than one because hikers now claim to hear sounds of children playing nearby and have even seen toy offerings move on their own. Are you ready to confront the girls whose summer never ends?
10. Batona Trail
Our final, but certainly not least haunted trail is the 50-mile long Batona Trail. This trail winds itself through the Pine Barrens in New Jersey and is home to the Jersey Devil. This is a favorite tale for us as it is so outlandish it may just be true! In the mid-1700s a Quaker woman had been pregnant with her 13th son. As you know 13 is a cursed number. She secretly cursed this child as it would be the 13th son as well. While the child was born normal, in some accounts, it later grew monstrous growing wings, a horse-like head, a tail, and cloven feet. The woman clearly had made a pact with the devil and the child lived for many years.
Sightings of the Jersey Devil still happen to this day. There have been numerous reports including some who claim to have shot and injured the Jersey Devil. In general, the Pine Barrens is an eerie place to be at any time. I mean it is Jersey! It is more so the case as you learn more about the Jersey Devil and his ability to move from one copse of trees to another rapidly. You may not know when he is going to swoop down and grab you for your next meal until it is too late.
Top 10 Most Haunted Hiking Trails
So how many of these haunted hiking trails are near you? Are there others that we should add to the list? We are excited for the Halloween season this year and looking forward to getting our spook-filled hikes in. You will likely find us wading through the mist. We hope we make you jump a bit when you hit the trails yourself. Get outside and start to roam through those trails that are closest to you and if you get spooked along the way all the better!
Come on over to our Facebook Page and let us know what other trails we should add! Do you have a local legend on a hiking trail that should be mentioned?