From haunted houses to haunted objects, there is no shortage of scary things you can explore, especially at this time of year. Haunted hiking trails are no exception.
However, not every source agrees on which trails are in fact, the spookiest. So, we did the research for you. All of the spooky and haunted trail lists were reviewed, the data was compiled, and here is the ultimate top 5 list of the spookiest trails in the United States, based on popularity.
As if the name isn’t enough to frighten you, this 1.5-mile trail loop takes visitors through the open fields of the Antietam National Battlefield near Sharpsburg MD, the site of one of the deadliest battles in the U.S. Civil War. The three primary battles fought between Confederate and Union soldiers on September 17, 1862, resulted in more than 23,000 casualties.
Gunfire and the smell of gunpowder have been reported when no one is on the road or even nearby. One visitor to the battlefield saw several men in Confederate uniforms walking Bloody Lane. He thought they were reenactors until they vanished. The most convincing of the reports is one of some Baltimore schoolboys who walked Bloody Lane and heard singing out in the fields. They said it sounded like a chant or the Christmas song Deck the Halls. The area was near the observation tower where the Irish Brigade charged the Confederates with a battle cry in Gaelic, which sounded like the Christmas carol.
This strenuous 8.2-mile loop takes you along cascading Chilnualna Creek to a series of falls, comprised of five large cascades sliding through and over rock formations about the Wawona Basin.
As you pass Grouse Lake listen for the cries of a young boy, who according to Ahwahnechee tribal legend, drowned in the lake. And, if you jump into the lake to save the boy, you’ll drown too. A Miwok tribal legend warns visitors to stay away from the 240-foot edge at the highest waterfall. Those that get too close will get pushed over by the evil spirit “Po-ho-no”.
With multiple views of the Grand Canyon, the fairly-easy, 3-mile Transept Trail follows the canyon rim from Grand Canyon Lodge to the North Rim Campground. There are also many rocks along the path with fossils in them, including crinoids, shells, sponges, and many other sea creatures.
You might happen upon a creature of the ghostly sort as well. According to trail visitors and park rangers, the ghost of a bereaved wife and mother mourns the loss of her husband and son, supposedly in a hiking incident no less, at the Grand Canyon’s North Rim. The affectionately named Wailing Woman appears dressed in a white dress with blue flowers and floats along the trail crying.
Zero points were given for originality in the name of the trail, but this 1.2-mile easy loop makes up for it in the number of scares it provides hikers. Homesteader Matson Hutchinson lost his daughter Mary to tuberculosis in the late 1800s and visitors to where the home once stood claim to hear sounds of a young girl suffering. The trail winds past the Hutchinson family cemetery, where visitors have reported spirits’ shapes appearing behind the gravestones in photos. Lastly, look twice if you come across a fellow hiker dressed in a red flannel and gray pants. It could be the apparition of Mason Hutchinson, who’s rumored to appear throughout the woods.
This 6-mile trail loop runs along the old railroad grade that used to take trains up into the cascades. The remarkably beautiful hike is complete with amazing mountain views on one side, and the bones of old railroad tunnels and snowsheds on the other. The trail is also the site of one of the Wellington Avalanche Disasters where, in 1910, nearly 100 lives were lost when a vast section of snow on Windy Mountain broke loose and crashed down, sweeping two stopped trains off the tracks.
There have been reports of disembodied voices echoing through the avalanche tunnel when no one else is there or no one else accompanying them has spoken. Visitors say they have felt invisible hands touch them, with their hair standing on end for no reason. Some have claimed to have even seen full-on apparitions. This trail combines beauty, history, and possibly a haunt or two.
Lastly, our list of honorable mentions. These trails appeared in at least two of the spookiest or haunted hike lists.
- Long Path, NY
- Norton Creek Trail, North Carolina
- Batona Trail, New Jersey
- Warm Springs Canyon Road, California
- Violet City Lantern Tour and Heritage Walk, Kentucky
- The Black Diamond Mines, California
- The Gold Mine Trail, Washington
- Spruce Railroad Trail, Washington
- Bluff Mountain and Punchbowl Shelter, Virginia
- White Sands National Monument, New Mexico
- Elfin Forest, California
- Bash Bish Falls, Massachusetts
- Mammoth Cave, KY
- Appalachian Trail, New Hampshire
Do you have an allegedly haunted trail or natural area in your town? Share your local legend in the comments!
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US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Date accessed 10/28/2019, https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/back1105.cfm
National Park Service, Accessed 10/28/2019, https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wawonahikes.htm
Only in Your State, Accessed 10/28/2019, https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/northern-california/haunted-hike-waterfall-norcal/
Outside Magazine, Accessed 10/28/2019, https://www.outsideonline.com/2393687/most-haunted-hikes-us
Sierra, Accessed 10/28/2019, https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/2013-5-september-october/green-life/6-haunted-hiking-trails
That Oregon Life, Accessed 10/29/2019, https://thatoregonlife.com/2016/11/iron-goat-trail/
Images sourced from The Wikimedia Commons Image Library with use granted under the Creative Commons CC0 License.