Take a haunted hike

So, you want to tell a spooky ghost story on your next hike and scare the gorp out of your friends? Or maybe you'd like to scare yourself, but don't know where to go for that spook factor?

Celebrate Halloween with a haunted hike on a haunted trail with the help of a haunted local trail guide.

Haunted Hikes by former National Park Service ranger Andrea Lankford recounts "spine tingling tales and trails from North America's national parks." Even if some stories don't scare you on their first reading from the comfort of home, this is an actual hiking guidebook with spooky stories, trail descriptions, and directions to the trailhead.

You'll likely feel some hairs stand up once you're on that trail, in the dark, recalling the mysterious skeleton found in that exact spot. Let's just say, based on the creep factor alone, I won't be hiking to Charles Manson's Barker Ranch in Death Valley anytime soon.

Maybe it's the local flavor (there were nearly no New England stories in the book above), but Haunted Hikes of New Hampshire by Marianne O'Connor spooked me a bit more. In particular, the stories of the huts on Mount Washington were a little freaky, probably because I've frequented those very areas many times.

I won't spoil the tales here (far better to tell them while in the mountains), but I don't suggest making a night of it alone in the Lake of the Clouds hut.

Know a good local ghost story or trail guide for haunted backcountry spots? Share it below.


Filed under: Places

Comments

D&G in the Smokys
75 reviewer rep
306 forum posts
October 25, 2010 at 4:41 p.m. (EDT)

This actually sounds kinda neat and fun.  I think you have sparked my curiosity and will now go and see if there are any such hikes in Tennessee near me!

Alicia
TRAILSPACE STAFF
588 reviewer rep
3,025 forum posts
October 25, 2010 at 5:12 p.m. (EDT)

Haunted Hikes has a few Tennesses references for you, including the Boogerman Trail Loop. I'll look through and give you more details later.

Arson
REVIEW CORPS
1,601 reviewer rep
76 forum posts
October 26, 2010 at 8:51 a.m. (EDT)

Browning Hill in Indiana.  There is a ring of stones that have no business there.  Scary!!!!  People have had things "Happen" to them there for years.

f_klock
110 reviewer rep
762 forum posts
October 26, 2010 at 9:25 a.m. (EDT)

Hickory Run state Park, here in PA, has the "Shades of Death" Trail.  Sounds scary year-round

Alicia
TRAILSPACE STAFF
588 reviewer rep
3,025 forum posts
October 26, 2010 at 9:43 a.m. (EDT)

Hickory Run state Park, here in PA, has the "Shades of Death" Trail.  Sounds scary year-round

Who names a trail Shades of Death?

gonzan
MODERATOR REVIEW CORPS
658 reviewer rep
2,148 forum posts
October 26, 2010 at 10:43 a.m. (EDT)

There is an old cemetery in the forest of Harrison Bay SP. I once went by it at dusk, and there were about twenty hooded and robed figures in a circle amongst the gravestones. They all turned at me at me without saying word. To say that I "hastened" on my way would be an understatement.

Alicia
TRAILSPACE STAFF
588 reviewer rep
3,025 forum posts
October 26, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. (EDT)

The fall that my first kid was a baby I decided to go for a walk in the state arboretum in Augusta, Maine. It was my first visit and it was really pretty. The arboretum covers about 244 acres. I walked the outermost loop through the woods and saw virtually no one.

On the second half of my walk I came upon the remains of some buildings. From the signs I learned they were the piggery and nearby slaughterhouse and rending plant.

For many years, the residents of the state mental hospital, just across the road, worked the farm and piggery for therapy and exercise. The piggery burned down several times and then was discontinued. The mental hospital is still there.

I'm not one to get spooked in the woods, but standing next to the mental patients' burned-down piggery and slaughterhouse, all alone in the woods was a bit creepy.

I think it would be a great setting for a Stephen King novel though.

D&G in the Smokys
75 reviewer rep
306 forum posts
October 26, 2010 at 5:50 p.m. (EDT)

Alicia, thanks for looking into the TN haunted hikes, I appreciate it:)

Rick-Pittsburgh
1,631 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts
October 27, 2010 at 1:22 p.m. (EDT)

Good stuff Alicia.

Alicia
TRAILSPACE STAFF
588 reviewer rep
3,025 forum posts
October 27, 2010 at 3:38 p.m. (EDT)

All righty, as promised, here's what I see about Tennessee in the book above by Andrea Lankford:

Natchez Trace: This is where Meriwether Lewis committed suicide in an inn. He blew his forehead off with a gun and then mutilated himself with a razor (the innkeeper locked herself in her room). He died as a result (surprise!) and was buried near the inn, which is now on NPS land. Some say he haunts the area.

You can hike to his monument and grave on the Merriwether Lewis Loop.

Big South Fork NP: Oscar Blevins lived in a cabin near Bandy Creek. In 1975 the government condemned his cabin and included the land in the new national park. Blevins died in 1988, but supposedly has been seen since in the area, appearing and even speaking to rangers.

You can hike Oscar Blevins Farm Loop near Bandy Creek.

Great Smoky Mountains: Painfully shy kid Robert Palmer says he wants to grow up to be the Boogerman. He grew up to live in an isolated cabin and scare the dickens out of kids. Now the land and The Boogerman Loop trail is part of the national park.

 

SouthEastHiker
0 reviewer rep
118 forum posts
October 28, 2010 at 1:05 a.m. (EDT)

I just got back from a trip on the A.T. and actually camped at the Slaughter camping area and then went up Blood Mountain the next day. These two places have a spooky past going back a long time: Spirit guides would help lost hunters on the Mountain; the name of the mountain actually came from a battle between two Native tribes that people said was so brutal that blood literally ran down the mountain, and Slaughter creek which is on the side of Blood Mountain comes from its own name sake; and in more recent time a serial killer actually decapitated several female hikers at the Blood Mountain shelter.

Alicia, odd enough I think I may have actually camped by the cabin in Big South Fork, that's kind of creepy.

Alicia
TRAILSPACE STAFF
588 reviewer rep
3,025 forum posts
October 28, 2010 at 12:20 p.m. (EDT)

Oooooo, spooky, SouthEastHiker. An old, see-through man didn't appear and talk to you, did he?

East Coasters/New Englanders, I just got a link to this 2009 AMC Outdoors article in an email from the AMC:

Hike with Ghosts

SouthEastHiker
0 reviewer rep
118 forum posts
October 29, 2010 at 11:51 p.m. (EDT)

HaHa, no fortunately I didn't see any see-through people.

This post has been locked and is not accepting new comments