In the mood for a hike this weekend? Check out this list of the scariest hiking places in the U.S. Hopefully one is in your area! (Make sure to pack some marshmallows and your Kindle to tell scary ghost stories if you’re going for an evening hike.)
1. Bluff Mountain and Punchbowl Shelter, Virginia
Four-year-old Ottie Cline Powell died on the mountain over a century ago after wandering away from his schoolhouse, says Backpacker. The Virginia Trail Guide blog notes seeing the grave marker when they hiked through here.
The Blue Ridge Country website says many hikers feel “an eerie, unseen presence near the mountain top.”
2. Black Diamond Mines, Antioch, California
Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve is located way out in the San Francisco East Bay (I’ve been there). The Wailing Witch is thought to haunt the mines after she was executed for failing to take care of children in her care, which led to their deaths. And a lady named Sarah Norton was crushed to death by her carriage, so she hangs out at the nearby Rose Hill Cemetery. If my wife and I had known this, we might’ve just spent the day at Six Flags instead.
3. The Hollywood Sign, Los Angeles
Yes, that Hollywood sign. It’s been a landmark for ages, but there’s a story. In L.A. there’s always a story. It seems back in September of 1932, an actress named Peg Entwhistle decided to climb up the back of the “H” and then leapt to her death. Modern Hiker says on Sept. 18, her purse, shoes and jacket were found along with a suicide note. “I am afraid, I am a coward. I am sorry for everything. If I had done this a long time ago, it would have saved a lot of pain. P.E.”
Here’s a live webcam of the sign. Do you see her?
While her body was cremated and buried in Ohio, there are those who claim to have seen her apparition fall from the H and vanish before it hit the ground, and spotted her wandering hiking trails in Griffith Park and near her old home on Beachwood Canyon Drive. You might even catch a whiff of her favorite gardenia perfume at those spots, too.
Want to go? Modern Hiker has route and trailhead info.
4. Bloody Lane Trail, Maryland
The name alone should tip you off. In the Civil War, more than 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing at the Battle of Antietam. Here are details on the 1.5 mile route. Don’t go alone—Travel Channel says visitors report “seeing ghostly soldiers both day and night, and phenomena include witnessing balls of blue light, hearing drumming, gunfire and battlefield songs, and smelling gunpowder.”