October has rolled in, and you know what that means – it’s prime time for all things spooky! Beneath the scenic beauty of national parks lies a trove of haunting legends, perfect for Halloween hiking! Picture winding trails cloaked in mist, rustling leaves that sound like whispers, and a sense of mystery lingering in the air.

If you’re looking for your next thrill-seeking adventure, try exploring one of these eerie, most haunted paths nature has to offer! Get ready for some serious goosebumps and plenty of October chills as we dive into the supernatural side of the outdoors.

Photo: NBC New

1. Warm Springs Canyon Road isn’t your average hiking trail – it’s a heart-pounding journey spanning sixteen miles through Death Valley National Park (CA), leading you straight to Barker Ranch, infamous hideout of the Manson Family. The ranch was where Charles Manson was eventually captured, and its eerie shell still stands tall. Daredevils can even camp on these grounds, though be warned, some have reported hearing chilling screams and feeling an unsettling presence, as if eyes are watching their every move.

Photo: Hiking Project

2. Ever heard the spine-chilling tales of the Jersey Devil, that mythical creature lurking in the marshes of Southern New Jersey? Rumor has it, it’s a kangaroo-like beast with blazing yellow eyes, a dog’s head, bat-like wings, horns, and a forked tail. If that sounds like the kind of spooky adventure you’re after, then the 49-mile Batona Trail is calling your name. Since the 1700s, thousands have reported glimpses of this legendary creature, and folks living near the Pinelands swear they hear its blood-curdling screams piercing the silence of the night.

Photo: Dan Keck

3. Norton Creek Trail, located in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (NC), has got a reputation, not just for its scenic beauty, but for its resident spirits too. Now, don’t worry, one of them happens to be quite friendly! Legend has it that a settler, devastated after losing his daughter to the notorious Spearfinger (the less friendly spirit on the trail…), met his fate in these very woods. But fear not, hikers have shared tales of a guiding light that led them to safety when they were lost. Feeling up for a real adventure? This trail has the highest concentration of cemeteries in the region, and you can even pitch your tent near one for the night!

Photo: Chet Wright c/o Woodlands and Waters

4. The Ghost Loop Trail in Big Ridge State Park (TN) has definitely earned its name. Brace yourselves, because it’s more than just a walk in the woods. This trail winds past the old Hutchinson family farm and their cemetery, adding a touch of creepiness to your hike. Here’s the spine-chilling part: after young Mary Hutchinson passed away from tuberculosis, her ghostly presence lingered on the trail. Locals shared tales of cries echoing through the air and mysterious figures in the house, even after the family had moved away. Now, while Mary might not tread the trail anymore, her loyal dog still does. Numerous hikers have reported the sound of phantom paws, a dog racing and panting alongside them.

So, lace up your boots and tread carefully, for you never know what spooky secrets might await you just around the next bend. Happy Halloween, park lovers!