7 haunted hikes to get your heart racing this Halloween

The only thing scarier than the prospect of getting sucked into one half of a corny couple's couple? Missing out on one of these haunted treks around the country this Halloween.

Skip the haunted houses and get your thrills on the trail this Halloween. Photo: Courtesy of SJM_/Twenty20.com
Skip the haunted houses and get your thrills on the trail this Halloween. Photo: Courtesy of SJM/Twenty20
Lace up your boots, grab your apple cider and plan a trip along one of these famously spooky trails — they’ll get your heart racing (one way or another).

Batona Trail, The Pine Barrens, New Jersey

The New Jersey Pine Barrens hide a scary secret: the New Jersey Devil, a deformed demon that's been scaring locals for centuries. Photo: Courtesy NJPineBarrens
The New Jersey Pine Barrens hide a scary secret: the New Jersey Devil, a deformed demon that’s been scaring locals for centuries. Photo: Courtesy of NJPineBarrens
The East Coast is known for urban sprawl, so you might be surprised to learn southern New Jersey is home to 1.1 million acres of forest known as the Pine Barrens.

This 50-mile trail links the Brendan T. Byrne, Wharton and Bass River State Forests, winding you through windswept pines and intersecting paved roads, just in case you’d rather end your hike short.

There have been hundreds of sightings of the Jersey Devil here. The legend of a winged, horse-headed demon has persisted for centuries, with sightings by respected war heroes, prominent businessmen, policemen and reverends.

Grouse Lake, Yosemite National Park, California

Grouse Lake, Yosemite National Park
Grouse Lake is said to be haunted by more than one ghost. Photo: Tom Hilton/Flickr
If you hear the cry of what sounds like a small dog while trekking the Chilnualna Falls Trail near Grouse Lake, you may be hearing the wailing of a Native American boy who drowned there centuries ago.

Folklore says that he calls to hikers for help, but don’t listen — anyone who gets too close to the water will be pulled under and join him in his ghostly grave.

Nearby is the legendary “po-ho-no,” an evil Miwok Indian spirit that entices people to the edge of waterfalls — in 2011, three hikers fell to their death from Vernal Falls.

Iron Goat Trail, Stevens' Pass, Washington

haunted hikes halloween
Iron Goat Trail is the haunting rounds for nearly 100 railroad accident victims. Photo: Courtesy of Jim Mattson/TrailVolunteers.org
This 9-mile loop hike may be easy on the legs, but it’s never easy to hear the story of the 1910 railroad disaster that took place there.

When an avalanche derailed two passenger trains, nearly 100 riders lost their lives.

Hikers have reported hearing the moans of ghosts trapped in the dark railway tunnels that pepper the trail.

Diamond Shoals Area, Cape Hatteras, North Carolina

Cape Hatteras
Cape Hatteras experiences severe weather changes routinely. Photo: Courtesy of Robert Lz/Flickr
Severe weather patterns, strong currents and a rocky shoreline have proved a deadly combination for sailors near the Diamond Shoals area off Cape Hatteras for centuries.

Known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” thousands of ships have crashed along the coastline since records began in 1526.

Walk along the beach and you may join the folks who have reported seeing ghost ships and hearing the desperate wails of their drowning crewmembers.

Norton Creek Trail, Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina

halloween haunted hikes
Great Smokey Mountain National Park is one of the most haunted places in the country. Photo: Johnie Gall
Between the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and the brutal winters faced by frontiersmen, there’s enough haunted folklore in North Carolina to justify calling any hike “haunted,” but the Great Smoky Mountains National Park may just boast more ghost stories per square mile than any other park in the country.

According to Cherokee legend, this trek is haunted by Spearfinger, a witch with a long, knife-sharp finger who wanders the trails disguised as an elderly grandmother, luring children away so she can cut out and eat their livers. Shudder.

Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky

Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave National Park is the site of over 100 reported paranormal activity. Photo: Courtesy of Stealth Tramp/Flickr
Mammoth Cave is the longest known cave system in the world, but it may also boast another record thanks to 150 documented supernatural occurrences.

In 1841, Dr. John Croghan brought 16 patients into the cave for the winter, believing the cold, damp air might cure their tuberculosis.

Of course, he was wrong, and some of the patients perished underground.

Their ghosts can reportedly still be heard coughing in the cave’s many corridors.

Transept Trail, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is haunted by a woman grieving over the loss of her husband and child. Photo: Courtesy NPS
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is haunted by a woman grieving over the loss of her husband and child. Photo: Courtesy of NPS
Park rangers and visitors have reported a strange presence among the red walls of the Grand Canyon’s North Rim: a “Wailing Woman,” the ghost of a guest who committed suicide in the nearby lodge in the 1920s after realizing her husband and son had died while hiking.

Now, she haunts the Transept Trail, wearing a white dress and crying over the loss of her family.

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