In a year that may go down in the history books as one of the most frightful to date (global pandemic, anyone?), the promise of Halloween’s kitschy haunts feels almost comforting. But even Halloween will look differently this year as we avoid crowded costume parties and other festive gatherings. However, never fear! Hiking is an excellent way to practice social distancing while simultaneously getting your Halloween thrills traversing a spooky trail.

Celebrate a Socially Distanced Halloween With a Local Haunted Hike 

So, what actually makes a trail worthy of Halloween thrills? Some trails are spooky simply given their features. For example, stretches of the Florida Trail that involve wading through dark, swampy waters. Others give a fright through the historical remnants left behind and the way the earth comes to reclaim them, such as the structures along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Trail. Then there are those trails filled with lore — nearby murders, hikers lost and never found, ghosts seen in the woods.

All to say, a haunted hike is what you make it, and while we’ve shared four well-documented spooky trails below, there’s likely one a lot closer to where you live than you might realize! Use these examples as inspiration to research where in your backyard you’ll hike this Halloween.

1. Bloody Lane Trail in Antietam National Battlefield

This trail is called Bloody Lane Trail. If that isn’t enough to qualify as spooky hiking, what is? This short 1.5-mile hike is located in Maryland’s Antietam National Battlefield, the site of one of the Civil War’s bloodiest battles. Visitors claim to have seen the ghosts of soldiers roaming the land, presumably one of the many buried near Burnside’s Bridge. Allegedly, you may also hear military drums or smell gunpowder. A place with such intense, tragic history is bound to leave behind some haunts.

2. Noland Creek Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to over 200 cemeteries. Located near the north shore of Lake Fontana on the North Carolina side of the Smokies, the Noland Creek Trail traverses a region of the park with the highest concentration of cemeteries. Rumor has it that backpackers have seen a glowing orb at night when camping out at backcountry sites 61 through 65 along the trail. If you head out on this 10.3-mile trail for Halloween, just hope for happy spirits.

3. Transept Trail in Grand Canyon National Park

The Transept Trail runs for three miles in the North Rim of Arizona’s Grand Canyon. Hikers on this trail tell stories of seeing a “Wailing Woman” appear in a white dress holding flowers. It is said that she is crying at the place where her husband and son lost their lives in a hiking accident. Please do everyone a favor while hiking this haunted trail and make sure to watch your footing, pack properly, and be safe.

4. Greenleaf Hut in the White Mountains

Located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, this lodging for hikers is believed to be haunted by the spirit of a past hutmaster, Ben Campbell. Campbell died while away hiking in Scotland, unable to return for his next season. Hikers who have spent the night here since say they have seen a male figure rummaging through boxes and heard the heavy footsteps of hiking boots. Campbell’s boots, which were left at the hut as a memorial by his family, have also been known to move locations throughout the night. This hike may be spooky, but you will at least be in the presence of a fellow hiking spirit.

Maintain Your Halloween Thrills This Year With Spooky Hiking

Halloween celebrations will look differently this year given the need for social distancing. Finding a haunted hike is a great way to embrace the spirit of the holiday while taking safety precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We hope you’ll find a frightful hike in your neck of the woods this year and share your adventures with us by tagging @gossamergear and using the hashtag #takelessdomore. Happy haunted hiking!
October 30, 2020 — Korrin Bishop