Culture

Tales from the Trail: Five National Park Halloween Hikes

If you find yourself near one of the country’s national parks this Halloween, stop by one of these trails for a haunting hike.

Locations: Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Smoky Mountains, Mammoth Cave, and the Everglades

Trails: Chilnualna Falls Trail, Transept Trail, Norton Creek Trail, Heritage Trail Loop, and Gulf Coast Trails

Fall is the perfect time to hit the trails — ideal weather, colorful scenery, and comfy layers. When you pair all of the greatness of fall trail running with the spookiness of Halloween, you get the perfect combination of fun and creepy.

Check out these infamous National Park trails this Halloween for a haunting running adventure.

Yosemite National Park: Chilnualna Falls Trail

Yosemite National Park is home to some of the country’s most beautiful and dangerous trails. But its most haunted trail, Chilnualna Falls Trail, boasts three waterfalls and two Native legends. This difficult 8.4-mile loop that passes Grouse Lake where, according to legend, a young Native boy drowned and his cries can still be heard. Plus, its highest waterfall is associated with an evil spirit that pushes those who get too close over the edge.

Grand Canyon National Park: Transept Trail

Grand Canyon National Park’s popular North Rim hike, the 3.4-mile out-and-back Transept Trail, passes both an ancestral Puebloan ruin and the site of the Grand Canyon Lodge. It is also the place where many hikers have reported seeing the Wailing Woman. Her agonized cries have haunted the North Rim since the 20s when, according to local lore, her husband and son died in a hiking accident and she took her own life.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Noland Creek Trail

Everyone knows the famous Appalachian Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park but the Noland Creek Trail is far more infamous, spawning two tales of spirits that haunt the woods. First, the spirit of a lost settler who died searching for his daughter near Lake Fontana is said to appear as a glowing orb that guides disoriented hikers to safety. Second is a much more menacing presence known as Spearfinger, a shape-shifting witch of Cherokee legend who lures children into the woods and many hikers — and trail runners — have said they had the feeling they were being watched as they trekked the trail.

Mammoth Cave National Park: Heritage Trail Loop

Taking you through an 1800s-era cemetery, Mammoth Cave National Park’s Heritage Trail Loop might also bring you to a sighting of Stephen Bishop’s ghost. Bishop was brought to the caves as a slave in 1838 and became the best known guide due to his extensive cavern knowledge and for discovering new sections. He is buried in the cemetery, having died before the Civil War, and park rangers report seeing him wandering the area where he used to guide tours.

Everglades National Park: Coastal Prairie Trail

Everglades National Park is known for more than mosquitos and alligators. The area is rich in pirate history due to its proximity to Caribbean and along the Park’s 7.5-mile (one way) Coastal Prairie Trail you might spot a pirate ship of a ghostly sort. The phantom ship of the Everglades is said to be a 1600s pirate ship that captured a merchant ship off the coast of Florida. The pirates made every crew member walk the plank, while leaving the captain’s wife to watch. The legend goes that she cursed the pirates and they are doomed to roam the Everglades on their ship forever. You may be faster than them, but they never tire.