Fall is one of my favorite seasons for trail running—brilliant colors and the cool, crisp temperatures can make any run special. However, as the days get a little shorter and darkness sets in a little earlier, trail runs can also get a little creepy.
Many of our country’s trails are known for their historic hauntings, creepy creatures, and strange sounds, so it’s not surprising that nearly one-in-five US adults (18%) say they’ve seen or been in the presence of a ghost, according to a 2009 Pew Research Center survey.
In the spirit of the season, I thought that I’d share some of our nation’s spookiest wildplaces—if you head out for a Halloween run, consider yourself warned—you may have an unwanted running buddy along for the ride.
1) Grouse Lake, Yosemite National Park
According to Native American folklore, a young indigenous boy drowned in Grouse Lake and hikers and runners have heard a wailing cry on the Chilnualna Falls Trail every since. Legend has it that the boy calls out for help, but that anyone who ventures into the lake to help will be pulled under and drowned. If that’s not enough, Miwok Indians believed Yosemite’s waterfalls were haunted by an evil wind called Po-ho-no, which entices people to the edge of the falls and then pushes them over.
2) Bloody Lane, Antietam National Battlefield, Maryland
This historic site is home to one of our country’s bloodiest one-day battles. In 1862, after only 12 hours, 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after the Battle of Antietam, which ended the Confederate Army’s invasion into the North. The road, known as Bloody Lane, is said to be haunted by some of the soldiers who lost their lives. Visitors have reported hearing phantom gunfire, shouting and singing, and some have even claimed to see soldiers in uniforms who abruptly vanish. Take a run through this park and you may wish you didn’t.
3) Transept Trail, Grand Canyon
The “Wailing Woman” is known to haunt the North Rim. According to legend, the woman committed suicide in the nearby lodge during the 1920s after hearing that her husband and son had died in a hiking accident. Dressed in a white dress with blue flowers, she has been seen floating along the Transept Trail, crying for the family she lost in the canyon.
4) Batona Trail, New Jersey Pinelands
Since the 1700s, thousands of people have reported seeing the Jersey Devil in the Jersey Pinelands, a kangaroo-like creature with the head of a dog, bat-like wings, horns, and a forked tail. Those who live near the Pinelands claim to hear the creature’s screams late into the night. The mysterious creature is said to prowl through the 49-mile route spooking people with its creepy appearance—yikes! [Continue Reading]