Hiking and exploring America’s National Parks is one of the most rewarding activities you can enjoy. Fresh air, sunshine, and exercise always make for a memorable outing and the perfect way to admire the great outdoors. That is, unless, you happen upon something eerie. Most wouldn’t associate paranormal activity with hiking trails, although these seven spots may be the exception. These places are some of the most beautiful and historical in the country, but there’s no escaping their haunted nature.
1. Devil's Den at Gettysburg
It seems no surprise that the site of the Civil War's bloodiest battle would have a haunted tale or two. Devil's Den is a reverent and historic site in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Its hill is covered in boulders and was once used strategically by the infantry. Today, you might see a few ghosts haunting the premises, according to popular legend. "The Hippie" is one of the most famous ghosts spotted at Devil's Den. He appears barefoot and wears a floppy hat.
2. Norton Creek Trail at the Great Smokey Mountain National Park
The eerie fog of the Tennessee Smokey Mountains has been the source of more than a few ghost stories, and it's easy to see why. One of the most haunting tales is that of a settler who was killed along the banks of Lake Fontana while looking for his daughter. Apparently hikers on the Norton Creek Trail can see glimpses of this same light.
3. Grouse Lake at Yosemite National Park
Grouse Lake is one of the most beautiful areas in this California National Park. The legend associated with this lake is bone-chilling. Hikers who have accessed the water via Chilnualna Falls Trail report hearing the sound of yelping. Native American folklore speaks of a young boy who died in the lake and now calls out to hikers for safety, only to pull them in if they come near.
4. Great Sand Dunes National Park (Alamosa, Colorado)
Great Sand Dunes National Park is a breathtaking landscape of light-colored sand dunes. In fact, the tallest sand dunes on the continent are located here and have been the location of at least 60 UFO sightings. In the 1970s, an outbreak of unexplainable cattle mutilations began here and have made headlines. Star Dune is a 750-foot lookout spot in the park that makes for an excellent UFO-spotting location.
5. Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave is often referred to as one of the most haunted natural wonders of the world. Prior to the Civil War, a slave by the name of Stephan Bishop conducted many explorations into this massive Kentucky cave. Today, his ghost is frequently seen during guided cave tours. Just imagine being in such a dark space with only the light of lanterns to guide you. There was even a time in the nineteenth century when Mammoth Cave served as tuberculosis hospital. Nearby, visitors have reported hearing the haunting sounds of disembodied coughs.
6. Batona Trail at the New Jersey Pinelands
For centuries, rumors of a horrifying creature known as the Jersey Devil have taken place in the hauntingly beautiful woods of the New Jersey Pinelands. This beast is known to have the body of a kangaroo with the head of a dog, wings of a bat, horns and a tail. Many believe this bizarre creature lives somewhere along the 49-mile Batona Trail.
7. Transept Trail at the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon has seen a multitude of tragedies. A hiking accident that that killed a father and son in the 1920s was no exception. And the wife, upon hearing the news, committed suicide in one of the park's lodges. According to legend, she can still be seen in a white and blue floral dress moving about campgrounds on stormy nights.
Have you had any unusual experiences at these National Park sites? We’d love to hear your stories. Be sure to check out more information on
These Beautiful But Deadly National Parks.