North Carolina January 04, 2017
The Creepiest Ghost Town In North Carolina Is The Stuff Nightmares Are Made Of
Plenty of ghost towns in North Carolina are eerie and terrifying. Well, to be exact, all ghost towns are home to a sort of energy found nowhere else. Decay, loss, energy that once belonged to something that existed here and is now no longer. While some ghost towns are accessed by an easy drive,
like Henry River Mill Village, or even Brunswick Town, others are more hidden and – rightly so – more ominous. One such ghost town is tucked deep into the woods and only entered by those brave enough to hike through rarely traveled woods to witness it.
Situated amongst towering 5,000 ft. mountains, Lost Cove lives up to its namesake located at a mellow 2,500 ft. The history is often debated and also quite colorful. Some say the first settlers were two families from the Daniel Boone expedition, others claim the first settlers arrived during the Civil War area.
Due to rich soil, the first settlers were able to self-sustain off the agriculture, but the livelihood soon shifted as the railroad industry emerged. Townspeople would provide lumber and also work for the railway. Yet, things didn't always remain so innocent in Lost Cove.
Due to the remote location, Lost Cove became a haven for moonshining as early as the late 1800s. Because it is located right beside the TN border in Yancey County, the location made it hard for tax collectors to penetrate. Lost Cove is today referred to as one of the more legendary ghost towns in North Carolina, and its illegal history is certainly connected.
Yet the same remoteness that once propelled the success soon ushered in its demise. Many townspeople left for more accessible places. In 1957, the last residents finally left. Today what you see is the remainder of a forgotten town left simply in the middle of nowhere.
If you had never heard stories of Lost Cove at all, a simple hike might turn terrifying if you stumbled upon the decayed but still standing buildings and abandoned automobiles. There are even small graveyards dotting the land. It's easy to wonder and even speculate if someone is hiding out or calling it home today.
There are two main trails that lead you to Lost Cove. First, the Lost Cove Trail, a 2.5 mile hike down Flattop Mountain that begins at an unmarked trailhead. Devils Creek Trail also converges with Lost Cove Trail, but doubles the hiking miles. The name Devils Creek is ominous on its own, and when leading you to somewhere like this you can't help but feel a sense eerie anticipation on your trek. The Toe River also runs through part of the 95-acre land that is now owned by the Southern Appalachians Highlands Conservancy.
Today, Lost Cove retains plenty of history in the form of decayed ruins. The fact that it isn't easily accessible also makes it more frightening. The thicket of forests, houses that seem to have been left in a frenzy without calculated action, and the energy of a village left to decay in the middle of nowhere are all certainly terrifying. Maybe that's what makes Lost Cove just so scary: it flings you into the past while seeming somewhat like a horror movie set. Once you're there, you can't help but wonder who or even what is hiding amongst the woods and in the hilltops.
Lost Cove is a hike that even trained solo hikers don’t like doing alone, and it’s easy to see why. It’s definitely an eerie place but at the same time, there’s a certain peace here too. Makes you wonder what other small towns are hiding amongst the Appalachian Mountains. Have you hiked here before?
For a different type of ghost town, did you know one in
North Carolina is completely beneath water but can be seen when the water is low?