Portland November 07, 2017
The Awesome Hike In Portland That Will Take You Straight To An Abandoned Castle
Deep in the woods of Forest Park lies this abandoned structure that is surrounded by much lore, including that of witches and murder. The actual stone structure was originally built as a public bathroom in the 1930s, but was abandoned after it fell into disrepair by the 1960s. However, it was built on the site of the Balch cabin, the scene of an infamous murder in the 1800s, and has been known as the Witches Castle for decades.
Forest Park's Wildwood Trail will lead you right to the abandoned remains.
From the Upper Macleay parking lot, the trail is a half mile, or from the Lower Macleay parking lot you can take the Lower Macleay Trail, a slightly longer option at three-quarters of a mile.
Once a ranger station and public restroom, the structure is covered in moss and looks like it is straight out of a fairy tale.
The roof of the building caved in 1960s, and was largely abandoned, until in the late 80s high school student began frequenting the spot and dubbed it the "witches castle."
But further back, this spot was home to Danford Balch, who bought the property in the mid 1800s.
He needed help clearing the land, and hired a local man Mortimer Stump to do the job.
Mortimer Stump moved into the cabin with Balch's family of 10, and began work on the project.
However, he also fell in love with Balch's oldest daughter, who was all of 15 at the time.
Stump asked Balch for the hand of his daughter, and when he refused, the two ran off together.
Balch stated that he would murder Stump if he married his daughter, but this did not stop the two from eloping.
When the young couple returned, Balch made good on his promise and shot Stump in the head, killing him instantly.
Balch was arrested, but managed to escape rather easily from the jail.
However, by mid-October of 1859, Balch was hung for the murder, making him the first legally executed person in Oregon.
The property of Danford Balch changed hands several times before ending up with the city as part of Forest Park.
The namesake Balch Creek runs through Macleay Park, which is a park of Forest Park.
Balch later said that his wife "bewitched" him, which ultimately led to the murder.
No one will ever know what really happened, but you can go visit this abandoned Witches Castle and see the remains of this creepy structure for yourself.
Have you been to the Witches Castle? Let us know about your experience in the comments below.