Nature September 23, 2021
A Mysterious Woodland Trail In Oregon Will Take You To The Original Witch’s Castle Ruins
There’s a chill to the air and the daylight is dwindling.
Fall has arrived here in Oregon, and we have the most delightful little trail to get you in the spirit. Just a stone’s throw from Portland, there’s a mysterious woodland trail that leads to one of the most intriguing places in the state. Known as the Witch’s Castle, these ruins in Oregon are nothing short of magical — albeit, perhaps of the dark magic variety.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
Double, double toil and trouble... if you're on the hunt for a hauntingly fun hike in Oregon, you'll want to check out the Wildwood Trail and Lower Macleay Trail Loop.
This 3.2-mile trail is located just outside Portland, and is a straightforward trek all can enjoy -- provided you aren't spooked by ghost stories!
The trail is located in the Macleay Park, part of Portland's beautiful Forest Park. This lovely little preserve offers a variety of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding... as well as a real-life witch's castle!
This route follows Northwest Thurman Street for about a quarter mile, and then connects to the Aspen and Lower Macleay Trails. It's well-marked, and you can view the full
trail information here.
The trail winds through a scenic forest, and you won't believe you're just minutes from the hum and buzz of busy Portland. Before too long, you'll approach the ruins, known colloquially as the "Witch's Castle."
The story behind these Oregon ruins is one of high drama and heartache.
In the mid-1800s, a man named Danford Balch lived in this area with his wife, Mary Jane, and their children. He hired a contractor named Mortimer Stump to build his homestead -- a decision that led to a terrible chain of events.
Anna Balch, Danford's 15-year-old daughter, fell in love with the architect, and the two announced their intention to marry. Mr. Balch was none too pleased, and warned the couple that he would kill Mortimer if he didn't leave immediately. Mortimer Stump did leave... to elope with Anna.
An enraged Danford went looking for Mortimer. When he found his new son-in-law in Portland, he shot him in the head. When arrested, Danford claimed his wife Mary Jane was a witch and had put a spell on him that caused him to commit the crime. Danford was found guilty, and was hanged in 1859.
Mary Jane, meanwhile, spent the rest of her life living on the homestead in the Portland woods. It's said that her ghost, as well of the ghosts of her husband, daughter, and doomed son-in-law, all still inhabit -- and haunt -- the property.
The piece of land where the Balch homestead sat was bequeathed to the city of Portland in 1897. In the 1950s, this stone structure was built to serve as a restroom for the park. When it was damaged a few years later, officials decided it was too expensive to repair, and it's sat abandoned ever since.
Whether you believe in ghosts or not, these ruins are one of the most mysterious and haunting places in Oregon -- perfect for a spooky autumn adventure!
Have you hiked to the Witch’s Castle ruins in Oregon before? Isn’t this such a unique spot? It’s definitely a hike to add to your fall bucket list!
For more enchanting places you can visit in Oregon, be sure to check out this
fairy tale road trip. Address: Witch's Castle, Lower Macleay Trail, Portland, OR 97210, USA