Are you interested in the most haunted hikes in California? Want to experience the terror of coming face to face with ghosts of Nazi sympathizers at the abandoned Murphy Ranch in Santa Monica? Think you’re brave enough to take a night hike on the Secret Sidewalk in Fremont, home of the White Witch?
There are various haunted trails, hikes, and campgrounds in California.
Each with its own history and paranormal activity.
But I chose the following 10 spots based on both the gripping experience and the history of the locations.
If you feel courageous enough to try one, or more, of these haunted hikes in California, don’t be so quick to dismiss that noise behind you. And if you’re into photography, bring your digital SLR camera to capture the strange sights you’ll see.
But remember: All it takes is one mistake and you’ll become the next victim.
And now, I present for your enjoyment in terror…
The 10 Most Haunted Hikes in California
Table of Contents
1) Haunted Forest, Altadena
Today, hikers often report psychic phenomena. Also, spotting strange figures appearing to hang from trees, and the pressing feeling of being “stalked”.
Photo credit: ottsworld.com
2) Prospector Road
Be wary if you enjoy bringing your pet with you on hikes.
Of all the haunted hikes in California, this is the one that’s not only dangerous for you, but also for your pets.
Frightened hikers and disappearing pets are common here.
This used to home to a flourishing mining town in the mid-19th century. This led many miners to drunkenly brag about of their new-found wealth while drinking at the local saloon.
Fellow miners, would overhear the boasting and ambush the unsuspecting braggarts on Prospector Road; murdering them in fits of jealousy and envy.
Today, along the seven-mile stretch between Georgetown and Lotus, an angry apparition reportedly dwells near the road’s embankment, pointing a finger at travelers and silently mouthing “Get off my claim.”
Photo credit: hipcamp.com
3) Niles Canyon, Fremont
In the early 1920’s, a young woman named Lowery suffered a violent death when she was thrown from her carriage and struck by an oncoming car.
In the years following the accident, drivers and hikers have reported seeing a ghastly woman dressed in a torn and bloody white dress. Now known as the “White Witch”, she lies in wait alongside the roadway, asking for a ride.
Anyone unwise enough to allow the White Witch into their vehicle soon meet a similar fate as Lowery, “accidentally” driving off the road and into the canyon below.
Hikers traveling along the Secret Sidewalk through Niles Canyon have reportedly gone missing after attempting to aid a bloody woman wearing a white gown.
Other than what you read on this list, hikes in California don’t get much scarier than this.
Photo credit: flickr/believingthedream
4) Yosemite National Park
One of the most well known haunted hikes in California.
“Po-ho-no” is an evil wind, believed by the Miwok Indians to inhabit Yosemite’s waterfalls.
Legend has it that Po-ho-no entices unknowing hikers to the edge of the roaring falls. Just as they peer over the edge the spirit is said to push them over.
It’s believed by some that this is why modern-day visitors still “slip” over the edge of the falls. It also explains why the National Park Service has fortified the falls with so many railings.
Modern-day occultists in the area have been know to try channeling “Po-ho-no” as a sort of dark spirit guide.
Photo credit: fredmertzphotography.com
5) Corralitas Red Car Trail
Supposedly bordered on both sides by the skeletons of former rail workers, abandoned cars, and old machinery.
Until 1955 a red car route used to travel this path. Today, all that remains are the cement foundations and ghosts of workers who died in the creation of the route.
If you’re unlucky enough to hike this trail near sunset, beware. After the last sliver of light disappears over the horizon, you may find yourself surrounded by the spirits of those who were wronged.
6) Black Star Canyon, Orange County
This remote site can only be reached by a long winding trail.
The trail goes deep into the wilderness of Orange County, leading to an abandoned Indian village.
The Indian inhabiting this land were the last free-roaming tribe, and it was at this site that they were massacred by Spanish ranchers.
In 1831, the local ranchers were constantly terrorized by a band of Shoshone horse thieves. Unable to resolve the problem on their own, they contracted the help of William Wolfskill, a well-known mountain man who had just led a group of fur trappers from New Mexico to Los Angeles.
Wolfskill led the men, tracking the bandits back to the canyon where they found the Indian chewing on horse meat and what some thought looked like “human remains”.
Unnerved but determined, Wolfskill and the ranchers overwhelmed the Indians, massacring them and desecrating the bodies out of spite.
Many speculate this massacre to be the reason why the valley remains one of the most haunted hikes in California. Hikers often report seeing figures in hoods, and movement beyond the tree line.
The evil that lays dormant in this canyon is also believed by many to be the force behind the verified crimes and modern-day horrors such as:
A savage murder in 1899, an overturned school bus – in which the driver, teacher, and all the children on board were killed, the horrific rape of two teenage girls in 2001.
The evil is palpable in this canyon. You don’t need to be a psychic to feel it.
Photo credit: hipcamp.com
7) USS Hornet, Alameda
The USS Hornet in Alameda is reported to be the most haunted ship in the entire US Navy.
Spirits of long dead sailors are said to roam the outer deck after sundown. Within the dark confines of the ships corridors, it’s said they roam freely at all hours.
Locals have reported spotting the spirits along the shoreline on cold autumn evenings.
Photo credit: sjl.us
8) Black Diamond Mines, Antioch
The Black Diamond Mines are rife with occult and paranormal activity.
The Wailing Witch is said to haunt these narrow corridors ever since she was executed for failing to tend to a group of children under her care – which led to their deaths.
The ghost of Sarah Norton, who was crushed to death by her carriage, is said to haunt the Rose Hill Cemetery.
So within the mines, or outside them, you’re never truly safe.
Photo credit: flickr/rbeebephoto
9) Bodie Ghost Town
From unexplained smells of food cooking, wafting from the Mendocino house, to sightings of a giggling girl (killed by a mining ax) in the cemetery, to the image of a woman peering through the windows of abandoned homes, this deserted mining town has a reputation for hauntings and danger.
Legend has it the spirits curse anyone who dares to steal from their land.
Of all the haunted hikes in California, the sage advice to “Take only pictures, leave only footprints” is doubly important here.
Photo Credit: hipcamp.com
10) Murphy Ranch, Santa Monica
With a heritage more insane than a season of American Horror Story, Murphy Ranch is infested with spirits, apparitions, and the type of evil that will make your blood run cold.
In the 1930’s a local group of Nazi sympathizers, who believed in the supernatural and occult, hoped to build an Aryan utopia.
They believed that Germany would win the war and decided to build this stronghold to carry out the Nazi agenda, and hold steadfast until the expected German invasion.
The infrastructure built here included a 395,000-gallon concrete water tank, a 20,000-gallon diesel fuel tank and a power station.
The scope of work was so vast that the tradesman hired to carry out the job were confused. It was beyond what even an extremely wealthy person was capable of funding. Which lead many of the workers to believe that funding was coming directly from the Nazi regime in Germany.
During the time of the construction locals went missing, including several children. It was later believed by some that they were taken by the occultists and brainwashed as one of their own.
Today, one of the last structures standing on the property is a two-story steel-frame building that was thought to be a garage and machine shed.
However, a tale handed down by locals tells of wailing and screaming coming directly from the area. Lending to the belief by some, that the missing children were not raised as their own, but rather experimented on.
Hikers who reach the site near dusk, sometimes report hearing what sounds like a high pitched scream.
Hike down through the brush on one of the many long and creepy stone staircases and watch out for apparitions in the trees, and expressionless children with red eyes.
This may be the most dangerous of all the haunted hikes in California.
Your Next Step
Get a group of your friends, grab a map, and try your luck on one of the hikes on this list.
Keep your eyes open, and if you hear distant screams getting closer…