Not all places are equal. Some teem with dark energy. Some lonely roads have invisible tentacles. They curl up around you. You enjoy their caress but feel the need to run.
In the canyons, vineyards, and dusty ghost towns of Northern California lay many haunted locales. Women have died while hitchhiking the highways.
Travelers have disappeared into ravines. Their screams weren’t heard then, so they live on to eternity.
You can feel their energy yourself.
Walk the dirt trails and hilly paths. Pull back the vines at cemeteries.
Walk beyond the Gates of Hell outside Antioch and find out what happens.
Head to Old Stage Road in Salinas and brave a sighting of the headless female ghost.
Enter into a world of darkness and find out if any tendrils of your soul can return. Be careful what you wish for.
Title photo credits - left: flickr/alex-stoddard right: flickr/malcolmhare1965
10 Most Haunted Hikes in Northern California
Table of Contents
10) Golden Gate Park
Hike this largest manmade park on earth for some otherworldly thrills.
Your destination is near Stow Lake. In the 19th century, a woman in a dark swimming costume was in a rowboat with her young child.
A high screech came from the water and the baby was pulled in. The woman dived in after him and died.
For the rest of the century, the ghost of the woman has been seen, wringing wet, her matted hair framing her contorted face, walking around the lake looking for her baby.
9) Battery Point Lighthouse
In 1964, enormous waves washed over Crescent City, home of Battery Point Lighthouse.
Eye-witness accounts, now lore, describe some of the waves as perfectly resembling a cat's paw.
Now, visitors to Battery Point Lighthouse have seen a faint apparition. It is tall and upright like a woman, but holding its paws out.
This ghost also has a black tail. Some visitors have the brush of this tail on their shoulders.
In the lighthouse, it is believed that other ghosts move objects and dart up and down stairwells.
8) Morgan Territory Road
El Dorado, the Mexican bandit, hid his gold along this old logging trail.
Some people think the two of them ended their tryst then and drove on. However, was it this woman whose body was found in a ditch nearby a week later?
We only know that when near oak trees, hikers along Morgan Territory Road report an apparition of a nude woman, squatting near the earth as though astride a lover, her mouth open in a silent, eternal scream.
7) Pingree Lake, Emigrant Wilderness
In the late 1800's, Melissa Wilfred died while giving birth in the remote area of Pingree Lake.
This notorious location is where you'll find strange energies and movements in the brush.
While this seems like an ideal place for wildlife photography, fun and relaxation, the area around the lake is actually sinister and otherworldly, with a wide variety of apparitions having dropped by throughout the years.
Most are female, often in the tight bodices of 19th century garb.
6) Black Diamond Mines, Rose Hill Cemetery
The Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve is an enormous playground for paranormal hikers.
Among its six thousand acres is Rose Hill Cemetery.
This is the eternal home of the White Witch, a midwife thrown from her buggy, dressed in the old-fashioned white garb of a nurse.
She walks the night with great frequency.
5) Old Stage Road, Salinas
Salinas, in Monterey County, has one of the most audacious sites for lovers of the paranormal.
Hike this road day or night and you'll catch a glimpse of one of the world's most gruesome ghosts.
About a hundred years ago, a woman accepted a ride, only to be raped by the man she thought was helping her.
He dumped her body nearby, decapitating the poor victim in the process.
Now, she stalks this lonely road with her head in her hand.
In fact, if you happen to be in your car when you see her, you can offer her a ride, then watch her accept and vanish.
4) Gates of Hell, Antioch
This stretch off of Empire Mine Road in Antioch is the ultimate hike for anyone, in particular paranormal freaks like you!
The gates are just that, gates that block off a road leading back to a slaughterhouse.
You have to park your car, hop the gates, and head back.
This area was sealed off in 1995, when a man stumbled down the infamous road. He'd been stabbed by his ex-girlfriend.
Those brave enough to have traversed this path have seen the vengeful vixen wielding her knife, usually hovering a few feet above ground.
3) Calico Ghost Town
There are ghost towns that are so called because they're empty. And then there are towns full of ghosts.
Calico has everything for the person who likes being scared.
Visitors have experienced everything from seeing a witch of a ghost-woman in a black dress, to a ghost dog, to feeling something tugging on their arm.
2) Waterdog Lake, Belmont
This ghoulish location has one of the juiciest factors: people disappear. A boy was killed in the area several years ago.
Some people, including a local psychic, think the boy was dumped into Waterdog Lake by the man who killed him, while others say there was a ghost of the lake—the Waterdog ghost.
One thing is for sure, the sound of hoofs can be heard near the lake, and if you want to return alive, you better be ready to turn your hike into a brisk run.
1) Mount Madonna State Park, Watsonville
What is it that visitors to this state park experience? Why do they hear the most ethereal moan they've ever heard, low and persistent?
In fact, some of heard a higher version of this, more of a scream.
Is it the ghost of the girl who once lived on this land, guarding it for eternity?
Would that explain why visitors have felt disturbances in the air around them, as though the ghost is kicking at them or shooing them?
Your Next Step
Not all places are equal.
These ten special hiking locales in Northern California are well-known for their energy.
They are dark and dangerous. Just the kind of thing you're into.
So get the directions to each location, and visit the place closest to you...if you're brave enough.