10 Most Haunted Hiking Trails Near San Francisco

At night, exploring haunted hiking trails, alone. Hiking in a haunted place can be a thrill or a terror. This is the choice you face – hike on in the face of fear and the paranormal? Or, should you turn around for the comfort of your own, familiar surroundings?

10 Most Haunted Hiking Trails Near San Francisco

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Your answer to this question determines your mindset as you begin researching haunted hiking trails near San Francisco. Will you put on a brave face for those around you (including the cute girl or guy you want to impress)?

Or will you turn tail and run?

Facing your fears can be a positive tool, so these 10 most haunted hikes near San Francisco will give you opportunity to rise above your fears, to experience the abnormal and to live to tell the tale.

We hope.

#10 - Presidio Pet Cemetery, San Francisco

Pet Cemetery in the San Francisco Presidio

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Pet Cemetery in the San Francisco Presidio2

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The Presidio is a nature preserve in the middle of the city with miles of coastal trails perfect for hiking and running.

Under a large overpass, a crowd of headstones at the Presidio Pet Cemetery creates a spooky atmosphere.

As the final resting place for pets over the years, their spirits surely hover nearby, ready to haunt unsuspecting hikers who happen upon their graves.

#9 - Buena Vista Park, San Francisco

Haunted Hiking Trail in Buena Vista Park San Francisco

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Haunted Hiking Trail in Buena Vista Park San Francisco 2

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This is San Francisco’s oldest park, known for its big views.

It includes a network of trails that make for good hiking, but beware the Gold Rush-era tombstones – spirits from the time period may leave you with a vague feeling of unease and fear, like you have stepped into the edge of someone’s presence without their permission.

#8 - Niles Canyon, Fremont

Niles Canyon in Fremont California

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Haunted Hiking Trails Niles Canyon in Fremont

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Niles Canyon in Fremont California

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In the early 1920s, a young woman violently died when thrown from her carriage in front of an oncoming car.

She has been reported seen in a torn, bloody, white dress, lying in wait along the road, asking for a ride.

She then “accidentally” drives them off the road into the canyon.

Hikers in Niles Canyon have also reportedly gone missing after trying to help her, so beware anyone asking for your help.

#7 - Stow Lake, San Francisco

Stow Lake haunted trail in San Francisco

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Stow Lake, in Golden Gate Park is a great place for hikers, runners, photographers, and families out for a walk or even a ride in a paddle boat.

It looks peaceful, but behind the façade is an eerie history: during the 1800s, a woman’s toddler fell into the lake.

She jumped in to save her baby, but both of them drowned in the attempt.

Legend holds that a ghostly image of the woman searches the lake and asks strangers if they have seen her baby.

You might be the next one she asks …

#6 - China Camp State Park, San Rafael

China Camp State Park Haunted Hiking Trail

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This camp established in 1854 by Chinese gold miners will scare everything out of you with its real ghost town.

As you hike through the park and the town,  remember the disagreement in 1956 between two Chinese American societies that resulted in a battle among 2,500 people with weapons.

Those killed in the fight now haunt the area, restless for a home.

Pray they don’t find it with you.

#5 - Monterey Bay, Monterey

Monterey Bay Haunted Hike

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If you’re out for a hike along the shoreline of Monterey Bay, don’t be surprised if you see a mysterious, dinosaur-looking beast surface above the water.

Reports circulated in the 1920s of this eerie animal, and no one knows what paranormal explanation there might be.

Enjoy your hike here, but beware - a spine-tingling viewing might be just around the corner.

#4 - Waterdog Lake, Belmont

Waterdog Lake Haunted Hiking Trail

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Waterdog Lake Haunted Hiking Trail with Abandoned Car

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If you like to be haunted by screams, gunshots and violence, take a hike near Waterdog Lake.

A little boy walked this way once and never returned.

Some say the ghost of Waterdog took him, and others who have tried to prove it have not returned. Locals say they hear gunshots and screams.

This violent lake is haunted. Enter at your own risk.

For extra creepy adventure, take the Rambler hiking trail and you'll see an abandoned car that became part of the trail.

Crossing the bridge puts you on top of the car.

How did the car get there?

#3 - Moss Beach Distillery, Moss Beach

Moss Beach Distillery

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Moss Beach Distillery haunted hiking trail

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This little restaurant offers a horrifying apparition of woman in a blue dress soaked in blood once or twice a year.

She appears dancing in empty rooms or sitting on the piano, where she was said to be stabbed by her lover, the restaurant’s piano player, the early 1900s.

The Distillery is just down the road from Half Moon Bay, where your hike will leave you ready for a nice, haunted lunch.

If you're up for more hauntings, take the trail behind the restaurant.

You'll travel down a dark path framed by sinister looking trees straight out of Sleepy Hollow.

#2 - Empire Mine Road, Antioch

Empire Mine Road Haunted Hiking Trail in Antioch

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Empire Mine Road Haunted Hiking Trail in Antioch2

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This remote area provides several haunted locations that will spook you deeply, if you let them. Hike to the Gates of Hell for rumors of an old insane asylum, haunted by screaming, tortured spirits.

An old railroad track tunnel includes a spooky atmosphere with bats and other mysterious elements, including disembodied voices.

An old slaughterhouse just adds to the mystery, the intrigue and the haunting.

#1 - Sutro Baths, San Francisco

Sutro Baths Haunted Hiking Trail in San Francisco

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These abandoned ruins at the end of a beach make for a great day hike along the ocean, but for the stories of a young woman drowned and swept out to sea.

Her ghost comes, snatches candles from visitors and throws them in the ocean.

Sutro Baths Haunted Hiking Trail in San Francisco 2

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Brave young souls sometimes gather in the ruins and call to the young woman, inviting her to come.

When the fog rolls in, transforming the ruins into a scary wonderland, will you be there?

The San Francisco bay area is beautiful, but with a decidedly spooky side.

Sutro Baths Haunted Hiking Trail Tunnel in San Francisco 3

Photo credit: flickr/wallyg

The rolling fog, the mystery, the cold, the various atmospheres and landscapes all combine for a chilling, mysterious effect, especially when bad weather rolls in.

These 10 most haunted hikes in, and near San Francisco, will bring you closer than ever to the paranormal.

Directions To The Haunted Hiking Trails

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