20 Of America’s Most Hair-raising Hiking Trails

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America is home to some incredible hiking trails, attracting visitors from far and wide. But it also houses several pathways that could send a shiver down your spine. So with that in mind, we’ve compiled a list that details 20 of the scariest and most dangerous tracks in the United States.

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20. Mount Washington

Located in New Hampshire, Mount Washington is arguably the state’s most iconic attraction. At the same time, though, you’d also be hard-pressed to name a more dangerous landmark. The trail to the mountain’s summit is fraught with hazards, with the SFGate website claiming that the weather is a huge problem.

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Indeed, the website notes that the unpredictable conditions are a threat in both the summer months and the winter. But as reported by New Hampshire magazine, more people have actually died from falls on the mountain. In total, the publication revealed that by May 2019, 161 fatalities had been recorded since 1849.

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19. Batona Trail

Situated in New Jersey, the Batona Trail spans around 50 miles, with pine trees covering large swaths of the area. But according to Ranker, the path isn’t just known for its lush surroundings and greenery. Indeed, it’s also believed to be the home of the famed “Jersey Devil” as well.

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The tales began back in the 18th century, when a local woman claimed that her 13th baby was Satan himself. Since then, numerous visitors insisted that they’d spotted the demonic-looking beast on the trail. Meanwhile, Ranker reports that a different section of the trek allegedly harbors an interdimensional portal too, adding to the mystery.

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18. Transept Trail

While the Grand Canyon is no doubt one of the most famous attractions on the planet, its North Rim houses a particularly scary area. Known as the Transept Trail, this path not only boasts some unsettling structural remains, but it’s said to be haunted too. The ghost in question has been called the “wailing woman.”

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Yes, the story, as retold by the Trail Mob website, suggests that a bad bout of weather led to the deaths of the woman’s husband and son. They plummeted off the Transept Trail, leaving her devastated. After scanning the area for their bodies, she subsequently took her own life in the Grand Canyon Lodge. Since then, her “wailing” spirit has reportedly been seen and heard when storms roll in.

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17. Death Valley

If you’ve earmarked a trip to Death Valley National Park, there are a number of precautions that you need to take beforehand. This unforgiving stretch of land is located between Nevada and California and can reach temperatures of over 120°F. Keeping that in mind, nearby signs strongly suggest that you shouldn’t venture into the valley from 10:00 a.m. onwards.

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To give you an idea of how dangerous Death Valley can be, SFGate reported that two people died there over a period of three days in August 2019. And the website noted that the first individual passed away in a car crash, while the other might’ve been a victim of the hot weather. Surprisingly, vehicular accidents are said to be the most common cause of death in the valley.

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16. Bloody Lane Trail

Back in September 1862, the American Civil War registered its deadliest confrontation in Antietam, Maryland. During that four-hour conflict, over 23,000 soldiers were injured or killed, with the bodies covering a sunken path. As a result of its history, the area is often referred to as the Bloody Lane trail today.

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However, if you want to pay your respects to the fallen, here’s something to keep in mind. The Ranker website claims that the Bloody Lane is rife with supernatural activity. Yes, reports are that tourists have smelled smoke and traces of gunpowder on the trail, while others have spotted ghosts wearing Confederate attire.

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15. The Half Dome

If you’ve ever been to Yosemite National Park in California, you’ll already be familiar with the Half Dome. This towering slab of rock is just under 9,000 feet in size, but brave visitors can attempt to scale it. To pull that off, though, they need to navigate one of the most daunting paths in the world.

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For you see, the only way to reach the Half Dome’s peak is by climbing up a perpendicular trail. Given how dangerous it is, the Business Insider website reported that there were nearly 300 accidents between 2005 and 2015. In that same time frame, 12 people lost their lives.

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14. The Appalachian Trail

For avid adventurers, the Appalachian Trail represents a tremendous challenge. The path is close to 2,200 miles in length, running through 14 states. On that note, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy website claims that a complete trek can last for up to seven months. But should you choose to give it a go, you might want to acquaint yourself with some of the spookier areas of the hike first.

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One of those locations is Bluff Mountain, which can be found in Virginia. Ranker reports that the spirit of a young boy named Ottie Cline Powell roams the area, following his passing on the trail more than 100 years ago. If that wasn’t enough, a Native American ghost called “Spearfinger” is believed to be skulking the path searching for lost kids.

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13. Kalalau Trail

While Hawaii is home to some absolutely beautiful vistas, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better spot than the Na Pali Coast. This area offers a stunning look at the island’s coastline, with the waves crashing in from the sea. However, the conditions of the nearby Kalalau Trail are incredibly dangerous.

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Indeed, SFGate notes that the path isn’t simple to navigate, causing some visitors to slip and perish. Furthermore, The Daily Beast website shared a startling figure in July 2019. Yes, it claimed that over 100 individuals have lost their lives after taking a dip in the streams on the trail.

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12. The Ghost House Trail

If you find yourself hiking near Knoxville, Tennessee, you might come across a rather spooky-looking pathway. The area in question is called “The Ghost House Trail,” and as the name suggests there are said to be a few spirits lurking around. According to Ranker, the stories began after a tragedy befell a local family.

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The tale suggests that when a girl succumbed to tuberculosis, her family brought a “phantom dog” to their house along the path. Ranker states that some visitors overhear the canine on the trek. And in addition to that, should a tourist snap a picture of the family’s gravesite, they’ve been said to spot spirits in the area.

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11. Mammoth Cave

Mammoth Cave National Park is arguably one of the most unique tourist spots in the United States. Above ground, the Kentucky park is made up of over 50,000 acres-worth of trees. Meanwhile, it also houses a cave that spans roughly 400 miles below the surface, earning the “mammoth” title.

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According to the Backpacker website, though, the underground trail has recorded in excess of 150 supernatural incidents down the years. For you see, the Mammoth Cave was used to shelter tuberculosis sufferers in the past. When they passed away, they were placed around a stone dubbed “Corpse Rock.” Now, the webpage claims that tourists can hear coughing sounds from the slab.

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10. Angels Landing

In Utah’s Zion National Park, hikers are given the chance to scale one of the world’s most terrifying trails. Known as Angels Landing, the path leads you to the top of a spectacular rock face some 1,500 feet in the air. However, the aforementioned track is incredibly narrow, with a single chain protecting you from a deadly fall.

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Given the dangers, Angels Landing has led to the deaths of a few hikers in recent times. Utah.com confirmed that three individuals sadly passed away on the trek between 2017 and April 2019. Then, a teenager named Savannah McTague suffered the same fate a few months later, as she fell from the path.

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9. Spruce Railroad Trail

On the surface, the Spruce Railroad Trail is a nice area for hikers to explore. But if you look a little deeper, this tourist spot in Washington might actually harbor a dark past. You see, Ranker claims that a man dropped his wife’s corpse into Crescent Lake back in 1937, which can be found next to the path.

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From there, the husband apparently relocated to California, before his partner’s body was uncovered three years later, perfectly mummified. He subsequently spent close to a decade behind bars. Now, the website suggests that the woman’s ghost roams the trail, and could well pull you into the lake if you get too close.

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8. The Wave

At first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking that photos of the Wave had been altered in some way to add a psychedelic effect. Surprisingly, though, that’s what the area actually looks like in Utah. So keeping that in mind, tourists from far and wide can’t get enough of the sandstone landmarks.

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In an attempt to quell the growing number of visitors, only 20 people get to traverse the unique pathway every 24 hours. However, the Wave has proved deadly in the past. As reported by SFGate, three individuals passed away from “heat stress” within a few weeks in 2013. Furthermore, tourists have been known to lose their bearings on the trail too.

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7. Devil’s Path

Located in New York, the Devil’s Path is one of the most intimidating trails across the country. Its eye-catching moniker was coined by a group of immigrants from the Netherlands, who vividly described the area long ago. According to SFGate, they said, “The range of mountains traversed – with their steep, rocky slopes and deep gaps between them – were the devil’s private preserve.”

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The group added, “[The mountains were] specially adapted to [the devil’s] cloven hooves, where he could go when desiring to retreat from the world of man.” So it goes without saying that this trail can be very dangerous. The Outside Online website certainly backed that up, as it reported that hikers pass away on the treacherous pathway each year.

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6. Big Bend National Park

At over 800,000 acres, Texas’ Big Bend is the 15th largest National Park in the United States. It’s a stunning stretch of land that tourists get to enjoy throughout the year, but it also has the power to send a shiver down your spine. Indeed, Big Bend is said to be home to a number of different ghosts.

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According to Ranker, hikers have spotted apparitions and “glowing orbs” across Big Bend. Alongside that, other tourists have picked up on a chilling wail from the Canyon de Brujas, where a Native American lady apparently died. And in terms of the peaks’ name, their title of “Chisos” can be translated as “ghost.”

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5. The Haiku Stairs

Otherwise referred to as “The Stairway to Heaven,” the Haiku stairs are an eye-catching sight in Oahu, Hawaii. However, from 1987 onwards, hikers have been barred from climbing the rickety structure due to its deteriorating condition. For those who do get discovered, SFGate reports that they’re handed a financial penalty of around $600.

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The structure, which comprises just under 4,000 steps, was originally put in place while World War Two raged on. But as time progressed, the stairs became increasingly hazardous for hikers looking to get a glimpse of the vistas at the top. In fact, SFGate claims that the journey has cost individuals their lives down the years.

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4. The Hollywood Sign

No trip to Los Angeles, California, would be complete without visiting the famed Hollywood sign. And thanks to pathways dotted around the area, you can get an up close and personal view of the giant letters. Yet back in 1932, it was the scene of a tragic incident when an actress named Peg Entwistle committed suicide.

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After Entwistle plummeted 45 feet off the letter H, people have since spotted her ghostly apparition around the sign in Hollywood. As Megan Santos recalled to Vanity Fair in October 2014, “There was this woman with blonde hair and she seemed to be, like…walking on air. I immediately ran the other way.”

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3. Devil’s Den

Much like the Bloody Lane Trail, the Devil’s Den was home to another brutal conflict in the American Civil War. Located in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the area can be found near some large rock formations and trees. According to Ranker, tourists have experienced a few creepy encounters there down the years.

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For instance, the website claims that a shoeless spirit is often spotted on the trail, gesturing towards the horizon. He then apparently says, “What you’re looking for is over there.” Meanwhile, electronic devices are said to go haywire in the Devil’s Den as well, which adds to the supernatural intrigue.

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2. Abrams Falls Trail

Located between Tennessee and North Carolina, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a gorgeous spot that boasts an impressive title. Indeed, the National Park Service website notes that it’s the most popular parkland in the country. However, one of its trails is particularly hazardous for tourists and hikers alike.

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Yes, the Abrams Falls Trail might look picturesque, but you should avoid the stream at all costs. As it turns out, the water’s powerful current has been known to cause people a lot of problems down the years. To back that up, the Smoky Mountains website reported that 29 people had lost their lives in the creek since the early 1970s.

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1. The Long Path Trail

Spanning close to 360 miles in length, the Long Path Trail offers hikers a chance to pass through some of New York’s other parklands. Along the way, the trek dips its toes into Rockland County, which houses a creepy-looking graveyard. The site in question is called the Letchworth Village Cemetery.

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Unlike a normal gravesite, this one doesn’t contain any traditional tombstones. Instead, the ground is covered in symbols that resemble the letter T. And in addition to that, there’s no way of knowing who they belong to, as they’re only numbered. Ranker reports that the cemetery was used by a nearby psychiatric facility, which eventually closed in 1966.