The Halloween season is in full effect. Stores are selling everything from costumes to fake spider webs and some theme parks have transformed themselves into haunted playgrounds with special attractions and scary actors who loom around every corner ready to startle the next passerby. Houses become haunted and corn fields get groomed to become mazes.
But what about the sites that are thought to be truly haunted?
In the spirit of Halloween, I’ve searched north and south for creepy outdoor haunts that may leave you running for the trailhead or parking lot. Check out this list of spooky spots around Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Still hoping to run into a zombie?
Don’t worry, the list includes some quintessential Halloween haunts too!
- Griffith Park, Los Angeles – Apparently the park has been haunted since the 1800s around the time that Don Antonio Feliz, the wealthy landowner, died from smallpox. According to the legend, Don Antonio’s niece Doña was cheated out of the inheritance and in retaliation, she put a curse on the land. Since then, the landowners have suffered untimely deaths or have been been marked by bad luck. Some park rangers have said they’ve seen Doña wearing a white dress riding along the trails on horseback. Be sure to check out: Haunted Picnic Table 29 – Apparently a tree fell on the picnic table on October 31, 1976, killing a young couple who were sitting there. Their ashes were later scattered in the spot where they died and strange events have occurred there ever since. Hike out to the picnic table to check it out for yourself. Griffith Park Old Zoo – Check out the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride. Wander through an interactive neighborhood, ride on a hay wagon through the haunted woods of Griffith Park, or navigate through a dark maze in the House of Shadows.
- Cobb Estate/Sam Merrill Trailhead, Altadena – The Marx Brothers purchased the old Cobb Estate in the 1950s and saved the old mansion from destruction. It ended up becoming a spot for squatters and today rumor has it that people have heard ghostly noises near the house and hikers get an eery sense of being watched through the surrounding forest.
- Corralitas Red Car Path, Silver Lake – The path sits on land that used to be part of the Pacific Electric Streetcar line that connected Silver Lake to Glendale. The line was decommissioned in the mid-1950’s and abandoned cars and old machinery dot the area. The steps where passengers used to line up to board the streetcar are faintly visible and apparently the sounds of grumbling passengers can be heard.
- Famous Halloween Haunts – Knott’s Scary Farm, Six Flags Fright Fest, and Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights.
San Francisco Bay Area
- China Camp State Park, San Rafael – Originally the park served as a fishing village and was a popular spot for the Bay Area’s Chinese immigrant population in the 1800s. The village had a few general stores and a post office. Today it’s known as a ghost town and all that remains are a few dilapidated houses, the post office, and a visitor’s center.
- Mystery Spot, Santa Cruz – Situated in the middle of a redwood forest, this strange spot plays tricks on what we know about gravity, perspective, and height. There are a few different tales as to why such activity exists there but the jury is still out and the mystery remains unsolved. Take a hike in the surrounding redwoods and then check out the spot for yourself!
- Buena Vista Park, San Francisco – Take a stroll on one of the hiking paths and you’ll end up coming across tombstones that date back to the gold rush (mid 1850s). Some say the park is haunted by the people buried there.
- Famous Halloween Haunts – Great America’s Halloween Haunt. For a more family-friendly outdoor activity (but fun for adults too), visit Cool Patch Pumpkins home of the world record corn maze.
Hopefully you’ve learned about some new haunts. Have fun and if anything spooky happens while you’re out there exploring, don’t say you haven’t been warned!