Just because summer is over doesn’t mean you have to stop hiking. Simply hit the trails that fit in with the season, such as the following ten spooky hikes. These trails include various abandoned ruins, many of which hold very dark secrets, while others gave me eerie vibes during my visit.
**As a bonus, I’m going to provide multiple SoCal locations which aren’t hikes, but are also in the outdoors and known for their many paranormal activities. So be sure to get to the bottom of the post because they’re going to blow your mind!
Lastly, I realize all hikes are creepier at night. However, I highly discourage visiting some of these trails (especially those in the San Gabriel Cn) after sunset, as people who don’t have the best intentions may pose a huge risk to your safety.
10) Paramount Ranch: Ghost Town Set On Fire
- Total Miles: 2.1
- Map, Directions, & Full Post: Paramount Ranch
Paramount Ranch was once a complete ghost town movie set. However, many of the structures burnt down in the Woosley Fire of 2018.
Although only the church and train station remained standing, it was enough to produce an eerie feeling in the place, almost like I was in a real ghost town.
You’re allowed to walk up to the structures and peep inside. Both the emptiness of the church and the train station reminded me of a zombie apocalypse.
9) Dawn Mine: Abandoned Mine Deep In The Mts
- Total Miles: 6
- Map, Directions, & Full Post: Dawn Mine Trail
The Dawn Mine is an abandoned gold mine deep in the San Gabriel Mts. It’s a must-do and is frequently combined with Millard Falls as it’s located further down the canyon.
The mine has 2 portals, one at ground level and the other located about 30 feet above the ground. I was only able to see about 30 feet into the bottom adit, which has running water flowing out.
The old water pump system you see in the featured image is the only relic left of the mine. The Dawn Mine was worked up until 1954, much more recently than most mines.
Although you can’t walk inside the Dawn Mine, there’s an exploratory tunnel further up the trail that goes in about 50 feet. Check out the full post to learn how to get there.
8) Tin Mine Canyon: Corona’s Eerie Hike
- Total Miles: 4.38
- Map, Directions, & Full Post: Tin Mine Canyon
The Tin Mine is a glimpse into Corona’s past. Like the Dawn Mine, the Tin Mine has two known portals, one above the ground and the other at ground level, both of which have been closed.
This was one of those trails that I found to be very eerie, a feeling I rarely get in the mountains. Although I visited on a holiday, I was the only one in the canyon.
Vibrant vines adorn the sides of the bottom portal, giving it a spooky autumn look. Someone told me there’s a way inside the adit, but I’ve yet to find it.
7) Car Wreck Trail: No One Knows What Happened
- Total Miles: 3.4
- Map, Directions, & Full Post: Car Wreck Trail
Car Wreck Trail takes you to the mysterious ruins of a 1940’s vehicle. There are many theories online that attempt to explain the wreck, but none have provided sufficient evidence to satisfy the public.
The trailhead is located in Laguna Beach where the famous, Top Of The World hike ends. Hence, you can enjoy an amazing view along with a car wreck.
6) Shoemaker Canyon Rd: Armageddon Tunnels
- Total Miles: 5
- Map, Directions, & Full Post: Shoemaker Canyon Rd
During the Cold War, Los Angelinos feared a nuclear attack from Russia, so they built two tunnels in the East Fork of the San Gabriel Canyon to provide faster access to the high desert and Nevada.
Due to conservationist efforts and unexpected costs, the tunnels were abandoned and now end abruptly in what seems like the middle of nowhere.
Although they were never used for vehicles, they’ve become extremely popular with hikers.
5) Murphy Ranch: Abandoned Nazi Ruins
- Total Miles: 2.26
- Map, Directions, & Full Post: Murphy Ranch Trail
During World War 2, a family who lived in the Santa Monica Mts believed Hitler would win the war and would invade the US. Therefore, they began building Murphy Ranch as a self-sustainable ranch complete with a watchtower and library.
Unfortunately for them, Hitler lost the war, and according to the legend, police occupied the compound the day after Pearl Harbor was attacked.
Nowadays, many of the structures are still located in the canyon. Although they’re boarded up, it was still worth a visit.
It’s strange to see a place that was once full of life now turn into a pile of ruins.
4) Old LA Zoo: The City’s Dark Past
- Total Miles: 2.63
- Map, Directions, & Full Post: Old LA Zoo
The LA zoo that operates today is not the city’s original zoo. The original zoo, which is also located in Griffith Park, operated from 1912 to 1966, when it was closed because of the animals’ inhumane living conditions.
However, many of the structures are still located there today and can be explored via a fun hike through the hills.
There are rumors which claim the old zoo is haunted, and that animals can be frequently heard at night crying out in distress.
Whether that’s true or not, park rangers have stated that animal sacrifice, satanic cults, and murder are not uncommon in Griffith Park.
3) Echo Mt Ruins: Pasadena’s Haunted Forest
- Total Miles: 5.3
Echo Mt is home to the most popular ruins in Southern California. In the late 19th century, Professor Thaddeus Lowe built a world-famous attraction which included The Great Incline and the Mt Lowe Railway.
Both attractions took visitors up the Echo Mountain House, a resort that now lies in ruins and is the destination for this trail.
The trail begins at the Cobb Estate, which was once owned by the Wright Brothers and also lays in ruins, in what is now known as the Haunted Forest. To venture into the estate, I had to walk through a Victorian-style gate, making me feel like I was walking through a Halloween movie set.
The Echo Mt ruins at the end of the trail include the foundation of the Echo Mt House, the wheels and frame of the Mt Lowe Railway, and many scattered stoned ruins to name a few.
2) Pumpkin Rock: SoCal’s Favorite Fall Trail
- Total Miles: 1.69
- Map, Directions, & Full Post: Pumpkin Rock Trail
This trail might not be spooky but it’s nevertheless ideal for the season.
The giant boulder which has been painted like a pumpkin by Norco’s locals has been one of SoCal’s most famous Halloween hikes.
Although people with nothing better to do vandalize constantly the boulder, the locals are generous enough to re-paint it every autumn to prepare it for the thousands of visitors who enjoy taking pictures with the landmark.
1) Big Horn Mine: Spookiest Hike In SoCal
- Total Miles: 3.84
- Map, Directions, & Full Post: Big Horn Mine Trail
The Big Horn Mine is SoCal’s most famous abandoned mine and for a good reason.
The mine was founded in 1895 by Charles T. Vincent while hunting for Big Horn Sheep. Charles, who was known as a hermit, built a cabin about a mile away from the mine, which still stands today!
The mine is roughly 300 feet deep and contains 2 miles of underground passageways, most of which can no longer be accessed due to cave-ins. However, most of the building’s ruins located at the portal can still be explored along with a good portion of the inside of the mine.
A friend of mine who has explored the San Gabriels better than anyone else I know told me there is an underground lake located inside the mine.
I don’t recommend exploring the inside of the mine as it can be unstable but definitely visit the ruins and Vincent’s cabin.
Bonus: Paranormal Activity In The Outdoors
The following are not trails necessarily, but places in the mountains or outdoors still within SoCal where people have had strange experiences. All cases are true to the best of my knowledge.
I highly dislike false paranormal stories for the sake of clout or money. I truly believe the public must be informed of the thousands of strange occurrences, many of which have roots in Native American lore, and have occurred much more frequently and closer to home than we’d like to believe.
Big Rock Campground: Hotbed For Big Foot Sightings
Big Rock Campground is located just above the headwaters of the San Gabriel River, but it’s no ordinary campground. There have been multiple claims of a giant Big Foot-like creature and UFOs near the area, but here’s the crazy thing.
The area near the campground once had a rock with petroglyphs (Native American symbols) which were aligned to the winter solstice. According to many ancient legends, the winter solstice is a significant day in the spiritual world.
I swear the following side story is true. I have a friend who heard something slam his wall and turn on the bathroom faucet around 5 am on the winter solstice of 2022 before we met up to go to Big Bear. He was never able to explain what made the sound, but I digress.
Sadly, the Forest Reserve redirected a creek that flowed over the rock and destroyed much of the petroglyphs, but you can see a picture here by scrolling through the website’s image carousel.
It gets crazier. Apparently, the area was also an ancient Native American burial ground. This is not the only ancient burial ground that is known for its paranormal activity in our mountains, as you’ll read about in a bit.
Big Foot has actually been spotted many times in the San Gabriels. You can read about multiple sightings here in the Los Angeles Almanac. Then check out the video below.
Woman & Her Friends Spot Sasquatch In The San Gabriels
Trabuco Canyon: Burial Ground & Strange Lights
Like Big Rock Campground, Trabuco Canyon in the Santa Ana Mts is home to an ancient burial ground. Unfortunately, the burial ground was destroyed and a road was built over it.
However, many people have reported UFOs and strange lights in the area. I’ve been to Trabuco Canyon three times during the day, but have yet to experience anything supernatural.
Here are ALL the reported strange lights and their stories: Trabuco Canyon Paranormal Activity.
Woman Records UFO In San Gabriel Mountains
I’ve seen these types of UFOs both in the city and the mountains, and I actually managed to get it on video! You’ll be able to see my video in the Big Bear section below within a few days.
Anyways, this lady recorded a UFO hovering over the San Gabriels for roughly 10 minutes. It had been flying extremely fast, and came to a complete stop unlike any human aircraft, before flying away in a southwardly direction. I don’t know what they are but they’re out there, especially in our mountains.
Graveyard Canyon: East Fork Ancient Burial Ground
Graveyard Canyon in the East Fork of The San Gabriel Canyon was also an ancient burial site. The canyon is rarely hiked, but some people who have ventured into it claim to have experienced an eerie presence.
Gates Of Hell In Turnbull Canyon
The gates of hell in Turnbull Canyon are rumored to be ruins of a sanatorium that was shut down due to malpractice.
Although the area is now private property, many claim to have seen apparitions of children who were taken from orphanages and sacrificed by satanic cults long ago.
To make matters worse, a plane once crashed at Turnbull and killed 29 people.
But once again, it gets crazier. After doing more research I found out that the Gabrielino Tribe used to call Turnbull Canyon “Hutuknga” which means “The Place Of The Devil.”
They believed that the spirits of their ancestors who were killed by the first Spanish settlers for refusing to convert to catholicism wandered there.
Galster Park: My Friend Saw Apparitions Of Children
Let me tell you a crazy story that a friend of mine shared with me many years ago. This is NOT a fictional story, as my goal is to build a large archive of all the mysterious places in California, which I want to be trustworthy. It goes like this.
At the time, him and the girl he was dating went to Galster Park for a walk. Since it was winter time, the sun set early, but he didn’t think anything of it because he didn’t have a clue about the park’s atrocious past.
When they got back to the car, he jumped inside, started the engine, turned on the headlights, and this is where it gets crazy. As soon as the lights turned on he saw multiple children standing in front of the car.
He remembers them so clearly that he recalls them wearing polo shirts.
They began walking toward his car, but he wasted no time putting it in reverse and flooring it out of there. The girl he was dating was non-stop screaming, and he said he was so terrified, that he ran every red light until he got to the freeway.
He later found out that a crazy psychopath had killed multiple children at the park many years ago.
This is a close friend of mine who I’ve known since we were in high school. He’s not a liar, and every time I try to convince him to go with me to the park, he adamantly refuses, saying he’s never going back there ever again.
Also, a man was found hanging in the park back in 2013, which only adds to the park’s dark history.
Tahquitz Peak: Native Americans Knew About Big Foot
This next one blew my mind. Apparently, the Gabrielino Tribe word “Towis or Takwis,” means giant hairy manlike beast, which we now use for Tahquitz Peak.
They claimed the beast lived in multiple locations including San Jacinto, a large part of the Santa Ana River between Chino and Riverside, and a cave on Lily Peak near Palm Springs.
The Takwis were often associated with bright flashes of light or hovering balls of light, and were accompanied by a putrid stench, both of which are common in modern day sightings.
Crestline: Satan’s Castle & Big Foot Sighting
Story Of The Castle
Ted Gunderson, the former head of the FBI in LA, blew the whistle on a HUGE discovery. He found out that very powerful and demented people were using tunnels underneath Manhattan Elementary School to kidnap children, transport them to a helicopter, and fly them to an actual castle in the mountain town of Crestline.
There are other stories around the castle, but I heard this one directly from Ted’s mouth via a Youtube video. Unfortunately, all his videos seem to have been removed from Youtube (shocking I know), but a quick search on Rumble.com for the query “Former FBI Chief Ted Gunderson Exposes Horror,” will show a 1 hour and 13 minute video where he exposes the evils conducted by many satanic cults, including the one in this story.
Once in the castle, the children were abused and killed, more than likely for satanic rituals. Hence, why the locals dubbed the place, Satan’s Castle.
The castle mysteriously burned down twice. Some say the locals ignited the fire, while others claim the owners of the property burned it down to destroy all evidence, but no one truly knows.
Only some ruins remain, but they cannot be visited because it’s private property. Here’s a video of the peeps at Barrier Beyond exploring the castle.
A woman by the name of Claudia Ackley claimed to have spotted THREE Big Foot in Crestline, CA while out on a stroll with her daughter who managed to get a blurry recording of the beast.
She described Big Foot as weighing about 800 pounds, very tall, with reddish brown hair, and a broad body. She made eye contact with one which reassured what she was looking at, and incited fear in her, prompting her to turn around and flee.
Her claim is more valid when you regard the fact that she sued the state of California for not classifying Big Foot as an official species.
Then, things take a turn for the worse.
Sadly, Claudia was mysteriously found dead in her home in Tennessee. She was sitting in a chair inside her house when her body was found. Cardiac arrest was the explanation given by her partner, Ed Brown.
Devil’s Gate Dam, Missing Child, & JPL’s Satanic Beginnings
I’m about to tell you something that probably no one else has ever told you. I highly suspect the dam, missing child, and JPL’s beginnings may all be connected, which would make sense as they’re all located in or very near the Hahamongna Watershed Park in Pasadena.
Devil’s Gate Dam
Before I knew anything about a missing child or JPL, my mountain biking friends had told me the Devil’s Gate Dam was haunted. After looking into it, I found many stories and legends around the dam including portals and occult rituals. The latter I can confirm from an eye witness that I met at Mt Lowe Peak. His testimony goes like this.
While waiting for the sunset, I sparked up a conversation with another young man who was an avid local hiker. He told me that many years ago he was hiking El Prieto trail which is located on the east side of JPL late at night when a man who seemed to be homeless but stable, told him to turn back, as the people in robes had spotted him. He wasted no time, and headed back immediately.
A few years later I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who was employed at JPL when he mentioned the JPL founder was an occultist. Therefore, the founder would plan certain events on very specific dates, like the testing of their first rockets on Halloween. Don’t believe me? They admit it themselves on their JPL website.
Then I bought David Paulides’ book, Missing 411, which details many mysterious disappearances in the outdoors, a few years later and learned about the story of Thomas Eldon Bowman, an 8 year old little boy who went missing in 1957 while on a hike near the Devil’s Gate Dam with his dad. What makes Tommy’s story strange is the fact that he told his dad he was going to run ahead to the parking lot, but when his dad arrived only a few minutes later, Tommy was no where to be found.
SAR and volunteers searched the area for weeks, but Tommy had sadly disappeared, never to be seen again.
Point of the story is, after learning about so many strange cases revolving that area at different times in my life, I have no doubt there is something extremely paranormal and evil going on there.
Check out this video by my awesome friends Oddity Odysseys if you’d like to learn more.
Black Star Canyon: Massacre, Big Foot, & Dwarfs
Black Star Canyon makes the Devil’s Gate Dam look like a walk through the park.
Probably the most notorious story about Black Star Canyon, previously known as Canon De Los Indios or The Canyon Of The Indians in English, is the massacre of multiple Native Americans.
However, hikers and hunters have also reported strange voices, growls, chanting, drums, crying, and evidence of occultic rituals.
Death In The Canyon
Sadly, this is not a fictional story. It goes like this. In 1831, when California was still part of Mexico, the Californios (Mexican ranchers who lived in California and wished to be an independent country) hired American frontiersman William Wolfskill to hunt down a group Shoshone Native Americans for stealing their livestock (a common occurrence at that time).
William found the thieves eating horse meat around a campfire in Black Star Canyon. This is where the story may deviate from the truth. Supposedly, the Shoshone men were also eating human flesh, which is why William ordered their massacre and mutilated the bodies before leaving the canyon.
The massacre is not the only case of murder. In 1899, James was shot to death by owner of Rancho Escondido (Hidden Ranch) Henry Hungerford over monetary issues.
Additionally, multiple people died in the canyon due to a mudslide that was triggered by the heavy rains of 1969.
The second most popular Black Star Canyon story involves a bus wreck (the bus has been removed from the canyon) that was believed to be the site where a bus driver lost control of the bus, resulting in the death of multipe children.
A man by the name of Isaac Arjonilla claims to have spotted Big Foot on four different occasions back in 1995. He also recalls seeing a man dressed like a miner, a ghostly apparition, which is most likely connected to the Black Star Mine.
La Llorona (The Weeping Woman)
When the Spanish possessed the land, rumors of a weeping woman who dwelled in the canyon quickly spread and remained alive until this day. I’ve also heard stories of the weeping woman being heard in Trabuco Canyon, which makes sense as both Trabuco and Black Star are located in the Santa Ana Mts.
She is sometimes described as wearing all white, and quickly disappearing before being fully spotted.
Black Star Dwarfs
Yup, Black Star Canyon is home to small entities which measure roughly two feet tall, walk with a waddle, and a dark complexion. Sightings were first reported in 1995, and have continued since then.