From abandoned mines to burned-out mansions to strange scenery to haunting histories, these are ten great Halloween hikes that will help you burn off Trick or Treat calories–and maybe give you a good chill or two!
This popular hike in the Santa Monica Mountains visits the eerie ruins of the Tropical Terrace mansion, which burned in a wildfire in 1982. The hike also visits the ruins of the Keller House. If you’re not at least a little creeped out by all this, there might be something wrong with you.
If you want more of a challenge, check out this 7-mile trip, which not only visits the Tropical Terrace, but more ruins farther up in the canyon. Then, of course, there are the weird, Darth Vader-looking TRW buildings.
This trail seems to start off innocently enough, descending a fire road to the Happy Hollow Campground, but as you get deeper into the canyon, it starts to feel uncomfortably like one of those movies where a bunch of college kids decide to head out into the middle of nowhere for spring break. Isolated and dark, the Grotto is a hike that you definitely want to finish before sunset.
Make no mistake: this trail may begin in a shopping center, and never gets far away from the tract homes of Foothill Ranch, but with thick oaks and bizarre rock formations, this hike has plenty to offer those with a taste for the bizarre. Oh, did I mention that the last fatal mountain lion attack in California occurred at Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park?
This is another hike that proves that south Orange County isn’t just perfect homes and manicured lawns. The cave gets its name from the bandits who used it as a hideout to rob stage coaches traveling from San Diego to L.A.
While the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve is known as a place of beauty or serenity, there’s something undeniably sinister about Stevenson Canyon. Tucked in the northwest corner of the reserve, the dark canyon is filled with menacing-looking oak trees (and mountain bikers who may or may not look where they’re going).
This mountain’s ominous name comes from two Cahuilla lovers who jumped from near the top when tribal elders forbade them to date each other. It is right across from Tahquitz Peak, named for the Indian shaman who was banished from the tribe for abusing his powers. If those two pieces of folklore don’t creep you out a little, driving down the hill at night–either north on highway 243 or west on 74–can be a somewhat nerve-wracking experience. Both roads bend and curve sharply, and neither leaves much margin for error.
No, it’s not Disneyland, and it’s not a movie set: the Big Horn Mine was actually used at one point. Now it sits abandoned, high on the slope of Mt. Baden-Powell.
This bridge was built in 1936 and has stood by itself since 1938, when a food washed away the road to it. It is an icon of Los Angeles hiking as well as a popular spot for bungee jumpers. That being said, bungee jumping on Halloween does seem to be an exercise in fate-tempting!
Well, there you have ten great hikes to do this Halloween. Of course, getting some exercise out in nature is a great way to spend any day of the year, and despite their creepy elements, they have a lot of beauty to offer.