PEOPLE | PETS | COMMUNITY

Four Haunted Hikes in Oregon You Can Take With Your Dog – If You Dare!

Oregon State is flush with verdant forests, sandy beaches, and thousands of miles of hiking trails that are suitable for people and their pups! Oregon is perfect for having an outdoor adventure with your dog – even (and perhaps for some, particularly!) when it’s “spooky.” Autumn is heralded in with earlier evenings, crisp air and leaves, and eerie experiences. October is a time of goblins and ghouls, tricks and treats, and haunts and hunts for the spookiest things to do. Can you handle the most haunted hikes to take with your hound? From Tillamook Head to Scaponia Park and from Multnomah Falls to the Witch’s Castle, these are the spookiest places to hit the trail – if you dare!

Tillamook Head, Oregon Coast
6.3 miles, moderate difficulty level
Dogs must be kept on leash

Located on Oregon’s scenic coast, Tillamook Head is a lush salal, Sitka spruce, hemlock, and fern forest that’s a delight to hike during warm weather – but it turns spookily spectacular during the autumn months. The nearby now-decommissioned Tillamook Lighthouse, known as “Terrible Tilly,” has a sinister reputation as a “killer” lighthouse, beginning in 1879. During that year, mason John Trewavas was swept into the sea when he was trying to survey a suitable basalt island for the lighthouse’s construction. And during the lighthouse’s construction, 16 sailors perished in the sea only three weeks before the lighthouse opened. After Tilly was decommissioned, she continued with her macabre tradition and became a columbarium, or a storage facility for cremated human remains. Explore the boardwalk and abandoned bunkers and even venture toward the beaches. Will the murmuring wind carry the haunting voices of the lives that were lost near Terrible Tilly?

Scaponia Park, Vernonia Lake Loop Hike, Vernonia, Oregon
2.9 miles, easy difficulty level
Dogs must be kept on leash

The apparitions of a horse thief and his dog reportedly haunt Scaponia Park. This ghostly duo has reportedly spooked visitors since the late 1800s. According to local legend, the man was hanged and his dog was shot by an angry mob and then their bodies were buried on the riverbank within the boundaries of the current park. The Vernonia Lake Loop Hike is flanked by the Nehalem River – the same tributary that marks this preternatural pair’s final resting place. Will you see the specter of this duo along the river, emerging from a thicket, or peering from behind an oak tree?

Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge
2.4 miles round-trip, moderate difficulty level
Dogs must be kept on leash

Even further inland from Scaponia Park is Multnomah Falls, the 47th tallest waterfall in the U.S. and highest waterfall in Oregon State. The trail begins at the historic Multnomah Falls Lodge, which was built in 1925, then continues on to Benson Bridge, which was built in 1914. Eleven switchbacks follow, culminating in the Multnomah Falls Viewpoint. It is at this highest point of the hike where a Native American woman reportedly took her own life many years ago. Local legend states that this woman jumped to her death to protect her village from contracting a plague. Some visitors to the falls have reported feeling her presence or seeing her face in the falls during the colder months.

Witch’s Castle, Lower Macleay Trail, Forest Park, Portland
2 miles, easy difficulty level
Dogs must be kept on leash

This lush rainforest trail is a perfect easy hike for people and pups alike. Stone House, locally known as the “Witch’s Castle,” is a building whose vegetation-adorned ruins sit less than one mile along the Lower Macleay Trail along Balch Creek. While the structure was built in the 1950s, it has an eerie aura and hearkens back to a time one hundred years before – a time of love, tragedy, and murder. In the 1800s, a man named Danford Balch purchased the land that is now Forest Park and hired a man named Mortimer Stump to help him develop the property. Stump lived in the Balch Family home and fell in love with Balch’s daughter, Anna. Stump wanted to marry Anna, but her father refused, stating that he’d murder Stump if the young couple married. Anna and Mortimer eloped in November 1858 and true to his word, Danford Balch shot Stump in the head a few weeks later, but blamed this on his wife, Mary Jane Balch. He claimed that she had “bewitched” him. Balch was executed for Stump’s murder in 1859 and Mary Jane Balch continued to live on the property. Reportedly, paranormal activity takes place on the property to this day and is attributed to the ghosts of Mortimer, Danford, Anna, and Mary Jane.