Spooky National Park Experiences this Halloween

National Parks are Boo-tiful and Haunting

Haunting views from Yosemite National Park.

Spooky season is right around the corner, so we put together a list of all the hauntings and ghost sightings at Yosemite and Olympic National Park. If you plan to spend time with us this spooky season, be sure to keep your camera ready for potential sightings and revel in the goosebumps.

Yosemite National Park Hauntings

While most people know Yosemite National Park for its natural beauty and the giant sequoias, those in the know, are aware that some say that it’s also haunted. From cemetery ghost sightings to the inspiration for The Shining, Yosemite National Park is home to more than just mother nature.

Yosemite Cemetery

Search for ghosts at the Yosemite Cemetery.

Before there were tourists, there were residents. Yosemite has been home to many throughout its long history. It’s also the final resting place for many of its former residents.

The Yosemite Cemetery was originally a burial ground for the local Miwok tribe. After Euro-American settlers moved in, they continued to bury their dead in the cemetery.

Famous decedents buried in the Yosemite Cemetery include Miwok native families, the first person to climb Half Dome, and the first permanent settler of Euro-American descent. You can take a self-guided tour of the cemetery any day of the year, but in the lead up to Halloween, your tour may take on a special spooky quality!

The Ahwahnee Hotel

Look familiar? These are the elevators at The Ahwahnee Hotel which struck inspiration for Stanley Kubrick’s horror film, The Shining.

Most visitors know The Ahwahnee Hotel for its comfortable guest rooms and convenient location to Yosemite National Park. But, the hotel has a darker claim to fame.

The interior decor of The Ahwahnee, a style known as Parkitecture, inspired the set designers of The Shining. While Stephen King’s famous book and the movie adaptation were inspired by a different hotel, the set designers took their inspiration from The Ahwahnee. If you plan to stay at the hotel, we do hope those red elevator doors won’t haunt your dreams.

Inspiring the set design of The Shining isn’t the Ahwahnee’s only spooky occurrence. The Ahwahnee is also said to be haunted. Staff members and guests have reported sightings of a female ghost floating up and down the halls.

Many also report hearing the back and forth creeks of a rocking chair in a fourth-floor suite. The problem: there’s no rocking chair in that room. The ghost of The Ahwahnee is thought to be former manager Mary Curry Tresidder who died in her top floor living quarters in 1970.

Grouse Lake Ghost

One of the oldest hauntings within Yosemite National Park is the Grouse Lake Ghost. The first report of paranormal activity at Grouse Lake dates back all the way to 1857, when Galen Clark, the park’s first ranger, reported a strange wailing sound at Grouse Lake.

When Clark asked a local tribe about the wailing sound, they warned him to stay away. The tribe reported that the lake was haunted by a young boy who had drowned there some years before. The boy wails and calls out to anyone who passes by close enough to help him.

Tenaya Canyon

Cloud Rest Trail is off of Tenaya lake and is not for the faint of heart.

While there are plenty of gentle, accessible day hikes spread throughout Yosemite, there are also hikes that shouldn’t be tackled but any but the most experienced outdoors-people. Tenaya Canyon in one of those such hikes. Tenaya Canyons is known as the Bermuda Triangle of Yosemite. It has been the scene of many stranded hikers in need of rescue and many unexplained disappearances.

The history of Tenaya Canyon dates back to the early 1850s. Around this time, white settlers decided to remove the local Ahwahneechee tribe from Yosemite. During the removal, Chief Tenaya cursed the canyon and stated he would haunt it forever.

To this day, many have disappeared and been injured while climbing in the canyon. Even John Muir had a story of an almost fatal fall within Tenaya Canyon.

Olympic National Park Hauntings

Lake Quinault Lodge

Olympic National Park has over 650 archaeological sites, perhaps lending to its spooky history.

Most visitors come to Olympic National Park to see its rainforest and enjoy the hiking, but there are also those who know, the park is also home to some otherworldly residents. Visitors in need of some spooky sightings are in luck, Olympic National Park is home to Beverly of Lake Quinault Lodge, the Lady of the Lake, and Goblin Gate

Lake Quinault Lodge’s Permanent Resident, Beverly

Lake Quinault Lodge or the setting of a ghost story?

In the early 1900’s, Lake Quinault Lodge had a housekeeper by the name of Beverly. On one unfortunate day, poor Beverly perished in the lodge’s attic after a fire broke out. Beverly is known to be a benevolent spirit and can be seen wandering the halls and opening windows.

Lady of the Lake

The chilly or chilling, rather, Lake Crescent.

Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park has a troubled history and has been the keeper of many secrets throughout the years. A traditional story tells the tale of two warring tribes.

To end the war, Mount Storm King, which is located to Lake Crescent south, threw a chunk of rock which created a dam and the undisturbed, crescent-shaped lake. Local geology confirms a landslide in this area around 8000 years ago. This separated Lake Crescent from nearby Lake Sutherland.

Lake Crescent has some interesting features. There’s an underground stream that flows between Lake Sutherland and Lake Crescent that has yet to be explored. Lake Crescent is also known for its crystal clear waters and lack of algae growth.

The most common ghost sighting at Lake Crescent is the Lady of the Lake, who’s thought to be the ghost of Hallie Latham Illingworth. In December 1937, Hallie disappeared. Her husband, Montgomery J. Illingworth told locals that she had run off with another man to Alaska.

Three years later, her body was found in Lake Crescent. Her body had been almost perfectly preserved by the lake’s unique properties, meaning the bruises on her neck where she was strangled by her husband were still visible.

Hallie isn’t the only one to be found in the waters of Lake Crescent. In 2002, a Chevy was pulled from the water, revealing the bodies of a couple who went missing in 1929.

The hike around Lake Crescent has views of the water the entire way and has beautiful turnoffs to see different waterfalls. If you’re hiking the trail, be sure to keep your eyes out for the Lady in the Lake.

Goblins Gate

Over the Elwha River and through the woods to Goblins Gate we go.

For a truly spooktacular hike, head to Goblins Gate along the Elwha River. Goblins Gate sits along a 90-degree bend in the Elwha River, just a mile from the Elwha River Trailhead. While this spectacular hike has pleasing river views, it’s also the perfect way to catch a glimpse of Goblin’s Gate.

Goblins Gate was named by explorer Charles A. Barnes and his crew during the Seattle Press Expedition which explored the area in 1889 and 1890. The name was inspired by the unique rock formations along the base of the canyon. The rocks look like goblin faces peeking up out of the water along the river. The narrow gorge, interesting rock formations, and 90-degree bend in the river make this a worthwhile stop, even if you don’t see the faces in the rocks.

Whether you choose to spend spooky season at home or traveling into the forest, we hope these stories send a shiver up your spine and spark your imagination on just what’s possible.

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