Courtesy of Danielle Emeka

Chilling Chases

Some of Oregon’s most haunting hiking spots

There’s no doubt about it—the nature surrounding the somewhat “big city” atmosphere of Portland is gorgeous. With all the trees, rivers, waterfalls and coastline, Oregon offers much opportunity to engage in activities outside of manmade walls.

Yet, there’s something a little off about a great deal of these outside lands. You may not be able to put your finger on it—and you’re not the only one—but many of these spots come with some troubling history. Others just look like they do.

Outside of the haunted venues, movie theaters and tunnel systems in town, there are quite a few spots enveloped with beauty and eerie feels whether something haunting actually happened there or not.


Cape Disappointment, Ilwaco, Washington

Despite its name, there’s actually nothing really disappointing about this spot at all. Nestled along the southern tip of Washington, Cape Disappointment actually has quite a few creepy looking trails, juxtaposed by expansively exquisite views of tree-packed forests and endless miles of ocean. The winding drive along Robert Gray Drive is in itself a bit chilling, but once you hit the hike up to the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse and the driftwood-riddled secret beach of Dead Man’s Cove, it gets even more creepy. Beards Hollow is also a supernatural-seeming walk lined with old growth and tons of snakes, and if you find the right opening, it will spit you right out another part of the coast.

Crescent Beach, Ecola State Park

Hard to find on a GPS, Crescent Beach can kind of be found depending on where on the Crescent Beach Trail you’re on. It’s in the midst of Ecola State Park with views of the Bird Rocks near Chapman Point, which swirl with light sandy windstorms depending on the season. It’s the perfect spot to set some intentions—assuming the items you’re using won’t blow away—but it’s also the ideal spot to cave hunt and come to a more peaceful state of mind.

Laurel Hill, Mt. Hood National Forest

During covered wagon-traveling times, Barlow Road was one of the roughest spots along the Oregon Trail. Its steep slope made it hard for travelers with rickety wagons to make it down, resulting in many lives lost. The weight of those deaths can definitely be felt throughout Laurel Hill, now known as Rhododendron Village. The Douglas Firs, hemlock and salal add to its aesthetic value, but knowledge of all the lives lost during the rocky descent makes that prettiness feel different.

Oaks Bottom Nature Trailhead, Portland

Even though Oaks Bottom serves as a nature preserve, the spine-tingling feelings you get—especially at night—detract from the cuteness of keeping animals in their natural habitat. Oaks Amusement Park is in view at certain parts of it which when empty, is already creepy enough, but the desolate walk along the trail nearly always makes you feel like you’re being followed.

Lithia Park, Ashland

Right in the middle of Ashland lies Lithia Park, the town’s largest and most frequented park. Along the numerous trails, it has duck ponds, a Japanese Garden, a rose garden and even an ice rink in winter, but rumor has it there’s also a paranormal presence to add to its attractions. Many have reported seeing the spirit of a little girl who turns into a flickering blue light that disappears over one of the ponds. Others have claimed to be at one point in the park at night, yet not being able to find that same location in the daylight.

Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge

Multnomah Falls draws so much foot traffic daily, but not everyone may be able to see what lingers in between the trees. Along the trails and luscious falls, some have claimed to see the ghost of a Native American woman who supposedly jumped off the Upper Falls in order to save her village from contracting her sickness. Allegedly, her face appears within the splashes of the falls’ white waters.

Cervanté Pope is a music and culture journalist whose work has been included in various publications around Portland including Willamette Week, the Portland Mercury and the Portland Observer, as well as a couple of creative nonfiction anthologies. When she's not tackling a giant mountain of deadlines she can be found headbanging at a metal show, advocating for animal rights or trying to scheme a way to get on Family Feud.