Instead of sitting around the campfire telling ghost stories, why not go spend the night in a "haunted" campground and possibly see a ghost! The haunted campgrounds featured here are located mostly in the West and may be the best places to experience some paranormal activity if you dare campout this Halloween!
Malakoff Diggins campground offers a pretty spooky basecamp to seek out ghosts that haunt many of the historic buildings throughout the park. Some campers have seen and photographed spectral figures in the (ghost) town of North Boomfield.
Photo of a ghost in a window of the Skidmore house (Photo by Sonny Lopez)
Be sure to also check out the old school house (1872), which is located right next to the century old town cemetery. Locals claim that the schoolhouse is the most haunted place in Malakoff Diggins. Apparently a schoolmaster killed a child in front of the class and hung the body in the upstairs rafters. The schoolmaster was later hung in North Bloomfield. If you get the chance to go inside the schoolhouse, take your digital recorder and stroll on over to the ladder leading up to the rafters. You'll be sure to get a chill, if not a few EVPs.
Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park is home to California's largest hydraulic gold mine. Visitors can see the environmental destruction caused by carving huge cliffs with water. There are many historic buildings/sites to visit at this 3,000 acre forested park. The campground has 30 single-family campsites and most are set among large pines trees. Learn more about Malakoff Diggins and to see all the campsite photos.
Holcomb Valley was once the site of a thriving mining town back in the 1800s with Belleville (pop. 1,500) becoming the largest town in San Bernardino County. Belleville was as rough as any mining town in the day and included its fair share of saloons, brothels, drifters, robbers and scoundrels. Some accounts say there was at least a killing and hanging every week. You can still see some ruins of the town's buildings, as well as a few graves and many of the original diggings throughout Holcomb Valley. The hanging tree still stands today and is located a short walk from Holcomb Valley campground. It is close to this tree, and throughout the dark woods of the campground, that strange ghostly orbs have been seen. Campers have even heard murmurs, whispers and occasional other-wordily screams during the night.
Holcomb Valley Campground has 19 single-family campsites located at an elevation for 7,400 feet about 5 miles north of Big Bear Lake. Learn more about Holcomb Valley, see photos of each campsite, and to learn more about the campground.
Beaver Creek campground sits on a bluff overlooking Quake Lake in West Yellowstone, Montana. The lake was formed by a huge landslide that temporarily plugged the Madison River. The landside was triggered by a 7.5 earthquake that occurred on August 17, 1959. Millions of tons of boulders and gravel slid down from the side of a mountain and into a campground killing 28 campers in the middle of the night. What remains of the campground, including the trailers and vehicles, is now under the waters of Quake Lake. If you dare to venture down to the shore during a moonless night you may see glowing orbs hovering over the water and shoreline where the old campground was located.
Ghost Village is also close to Beaver Creek campground and you can take a short walk to some of the cabins that were destroyed during the quake and rising water. Ghost Village is a creepy, beautiful place and definitely worth visiting during a Halloween campout at Beaver Creek. The area is spectacular, the fly-fishing is world-class and there's an abundance of wildlife to see, including the occasional Grizzly bear.
Beaver Creek campground has 64 single-family campsites set among a forest of large pine, Aspen and Douglas fir trees. Learn more about Beaver Creek and see all of the campsite photos.
In 1922 it was reported that the last of the remaining California Grizzly Bears was hunted and killed in Tulare County. That would have been news to Stephen Majors and his family because they were attacked and killed by what might have been a Grizzly in 1934.
In early 1933 Stephen was hired to help build the Crystal Lake Amphitheater and dance studio in the Angels National Forest just north of L.A. Later that year he moved his wife Heather, son Markus (10) and daughter Susan (12) to the area. His family was assigned a tent to live in away from the other men who did not have a family. The work was difficult and soon his entire family was pressed into helping with the project. On September 19th (1934) after a long hard day of work, Stephen and Heather put their children to bed and then decided to take a walk in the woods. Upon returning to camp, they found their tent torn to shreds and their screaming children inside. On top of the tent was a huge bear trying to get at the children. Stephen and Heather ran to their children to try and help, but the bear turned on them – ripping them to shreds and then finishing off the children. By the time the men at the work camp got to the tent, all they saw were disemboweled bodies of the family. The family was buried on the hillside below the dance studio and the bear was never found.
Since then, dozens of people have seen apparitions of two adults and two children around the ruins of the dance studio floor. Ghost hunting groups visit the site regularly – usually around Sep 19th and have captured paranormal evidence including photos, videos and digital recordings.
So if you find yourself camping up at Crystal Lake campground this Halloween (or any other night), be sure to take a stroll up to the ruins of the old dance floor. You won't see any Grizzly bears, but you just may see the ghosts of the Majors family.
Crystal Lake Recreation Area campground has 191 single-family campsites in the Angeles National Forest above Los Angeles. Click HERE to see campsite photos and learn more about the campground.
Silver Strand State Beach is located on a beautiful beach about 2 miles south of Coronado. The campground is located right on the sand and offers parking lot style camping for self-contained RVs and/or trailers.
A few miles to the north of Silver Strand campground is the famous Hotel Del Coronado. It is here that you may just catch a glimpse of a certain ghost that is said to roam the shoreline in front of the hotel. The ghost is that of Kate Morgan who checked in to the hotel (in 1892), but never checked out. It seems Kate was distraught at being shunned by a lover who never showed up at the Hotel Del Coronado. After waiting for five days, she killed herself with a handgun she purchased in San Diego. Although Kate's ghostly activities have mostly been experienced in and around her 3rd floor guestroom, she has also been spotted in the hallways and along the seashore.
Closer to camp – just off Imperial Beach – you might get lucky one low tide to spot the conning tower and sunken remains of the USS S-37 submarine. This submarine saw plenty of action during WWII and was responsible for sinking the Japanese destroyer Natsushio, among other vessels. Of course the S-37 was closely tied to the deaths of many Japanese sailors. Some say that these sailors still haunt the submarine. There have been accounts of seeing strange luminescence shapes in the waves as they wash over the wreckage during the night at low tide. Shapes that look like bodies trying to either get in or out of the submarine. It's probably not a good place for a night swim.
Learn more about Silver Strand State Beach and check out some campsite photos.
Humboldt Redwoods State Park / Northern California
We've all heard stories of Sasquatch (aka Bigfoot) roaming the woods of Northern California and Humboldt Redwoods State Park, but did you also know that the spirits of Native Americans also haunt the forest. The Sinkyone people used to live here, but their spirits remain to protect the sacred trees. Campers have actually seen full-body aspirations standing in the dark forest staring back at them for a few seconds before disappearing into the mist of the forest.
If you're not fortunate enough to spot a Bigfoot or Native American spirit on your Halloween camping trip to Humboldt Redwoods State Park, chances are pretty good you will see one of the 6 ghost trees that "haunt" the forest. It is a proven fact that these ghost trees exist and have been photographed. They are actually rare albino white redwood trees, which average about 30 feet high. The albino redwoods do not have pigmentation so their needles are white – giving the appearance that they've been flocked with snow or frost. The ghost trees are pretty easy to find if you know where to look.
Humboldt Redwoods State Park is a 53,000 acre-park located along the Eel and has some of the best ancient redwood groves on the planet. There are 3 primary campgrounds including: Albee Creek, Burlington and Hidden Springs. Albee Creek has 41 campsites scattered among old-growth redwoods trees. Burlington is located next to the Visitor Center on the Avenue of the Giants and has 57 campsites. Hidden Springs is the largest campground with 154 campsites and is located right on the Avenue of the Giants.
Regards, Park Ranger