Atlanta may have the Doll’s Head Trail, but the trails that are part of the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition offer their fair share of frightful fun, too. Here are a handful of seasonally appropriate trail locales for you to consider visiting this Halloween:
Ghost Town Trail
Hands down, the Ghost Town Trail has the best trail name for the season. The trail itself isn’t scary at all, but the name fits the bill. The 36-mile trail is named in recognition of the abandoned mining towns along the way. Venture Outdoors is offering a sold-out ride, “Bike A Boo,” this weekend. It’s too late to jump on to the ride this year, but keep an eye out for similar programs next fall (or get a group of your own to costume up and pedal the trail sometime this weekend). Use our Ghost Town and Hoodlebug Trail Trip for ideas on how to design your ride.
Dead Man’s Hollow
Another spot with a great name and a rich history is Dead Man’s Hollow. The 450-acre conservation area adjacent to the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) is subject to legends as to how it got its name. Was it a bank robbery gone awry or a tragic workplace accident? (The Ruins area, easily reached from the GAP, is where the Union Sewer Pipe Co. was once located.) Walk in to The Ruins if you dare, although you are more likely to find terra cotta pipe remnants than any ghosts or ghouls. Even so, the Allegheny Land Trust is hosting Paranormal Investigation Hikes this fall. Both dates are sold out, so mark your calendar for potential repeats this time next year.
West Virginia Penitentiary
Speaking of paranormal activity, the West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville is believed to be an active site. While not on a trail, a trip to the penitentiary can be combined with a trail ride. Nearby paths include the Glen Dale to Moundsville, Ohio River, Brooke Pioneer, and Wheeling Creek trails. As for the Penitentiary, the massive Gothic facility was open 119 years until its 1995 closing. The present day ownership runs tours year-round including seasonal programs into November. Imagine everything from a flashlight tour to Zombie Paintball out in the yard. Our Wheeling and Moundsville Trail Trip can help you to navigate the trails and find other things to do in the area.
Rail Tunnels (Turned Trail Tunnels)
Passing through tunnels can be frightful, right? That’s probably why historians and trail managers along the Harrison South Rail-Trail in Clarksburg recently teamed up to host a “Spooky Tales on the Trail” event earlier this month. Their pay-what-you-please program paired the sharing of local folklore with a trail walk that included an old rail tunnel. The event drew more than 600 people! Looking to find some rail tunnels on your own? Check out the North Bend Rail Trail in West Virginia. The 72-mile trail has 10 tunnels along the route, more than exists on any other trail in the region. To locate other tunnels throughout the region, use our Epic Infrastructure Story Map as a guide. Note: not all rail trail tunnels are lighted. Plan to take a light or to walk your bikes through.
American Trails Costume Contest
What other Halloween trail experiences are out there? We’d love to know! And if you take part in any costumed rides or simply decide to don your own mask or cape or whatever, consider sending your pics in to American Trails. They’re running their annual American Trails Costume Contest through November 1. Photos of you, your kiddos, and/or your pets are all welcome!
Visit and Play Respectfully, Please
Halloween is a fun holiday and we hope that you can pair your quest for the spooky with your love for getting out onto trails. We ask you to leave no trace of your visit and stay off the trails after dark (most trails are closed at dusk). Have fun! Oh, and boo!