Fall is a great time to get outside and have some fun on spooky Maryland hikes. Urban legends that range from young girls with red eyes haunting a staircase, to disease-ravaged soldiers wandering a Civil War site, Maryland has plenty of history from which to draw stories. Forests, swamps and deserted towns provide imaginative places for spirits to live in.
Snow Hill, MD
There are enough legends and folklore about the Pocomoke Forest to fill an entire book. Hangings, UFOs and a man with a hook instead of a hand are just a few of the rumors. Hiking paths around Furnace Town, the site of the old Nassawango Iron Furnace, seem to be where most of these stories take place, so park your car and begin your hike from the Furnace Town parking lot and take the red, yellow or orange trails from there.
The forest consists of over 18,000 acres of pine and hardwood forest and bald-cypress swamp.
Take note that the trails are closed at night although several times a month there are guided tours through the woods.
Pocomoke Forest info: https://dnr.maryland.gov/forests/pages/publiclands/eastern_pocomokeforest.aspx
Trail map surrounding Furnace Town:
Urban legends and schedule for nighttime hikes:
Paw Paw Tunnel
Located at mile 155.2 on the C & O Canal, on the edge of the Green Ridge State Forest, in Oldtown, MD.
It took 14 years and 6 million bricks to build the Paw Paw tunnel along the C & O Canal. Although construction of the tunnel was an engineering marvel it almost bankrupted the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company. There was fighting among the workers of different ethnicities and many after-hours bar room brawls. The burning down of a lockhouse resulted in the death of the lockkeeper who is now rumored to walk the tunnel. Sometimes boatmen would light fires in the tunnel to “smoke” out competing boats that would refuse to give right of way.
Bring your flashlight to use as you walk through the tunnel, not only is it very dark, but if you look closely you can see the weep holes, brass plates and rope burns.
There is a two mile trail over the ridge that the tunnel is built underneath, giving spectacular views of the area.
Closed at night.
C & O Canal information:
Alberton Road Trail – Daniels
2090 Daniels Road, Ellicott City
Daniels is the ruin of what was once a mill town complete with a school and two churches. It is located in the Patapsco Valley State Park. The trail follows the old road that led to the town of Daniels which has been completely abandoned since the 1960s.
A fire road, a little more than a mile along the trail, leads away from the river and uphill to the St. Stanislaus Kostka Roman Catholic Church. It’s a stone gothic church, with graveyard in the back, that burned and was abandoned in 1926.
This is an out and back trail. If you just go to the church and back it is about 3.5 miles. Round trip to the end of the trail and back is just over 5 miles. The trail is on the old road, so is mostly flat and easy to walk.
Info about the Daniels area of Patapsco Valley State Park
The trailhead is off of Dogwood Road near the intersection with Hollifield Road
Map to trailhead: https://goo.gl/maps/fgwiqLNmnpaxPmrq9
Point Lookout State Park
11175 Point Lookout Rd, Scotland, MD
Located on a peninsula with the Potomac River on one side and the Chesapeake Bay on the other, Point Lookout offers a 3.6 mile walking loop on the edge of the water. The views are beautiful, the creepy stories and history of the peninsula will have you looking over your shoulder as you walk the trail.
A Civil War Union hospital and prisoner of war camp was located on Point Lookout. The hospital was built to house 10,000 soldiers and at times had over 50,000. Nearly 4,000 soldiers died there during the Civil War. Some say the spirits of soldiers still walk the peninsula.
But spirits from the hospital have nothing on the ones said to inhabit the Lighthouse built in 1830. Unusual sounds, smells and sights have been reported in the Lighthouse, including unexplained visions in photographs.
The main trail is mostly flat and in open terrain without much shade. Camping is available.
Point Lookout State Park information:
- State parks are open from dawn to dusk. Obey those times.
- Some destinations have limited parking, make sure you park in designated spaces.
- The AllTrails app can come in very handy when venturing onto trails that aren’t well marked.
By Donna Jefferson