20 Creepy Stories about the Appalachian Mountain


*Originally written by Kennedy on October 2022 and Updated by Vanessa R on August 2023 and Updated by Diana K in May 2024

The Appalachian Mountain Trail is one of the most famous hiking paths in the United States which is also the largest hiking-only trail in the world. It spans fourteen states and at least 2,200 miles from Maine to Georgia and through several interesting areas to hike in the United States. The Appalachian Mountain Trail has a great history and somehow has helped to preserve the culture and history of the region that it passes through over the years since it was commissioned.

However, there have been several scary stories and urban legends based around the Appalachian Mountain Trail with some being real and others just some stories. Most parts of the trail are desolate, and remote, cutting through mountains and thick forests which have brought about some chilly encounters for the hikers.

Some of the scary stories heard from hikers come when individuals have covered long distances without coming into contact with any humans making the mind think of other things. Other incidents might be real as investigations showed that there might be some possibility of encountering creepy things while on the trail.

Below are the 14 Creepy Stories about the Appalachian Mountain:

1. Man Pursued by the Scorched Man

Hiking alone along the Appalachian Mountain Trail might bring up some inner fear and imagination of being followed or pursued by some unseen human or animal. In 2011, a certain man decided to take a week off from work and go hiking alone along the Appalachian Trail.

At the beginning of the hike, everything was going well until he got a frightening experience that he will never forget. As he had gone deeper into the trail and day turned to night, he camped over at his tent. One night, the man heard some noises approaching his tent but he never got bothered by them nor did he go out to check out where the noise was coming from.

The following day, he continued with his hiking and made camp where he sat around his fire. Suddenly, he was left shocked when he saw a man standing near his firewood with his (the other man’s) hands and body badly burned and a smoking face. This experience shocked him and left him numb but the burned figure kept staring at him before walking away.

The scared man decided to pack his belongings and leave the area quickly only to come across a recently burned-down house with a sheriff around it. This sheriff narrated to the man that four days before, the entire family burned alive in the house.

2. The Cursed Village

Another creepy story about the Appalachian Mountain Trail is about a town/village known as Dudley town. The Appalachian Mountain Trail passes through several locations with some of these places being inhabited while others are deserted.

Dudley town has a very weird nickname, the village of the damned which is believed to have been cursed a long time ago. The Village has a very horrifying history which has kept off several hikers who pass through it. Dudley town was founded by the descendants of Edmund Dudley, a man who was beheaded by Henry VIII for treason and was said to have cursed the land and had a cursed family.

This town, Dudley town was built in the 18th century and was abandoned by the inhabitants in the 19th century with visible ruins being left behind. The real story about the reason for the inhabitants abandoning the town is not clear but there are several stories around this. Some people believe that the town was abandoned because the residents who stayed there soon went insane or committed suicide after claiming they were possessed by demons. In the present day, people have reported seeing strange lights and orbs surrounding this damned village.

3. A Young Girl Spots A Ghost While Camping on the Trail

Not many people believe in ghosts but some believe that they do exist with some haunting those who messed up with them and others being helpful. A certain young girl was hiking with her parents along the Appalachian Mountain Trail when she had her first experience of sighting a ghost.

During the hike, they had to make camp for the night. As her father was fast asleep, she was frightened by something that could not give her any sleep. The following morning after the creepy night, the girl took her mother for a walk before they continued hiking.

As they were walking around, her mother suddenly stopped and stared blankly into the distance. The young girl followed her mother’s gaze and saw a hazy apparition which stood against a tree a few metres from where they were. It was a man who was calm but sad and just faded away leaving the tense mother and child at their spot.

4. Civil War Soldiers Ghosts Haunting Maryland

Several wars were fought in the past on various fronts. In 1862, there were three major Civil War battles which were fought over different fronts on what is now known as the Maryland section that is along the Appalachian Mountain Trail.

Several lives especially those of soldiers were lost in the bloodshed and endless carnage. The death count of these soldiers seemed to be so high that some people believe that their spirits remain. Hikers of the Appalachian Mountain Trail who go through the passes have reported several creepy stories.

Some of them have reported seeing ghost soldiers, odd campfires and the sounds of cannons blasting in the distance. Next to the pass where the bloodshed was overwhelming, there is the farm of a man known as Daniel Wise. It is believed that the bodies of 58 soldiers were tossed down an old well which has caused reports of ghostly figures wandering around Wise’s properties.

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5. The Story of Spearfinger

Some of the creepy of the Appalachian Mountain Trail are legends from the early native people of the region, the Cherokee Indians. There is this legend of the Spearfinger which has been used over and over to scare children. The Spearfinger is said to be a witch-like hag who is said to be able to take on the figure/persona of an old grandmother who is so friendly.

The Spearfinger lurks around the highest peaks of the Smokey Mountains as she keeps a special eye on children who have wandered away from their homes and parents. These children are usually afraid which Spearfinger takes advantage of as she tells them she will help find their children but her antic is to slowly sing them to sleep. She then uses her fingers to gouge out their liver and eat it in front of them.

6. A Man’s Encounter with The Pierce Pond Ghost Twice

Several people like going to hike along the Appalachian Mountain Trail alone which has not been a good experience for some as per the stories. A certain man was hiking along Pierce Pond in Maine when he had two shocking experiences that he will never forget.

He had hiked for several miles making stops and camping over at night at various locations. However, one night as he was out enjoying his campfire at the Pierce Pond camp area, he suddenly spotted a figure that was walking a short distance away from his campsite.

Taking a close look, the figure seemed to be ghostly in appearance and had the looks of a woodsy outdoorsman type with something that appeared to be fishing gear. This first night, the ghostly figure faded into the night.

The following day, the man continued with his hike but encountered the ghostly figure yet again. However, this time it was scary as the figure stopped to stare at him giving him the chill of his life. The hiker did not hesitate as he abandoned his camp, ran off into the forest, hid behind a tree and waited until morning. He hurriedly returned to his campsite, packed up his stuff and got out of the place quickly before nightfall found him.

7. Phantom Encounter on the Trail

The creepy stories of phantom encounters on the Appalachian Mountain Trail do not seem to have an end as there are several versions of them. In May 1972, a solo hiker was enjoying his walk through the Appalachian Mountain Trail.

However, he encountered a ghost from another time. At some point during the hiking, the hiker noticed a heavy ground fog that had started surrounding him which hit him with shock. Upon looking up, he saw a huge person walking with a heavy coat and wide-brimmed hat.

The phantom slowly staggered about while his eyes faced the ground as if he was searching for something that he had lost. This figure started walking towards the already frightened hiker still looking at the ground which made the hiker move aside to avoid being bumped into.

As the two were close, the phantom suddenly looked at the hiker who was shocked by the man’s cloudy, blue eyes which stared straight through him. What shocked the hiker more is that the man’s clothes seemed to come from a different period and never responded when he tried to say hello. The hiker retaliated by walking ahead and turned back only to discover the man had vanished.

8. Mysterious Children Giggling Around Hikers

Another creepy story is about children who seemed to be odd and very creepy to a group of hikers along the Appalachian Mountain Trail. A group of hikers had set camp at a certain location after several miles of hiking. After a good night’s sleep, the hikers woke up to something bizarre as they were backpacking.

On this morning, the group of hikers woke up and found their campsite surrounded by a thick mist that was not fading away as the sun came out. They began packing up and started hearing children’s laughter coming from around them.

As the group was about to get done with packing up, a group of children led by one parent walked out of the mist and started walking past them. These creepy children asked the hikers where they were going and someone responded that were hiking along the Appalachian Trail. The kids started laughing and one of them replied, “This isn’t the Appalachian Trail,” as they kept walking off. The hikers spent the whole day hearing the children giggling around them.

9. Mysterious Abduction by Unknown People

Stories of people being abducted along the trail and later being found after losing their direction are many. However, in 1988, a certain man hiking along the trail had a very awful experience which is rather more frightening than encountering a ghost.

As the man was hiking along the trail, he noticed a bright light coming from the forest that was next to him. He never bothered anyone nor did he investigate the source of the light, but he set up camp somewhere nearby. In the middle of the night, he got startled as he woke up and found a man standing over his hammock.

The man got startled, fled and yelled to some other unseen people that the hiker was awake. Being terrified by this incident, the hiker quickly packed up and continued his hike quickly to put more distance between the unseen people. The hiker continued with non-stop hiking for some days which allowed him to relax a bit for the night.

Suddenly that night he took a rest in his hammock, he was cut down, wrapped up and dragged away to some unknown location. The people began beating him mercilessly as they shouted to one another as others were preparing something. Luckily, the hiker got a chance to cut through his hammock and escaped. He ran away back to civilization and reported to the police who inquired and never found anyone who had kidnapped the hiker.

10. A Young Couple Tracked and Watched by Unknown Forces

A certain young couple had the worst experience while on the Appalachian Mountain Trail. The two were in the southern part of Virginia when they had this creepy experience. One night as they were asleep in their tent, they were woken up to the sound of rustling and odd noises coming from outside their tent.

The young man went out to investigate and managed to scare off some figures that were lurking around and wanted him to chase them which he never did. The following night, the couple camped with their backs to a cliff to prepare for anything and their guns prepared.

As they were asleep, the figures returned which made the couple fire making the figures retreat. The young couple had to hustle their way out of the place and around midday, they saw a silhouette of a figure standing in the distance watching them. Luckily, they managed to get off the trail and get to civilization in time.

11. 24 hikers go missing on the Appalachian Trail

Creepy Stories about the Appalachian Mountain

Carol M. Highsmith, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

On the Appalachian Trail, roughly 24 hikers go missing each year, although the great majority are located within two days. This adds to the intrigue surrounding Geraldine Largay’s strange case. In 2013, the 66-year-old suddenly disappeared while halfway through her walk. She planned to hike eight miles north that day to meet her spouse at a rest area.

Her husband had met her at several spots along the way to offer support and supplies, but Largay had never shown up. 2015 saw the discovery of her body about 30 minutes from a town-accessible route.

12. A burned figure that stares

In 2011, a man took a week off work to go hiking along the Appalachian Trail, but it ended up being a terrifying experience he would never forget. He heard noises coming from outside his tent, but he chose not to go outside to check.

The next evening, when he was relaxing by his fire, he was startled to discover a stranger standing close to his fuel. His face was flaming, and his hands and body had severe burns. The charred figure only stared at the man with empty eyes before leaving since the victim was too terrified to even move. The man was so horrified by this that he immediately began to pack up and leave the place.

13.  Hikers have reported seeing a little boy wandering the campgrounds

Creepy Stories about the Appalachian Mountain

Smithh05, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ottie Cline Powell is a figure from one of the Appalachian Trail’s longest-lasting urban legends. A memorial for Powell who passed away exactly one hundred years ago, at the age of four, is located on the summit of Bluff Mountain. Since then, hikers have described seeing a little boy roaming the campsites in search of something, but never actually finding it.

Many ideas about Powell and the reasons why he still haunts the area have been sparked by the fact that no one knows how he died. A lot of effort has also been put into creating elaborate stories to explain Powell’s fate, but the real facts appear to have been lost to time.

14. The story of a man who couldn’t help but kill people around here

The Appalachian Trail has very few reported crimes, which makes the story of Randall Lee Smith all the more terrifying. Smith admitted to killing two hikers on the trail back in the 1980s. He acknowledged making friends with them and hanging out with them on the route, but in the middle of the night, he shot and stabbed one of them. He was given a 30-year prison term, but he only completed half of it. When he reappeared, he made an attempt to repeat the action.

On the route, he made friends with two fishermen and attempted to murder them both. They were both shot by him, yet they lived. Smith attempted to escape the situation in a pickup truck but crashed and died as a result.

15. Ghostly Choir of Roan Mountain

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Image by Alexa from Pixabay

For centuries this spooky phenomenon has haunted the slopes of the ancient Appalachians. Some say it’s the heavenly voices of angels preparing for the end times. Others believe it’s the mournful wails of tormented souls cast into the mountain’s shadowy hollows. Those brave enough venture into the rhododendron thickets at dusk hoping to unlock the choir’s dark secrets.

 Ethereal melodies that are are a rush of wind whistling through twisting rock formations chills the blood. Many have gone mad pursuing the source, driven to madness by visions of demonic entities singing their cursed songs. Tread carefully, for the Ghostly Choir still calls out to any foolish enough to try and unravel its unholy mysteries.

16. The Haunted Shelter

There is that eerie feeling you get when the hairs on the back of your neck stand up? That’s exactly how some people felt staying at the Vandeventer Shelter in the Appalachian mountains. This old stone shelter sits atop a ridge overlooking the misty Lake Watauga below. On a clear night, it would be a breathtaking view. But when the rains came pouring down, the place takes on a truly haunting vibe.

Apparently, a young woman (Janice Balza) was murdered inside the very shelter in the 1970s.  The tale goes that her restless spirit still roams the ridge on nights like this, mourning her untimely death. With each gust of wind and crack of thunder that night, some hikers have sworn to have  heard the faintest cries echoing across the shadowy forest.

17. The Wailing Woman of Blood Mountain

Blood Mountain lies deep in the heart of the Appalachian mountains  and is also shrouded in creepy folklore. As you hike along the winding trails, the dense forest seems to close in around you, blocking out the sun’s rays. The crunch of leaves underfoot is the only sound…until you hear a wailing sound (real or imagined?)That’s when the old timers’ tales come flooding back about the Wailing Woman. 

Legend has it she was a young mother who lost her mind after losing her baby on these very paths decades ago. Her anguished cries echoing through the valleys are a reminder of her eternal torment. Some say if you follow the wails, you’ll spot her ghostly figure, eternally searching in vain. Even seasoned hikers won’t linger after nightfall on Blood Mountain.

18. The Headless Horseman of Shenandoah

Creepy Stories about the Appalachian Mountain

Image by Steve from Pixabay

As night falls in the valleys of Shenandoah, hikers whisper of the dreaded Headless Horseman – a chilling phantom that roams the winding trails. Some claim to have seen his murky form materialising through the fog, seated atop a horse. Others have heard the sound of hooves pounding the earth, only to turn and see nothing.

According to local lore, he was once a proud soldier, decapitated in a bloody skirmish. Though he died long ago, his spirit remains eternally bound to the forests he died defending. l hear his whinnying horse or spy his ghastly silhouette in the distance.

19. The Cursed Spring of Witches’ Hollow

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Deep in the ancient forests of Appalachia lies Witches’ Hollow, a place steeped in dark folklore. twisted trees form an eerie canopy over a small spring that bubbles up from the mossy earth. Locals warn to never drink from these haunted waters. Legend has it, vengeful witches cursed the spring after being persecuted and drowned by superstitious settlers centuries ago.

Those ignorant enough to take a sip are plagued by waking nightmares – shapes flitting through the trees, unearthly whispers on the wind, an overwhelming sense of dread. Some even claim to have seen the witches’ gaunt, dripping figures lurking by the spring’s banks before vanishing like smoke.

20. The Phantom Lights of Bald Mountain

Some hikers have reported that in Bald Mountain after the sun goes down, strange, glowing lights appear out of nowhere. The lights dance through the trees like ghostly fireflies. Some folks claim they’re the spirits of Cherokee braves keeping watch over their sacred lands. Others swear they’re supernatural tricksters luring the unwary off the trail.

According to those who have experienced them, one minute you’re following their beckoning glow, the next you’re stumbling around in the pitch black, hopelessly turned around.  Admire the lights from a distance if you dare, but don’t try to chase them into the deep woods after dark; be warned.

The Appalachian Trail weaves through some of the most beautiful, yet isolated terrain in the United States. The trail’s remote nature has given rise to many creepy stories and urban legends over the years. The tales highlight the mysterious and sinister from ghostly encounters to strange disappearances. ​As you explore the wonders of the Appalachian mountains, keep an eye over your shoulder – you never know what phantoms may be lurking just off the path, waiting to generate another chilling trail tale.

Also check this
Best book about The Appalachian Trail Experience See books
Best book about Appalachian Trail Maps See books
Best book about Appalachian Trail Shelters info See books

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