People of all ages have gotten goosebumps from a familiar story: a driver, traveling down the road late at night, spies a hitchhiker who appears on the shoulder. The driver picks up the hitcher and the two have a pleasant conversation. However, when they get to the hitchhiker’s destination, he’s disappeared. It’s a classic ghost story with countless variations, and with nearly four million miles of road in the United States, you’ve probably heard one specific to where you live.
When looking for a scary good time this October, consider taking a joyride down one of America’s spookiest streets. We’ve combed through ghost stories from around the country to present our 2023 list of six of the most haunted roads to drive this October.
According to local lore, if you drive on Blood Road at night, the roadway turns dark red and tree branches fall, blocking your exit. These occurrences are said to be due to a curse left behind by the devil worshippers who reportedly moved to Metamora from Massachussettes in the 1600s – or it could be red clay and mineral deposits from the nearby marsh.
Over the years, locals have reported seeing shadowy apparitions lurking in the surrounding woods. Others have seen cloaked figures gathered around bonfires, perhaps channeling the spirits of the ancient satanic cult. Whether or not the legends are true, Blood Road is one of the spookiest drives in Michigan.
A dirt road deep in the East Texas Pine Curtain is reportedly one of the most haunted roads in the state. Located just a few miles north of Marshall, the old Stagecoach Road was originally a well-traveled trade route between East Texas and Shreveport, Louisiana. After the Civil War, railroads expanded into the region and activity on Stagecoach Road declined.
Trees line the red dirt road, bending toward each other to create a dark tunnel. There are many stories that explain the road’s creepy atmosphere. In one legend, a Voodoo priestess who was chased out of New Orleans settled in Marshall, but was murdered by a preacher fearful of the occult. Now, people say that they can see her ghost wandering Stagecoach Road, cursing the town with bad luck.
Other travelers report seeing an apparition of a woman in a white dress, the ghost of a mother who drowned her children in a nearby marsh before being killed by the townspeople. Some people claim to have seen a “goat man” darting through the forest. What is perhaps the creepiest occurrence is also the most common. Periodically, drivers who park along Stagecoach Road later find a child’s handprint on the driver’s side door.
The winding road that leads into the Santa Ynez Mountains of Southern California’s Santa Barbara County is the site of a legendary triple murder. In the early 1900s, three nuns left the Santa Barbara Mission, intending to preach Christianity to the nearby Chumash Native Americans. Before they could reach the Chumash village, bandits ambushed, tortured, and murdered the sisters on Ortega Ridge Road.
There are many reports of drivers encountering the spirits of the three nuns, also known as Las Tres Hermanas. Their spirits appear dressed in habits, holding their hands in prayer, and walking side by side along the street. Some drivers describe them as having bright blue eyes that follow traffic as it passes. Most documented appearances happen at night, though some motorists claim to have felt ghostly presences during daylight hours.
Yorktown, Virginia is a small town just northwest of the Hampton Roads area that has claim to one of the most haunted streets in the Commonwealth. Crawford Road, a three-and-a-half-mile stretch that cuts through a lush coastal forest, has a number of terrifying tales attached to it.
Its most famous tale of haunting is that of the Hanging Bride. As legend has it, a woman fled her wedding, running to what’s now known as Crybaby Bridge. Unhappy with her groom-to-be – and still in her wedding dress – she jumped from the bridge with a noose around her neck. Many drivers have reported seeing the spectral bride standing on or near the bridge, holding what looks like rope.
In one story, a driver passing under the bridge looked up to see a woman in a white gown staring down at her. When she looked in the rearview mirror, she saw the same woman from atop the bridge floating a few feet off the ground, as if she were hanging.
Other notable Crawford Road legends include a phantom car that tries to run other drivers off the road, ghostly victims of lynchings hanging from the bridge, and glowing red eyes in the windows of nearby buildings.
Riverview Drive is a pleasantly winding, tree-lined road that follows the Passaic River in the borough of Totowa, New Jersey. As you approach Laurel Grove Cemetery, the road bends sharply before returning to its gentle curves. It’s here that the ghost of Annie, a high school girl killed on Riverview Drive in the 1960s, appears to unsuspecting motorists.
There are a few conflicting stories about how Annie died, all equally gruesome. According to the most common legend, Annie was walking home along Riverview Drive after her high school prom. A large truck hit the curve too fast and plowed into Annie, dragging her nearly 50 feet before stopping. Drivers report seeing a massive bloodstain on the road and guardrail at Riverview’s sharp curve. Once they pass the blood spatter, they see the apparition of Annie standing in the middle of the road.
Riverdale Road, an 11-mile stretch in the Denver suburb of Thornton, is considered one of the most haunted roads in America. The road has numerous stories of spirits, demonic presences, black magic rituals, and murder. There’s even a landmark known as the Gates of Hell.
Jogger’s Hill, one of Riverdale Road’s haunted hot spots, is said to feature the ghost of a jogger that was hit by a car. Drivers report a man dressed in running gear who follows their car and taps on its side, only to disappear moments later. Elsewhere on the road, a ghostly Camaro coaxes drivers into drag racing and disappears at a particularly dangerous curve, causing the living driver to crash.
Others have seen the ghost of a man who lost his mind and burned down his mansion with his family trapped inside. As the tale goes, the man then built a portal to Hell under a chicken coop. Locals say the Gates of Hell is a regular meeting place for practitioners of the occult.
Haunted Roads: Spooky Fun Behind the Wheel
The next time you’re looking for the thrill of a good old-fashioned fright, consider seeking out one of these haunted drives. Just remember to hold the steering wheel steady and keep your eyes on the road – no matter how scared you are.