Did you know that Oregon has more than 200 ghost towns, which is the highest concentration of any state in the entire United States?
There are many spooky stories and haunted places in Oregon, and that’s the topic of today’s post!
Berty and I have had our fair share of getting the shivers on Oregon coast hikes and at various destinations, so we’ve compiled the scariest stories to share. (Including our own, and many from history!)
Visit these haunted places in Oregon…if you dare!
The 11 Most Haunted Places In Oregon
1. Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge
Yep, did you know that one of the most famous Columbia River Gorge waterfalls, Multnomah Falls, has a creepy past?
Long before the famous bridge was constructed, the story goes that an indigenous woman lept off the top of the falls to save her village from a rampant illness.
Many claim to feel her presence in the mist, but the most common sightings are during winter in Oregon when visitors say they can spot her face in the white water.
Plan Your Trip Now: 20 incredible things to do in the Columbia River Gorge
2. Battery Russel
FYI: A military “battery” refers to a cluster of cannons in action as a group, whether is be a temporary installation or permanent. There are many batteries (9) at Fort Stevens, and Battery Russel is just one of several in the area.
Battery Russel is a military building installation at Fort Stevens near Astoria, Oregon. If you visit, make sure to pick up a brochure in the parking lot explaining what things are and where they used to be on the map. You can get lost and confused easily here. There are two levels, the bottom with storage and office buildings, an the top with old gun pits.
During WWII on June 21st 1942, a Japanese submarine stationed off the coast managed to damage the fort. This makes it the only U.S. Mainland military base to be fired upon since 1812!
It is said that ghosts of soldiers can be seen walking around the grounds, likely from the Civil War era. Battery Russel was a highly unpopular station, mainly because it was built haphazardly and quickly, and soldiers never stayed very long
Common stories are ones of seeing a soldier with a knife, and another soldier pacing up and down the area with a flashlight. It makes one of the spookiest day trips from Portland!
3. Tillamook Head Trail – Ecola State Park
Between the abandoned World War II bunkers and “Terrible Tilly” (the decommissioned lighthouse), this place can get really creepy real fast during bad weather bouts.
The 12.2-mile RT trail is a beautiful Oregon coast hike in good weather, but when the fog rolls in, it can become super spooky. This place also was a booming logging area abundant with spruce trees, with plenty of areas where temporary logging camps used to be.
Tillamook Rock Lighthouse is notorious for nightmarish weather conditions. It is constantly being slammed by rough waves. It was also used as a columbarium for a time – which is a location for the remains of cremated bodies.
Stay Here: Plan a trip to Cannon Beach, Oregon
4. Scaponia Park – Vernonia, Oregon
Scaponia Park is a small park just outside of Vernonia, Oregon. It may seem small and sweet, but unfortunately, it’s one of the most haunted places in Oregon!
The story goes about a horse thief who was killed in the park after being found out by locals.
It is said that this young man had a cabin on the park grounds, and was eventually discovered by an angry mob of locals. They dragged him from his house hung him, and shot his dog.
Supposedly, his body was buried in the park by the river, along with his dog. Fun fact, the Twilight Saga was filmed in this same forest! Take a Twilight Tour around the PNW here.
5. Geiser Grand Hotel
Located in Baker City, OR, The Geiser Grand Hotel used to be one of the finest accommodations between Salt Lake City, Utah, and Portland.
The third floor of the hotel is infamously haunted. Lights flicker on and off all the time. It’s not just one ghost but several, and staff claims that they are a rowdy, partying bunch of ghosts.
Some of the staff refuse to go up to the third floor after midnight, out of respect to not provoke them.
6. Malheur Butte
Once said to be a gathering place for a group of witches, locals claim that the witches will return someday and have left shadows on the butte to protect the area.
Many people claim to see apparitions of small dogs and shadowy figures on and around the butte.
It’s on private property so it isn’t exactly a recommended haunted Pacific Northwest trail to take. You will technically be trespassing…on private property AND by witchy standards.
Discover another place nearby (that’s not haunted): Leslie Gulch in Eastern Oregon.
7. Heceta Head Lighthouse (One of the most haunted places in Oregon)
The Heceta Head lighthouse and Innkeeper’s house had an extremely isolating past.
The access road to the lighthouse was very difficult to navigate, making the innkeeper, family, and guest cut off from the world for long periods of time.
A ghost named “Rue” wanders the grounds, and is not fond of people making alterations to the place. She often sets off fire alarms and makes a general nuisance to people working on the property. It’s unclear if she’s the daughter or the wife of a past Innkeeper. The stories are often muddled.
There are also Oregon ghost stories of another apparition called the “Gray Lady” that frequently scared lighthouse staff but is harmless to guests and visitors.
Other Haunted Lighthouses in Oregon include:
- Yaquina Bay Lighthouse
- Yaquina Head Lighthouse
- Tillamook Rock Lighthouse
- Cape Meares Lighthouse
8. The Oregon Coast’s Highway 101
If you take an Oregon Coast road trip during any time of year, there’s a chance you may encounter a lost man with bandages all over his body.
Of course, once you try to take a second look to confirm his presence, he vanishes into thin air. Be cautious and alert on this road regardless – its winding turns and blind corners can be dangerous enough.
Oregon’s Highway 101 has looked a lot different throughout the years. One major change was re-routing the road between Manzanita and Cannon Beach. The only way through used to be around Hug Point, and even then it was only accessible during low tide. Don’t get caught crossing at a rising tide, you could lose your things, or even your life.
Read More: The 25 Best Beaches on the Oregon Coast
9. The Witch’s Castle – Forest Park, Portland, Oregon
The Witch’s Castle is likely the most infamous of all the haunted places in Oregon.
While its true, the origins may be as simple as being an old abandoned public bathroom or Park Ranger’s building. However, this location still takes on a wild story all its own.
The story of the Balch and Stump family dates back to the 1850s, telling the tale of an underaged and inappropriate love (Danford Balch fell in love with Stump’s daughter, Anna), when Stump’s wife cursed Balch for even thinking about marrying their daughter.
The story ended with the murder of Mortimer Stump by Danford Balch and him claiming Stump’s wife as a witch.
Both the Stump ghosts (husband and wife) are said to haunt the stone home. Many claim of unexplained paranormal activity when they visit.
Plan a trip: 15 Adventurous Day Trips From Portland, Oregon
10. Cape Arago Lighthouse Area
Cape Arago is one of many lighthouses on the Oregon coast that claim to have a spooky past. It was first lit in 1866 by Leonard C Hall, on its own island just offshore of the mainland.
It once had a 1,300-foot-long footbridge that connected it to the main island, but intense storms and waves destroyed the bridge over and over again. Finally, a 400-foot cable line was constructed in 1891 in response, but the line snapped several times killing and injuring people that tried to use it.
Could it be that the lighthouse, bridges, and buildings constructed are not welcome here? The Coos tribe has a strong connection to Chief Island (where the lighthouse is constructed) and many of their ancestors are buried along the mainland coast right next to it. These repeated tragedies – coincidence or fate?
11. Crate Lake National Park (The Old Man)
Crater Lake National Park is no stranger to spooky stories, and one of the most famous ones has to do with The Old Man.
The Old Man is a 30-foot hemlock log, first spotted by Joseph Dillard in 1896. It has 3 feet sticking out above the water, and it slowly floats around the lake all day long.
Some say that The Old Man controls the weather on the lake. In 1988, a group of researchers wanted to explore the bottom of the lake, so they tied up the Old Man in fear of running their ship into him.
Shortly after, a storm blew in an it began to snow. Once they released him back to the lake, the weather went back to normal. Coincidence? I think not.
12. More Haunted Buildings and Haunted Houses in Oregon:
Now, we mostly covered haunted locations in Oregon (like forests, trails, and mountains) but we can’t forget about buildings!
Here are some of the most creepy Oregon haunted houses and buildings in the state.
- Cathedral Park – St. Johns neighborhood, Portland
- Columbia Gorge Hotel – Hood River
- The Egyptian Theatre – Coos Bay
- The Heathman Hotel – Portland
- Kuhn Cinema – Lebanon
- Lafayette Pioneer Cemetery – Yamhill County
- McMenamins Edgefield – Troutdale
- The Wolf Creek Inn in Josephine County
Do you know of any other haunted places in Oregon we might have missed? Share your stories in the comments below!