Julie and I have hiked or explored several areas named after the devil. We began to realize that these outings were some of our best experiences.
After some thought, we quickly came up with other places with discouraging monikers where we had a great time. The names are scary, but the hiking trails and natural rock formations are rewarding.
Do not let the names intimidate you. These areas provide natural beauty or deep gratification for completing a challenge. We will outline 13 fun hiking trails with scary names.
Devil’s Hall Trail
You can find Devil’s Hall Trail in Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas. It is a strenuous 4.2-mile round-trip hike that typically takes 3 to 6 hours to complete.
The first half of the hike is a rugged trail, while the second half requires bouldering as you make your way up a rocky wash. After ascending a natural staircase, you will see a long, narrow hall between two steep canyon walls.
The natural staircase and Devil’s Hall itself are unique geological formations. You will find that the hall is not nearly as narrow as the name implies.
It is such a rewarding hike. Navigating the boulders in the wash and the natural staircase will give you a sense of accomplishment. You will be proud to say that you completed the Devil’s Hall Trail.
Devil’s Bathtub is located in Old Man’s Cave in Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio. Old Man’s Cave is a moderate 1.5-mile hike that takes you through caves, tunnels, bridges, and nearby waterfalls. It is beautiful and rewarding.
Along your journey, you will find a natural tub with swirling waters. Legend has it that the tub is so deep that it goes all the way to the land of Satan.
You should not attempt to walk through or swim in the Devil’s Bathtub. It is nearly impossible to get out.
Devil’s Bathtub is one geological feature of many that you will enjoy on this beautiful hike. A trip to Ohio is worth your time. Hocking Hills offers seven excellent hiking areas.
Damnation Creek Trail
You can find Damnation Creek Trail in Redwood National and State Parks. It is a challenging 4-mile hike where you will descend 1,100 feet onto a narrow, rocky beach.
To make it out, you must climb 1,100 feet. This trail is aptly named.
What is so rewarding about this hike? You will be walking under some of the world’s tallest trees. The beach provides an opportunity for tide pooling at low tide. Although a very steep trail, these are two fantastic experiences.
Gloomy Knob is a massive rock mound in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Alaska. This one must be enjoyed as a view from a cruise ship rather than as a hike. For a place with such a sad name, it brought a wide grin across my face.
As our cruise ship passed Gloomy Knob, we saw mountain goats walking along ledges near the mountaintop. Glacier Bay is the most beautiful place we have seen. Beyond the mountain goats, you may see whales, sea lions, seals, otters, bears, and moose.
Let’s not forget the glaciers. The sights and sounds of a calving glacier are unforgettable. You will be anything but gloomy from this experience.
Deep Hole is a karst sinkhole crawling with alligators. It is located in Myakka River State Park in Sarasota, Florida.
Deep Hole is a 4.4-mile round-trip hike that requires a special permit. Alligators and vultures typically surround the 130 feet deep cavity. Now this trail is scary!
Myakka River is an amazing park. It is a birding paradise where you can see roseate spoonbills. They have a canopy walk and an observation tower for a view above the trees. Beyond Deep Hole, there is a lot to do here.
Frowning Cliff is located in Watkins Glen State Park, New York. You will cross through Frowning Cliff while hiking the 3.0-mile round-trip Gorge Trail.
What is a Frowning Cliff? It is a narrow section of the gorge where plants cannot grow due to the lack of light. Ice remains on the path in this area through late spring.
Watkins Glen is a gorgeous park. The Gorge Trail is a beautiful hike that takes you along stairs, bridges, and tunnels while enjoying many waterfalls.
The most daunting part of the hike is Jacob’s ladder. You must climb 180 stone steps before making the return hike.
Watkins Glen is part of the Finger Lakes region of New York. After visiting the park, you can tour some of the local wineries. There is nothing scary about that!
You can find Shark Valley in Everglades National Park in Florida. Despite the name, you will not find sharks. However, you will see many alligators.
You can hike, ride a bike, or take a tram tour in this area while searching for wildlife. It is pretty common to find alligators near the path.
If you want an even bigger adrenaline rush, take an airboat tour. You will be skimming the water right next to alligators.
Fat Woman’s Squeeze
Fat Woman’s Squeeze is in Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio. A long set of stone steps leads you through a skinny corridor. Although narrow, most people can navigate the passage without any problems.
You will find Fat Woman’s Squeeze on the Cantwell Cliffs Trail. It is a moderate to strenuous 2.0-mile hike in a remote park section.
While here, you can also hike to Old Man’s Cave or other hiking areas featuring sandstone cliffs.
You can find Devil’s Gulch in Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Kentucky. There is a reason for the handrail along the narrow, steep stone stairs. You will likely need it.
Two trails take you to Devil’s Gulch. You can start at the base by hiking Battleship Rock Trail. If you prefer to accept the challenge from the top, take the Laurel Ridge Trail.
Natural Bridge State Resort Park has lots of beautiful scenery, including the iconic stone bridge for which the park is named. If you survive Devil’s Gulch, there are plenty of other trails to enjoy.
Devils Bridge Trail
Devils Bridge Trail is in Sedona, Arizona. Sedona is known for its alluring red rock formations and spiritual energy areas called vortexes. Despite all the spiritual energy, the devil managed to make his mark.
Devils Bridge Trail is a rewarding hike through the red rocks that culminates in a walk across a narrow rock bridge. Many visitors hike this trail to get a picture of the iconic bridge overlooking the buttes and plateaus on the horizon. It is breathtaking! Be sure to arrive early due to this hike being so popular.
Sedona is beautiful and offers many great hikes. From our experience, you really cannot go wrong here. Each walk takes you along gorgeous red rock formations. Julie and I look forward to revisiting Sedona.
The Devils Punchbowl State Natural Area is located near Newport on the Oregon Coast. The center of attention here is a hollow rock formation shaped like a giant punch bowl.
You can see the ocean swirl and foam up inside the punch bowl at high tide. At low tide, you can walk inside the base of the hollow formation and look at the sky.
Julie and I visited during low tide. We love this place. Walking into Devils Punchbowl is a lot of fun.
This is a great place for tide pooling. You will find lots of sea life and birds along with a beautiful view of the rocky shoreline. There is a lot to explore here.
Ensure you get out of the punch bowl before the tide comes in. Julie and I cut this a bit close. You can get trapped if you wait too long.
Devils Churn is in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area near Yachats on the Oregon Coast. It is a narrow inlet where the water crashes into the rocks and sprays into the air at high tide.
This is a great area to explore, as there is much to see. You will also find Thor’s Well and the Spouting Horn. These fantastic rock formations display nature’s beauty through water action at high tide.
You can find Devils Tower in the Black Hills region of northeastern Wyoming. It is an enormous butte made of igneous rock that stands out on the prairie.
There are five hiking trails of various distances and difficulties. All courses offer great views of Devils Tower.
It is within 2 to 2 ½ hours from:
Wrap Up: Fun Hiking Trails With Scary Names
The names may be scary, but these are not haunted trails. Our country has many hikes and natural rock formations with intimidating names. Do not miss the experience due to fear of a name. These rewarding trails are waiting for you to visit. Never stop exploring!
About the author
Scott McConkey is a nationally syndicated travel writer and the founder of Miles with McConkey, where he provides vacationers and travel enthusiasts with trip ideas, travel guides, and inspiration. His travel articles have been seen in The Associated Press wire, ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, NBC, MSN, and many more. He and his wife, Julie, left the corporate world after nearly 30 years for a life of travel and adventure. What started as a gap year has evolved into a second act. She creates visual content while he utilizes the written word. Their goal is to create content inspiring others to travel more and live their best lives now.