11 Super Haunted National Parks You Can Visit Right Now

National parks are primarily places where people go to relax and unwind, but every year both campers and park rangers wind up having experiences more frightening than fun. The country is filled with haunted national parks, complete with ghost stories that will make you hunker down a little lower in your sleeping bag. From the ghosts of Yellowstone to a wailing woman in Grand Canyon National Park, from grieving mothers to mischievous old innkeepers, these national park ghost stories may have you think twice about planning your next vacation.

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  • Beware The Badlands National Park Banshee

    Badlands National Park in South Dakota has a banshee that shrieks at visitors in the Watch Dog Butte area of the park. Little is known about the origins of the female apparition who appears in tattered clothes with wild hair. Some suggest she might have been a Native American woman killed by a warring tribe. What is known is that she appears to hikers, gesturing towards them and mouthing unintelligible words. Then, after they come closer, she begins wailing and flailing her arms before disappearing in plain sight. If that's not spooky enough, she is sometimes joined by a skeletal companion who plays beautiful music in the hopes of enticing travelers to follow him to their deaths.

  • A Drowned Boy Calls For Help At Yosemite National Park

    A Drowned Boy Calls For Help At Yosemite National Park
    Photo: Ray Bouknight / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    Grouse Lake, located in Yosemite National Park, has a spirit that cries out for help - although you shouldn't fall for his act. According to legends, a young Native American boy drowned in the lake sometime in the past (the first reports of his ghost are from the 1850s) and now he calls out to people nearby for help. However, those heroic few who dive into the lake to try save him are never heard from again

  • The Spirit Of Stephen Bishop Haunts Mammoth Cave

    The Spirit Of Stephen Bishop Haunts Mammoth Cave
    Photo: handysgirl / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky has some really cool caves to explore - and a very interesting ghost. Back in the 1800s, a slave named Stephen Bishop worked as a cave guide, giving tours to visitors. Unfortunately, he died before he could buy his way to freedom. According to legend, he was buried at the mouth of the cave and haunts it today. He enjoys popping up during tours, scaring tourists by showing himself to them and then vanishing, and blowing out their lanterns, leaving them in the dark. 

  • Old Canal Boat Captains Hang Around The Cuyahoga Valley Visitors Center

    Old Canal Boat Captains Hang Around The Cuyahoga Valley Visitors Center
    Photo: Jasperdo / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    One of the main visitors centers in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is located on a plot of land nicknamed Hell's Half Acre. The building now housing the center once served as a tavern for canal boat captains and their employees (as well as prostitutes), where unsavory hijinks ensued. Some of these troublemakers clearly stuck around after death, as the scent of pipe smoke wafts across the near-empty parking lot, employees witness strange cold spots, and disembodied shouting voices can be heard. The ghosts of a Union soldier and his beloved also walk the towpath right outside of the visitor's center, sometimes showing themselves to people before disappearing. 

  • A Mysterious Light Appears In Great Smoky Mountains National Park

    Back in the early 1800s, a settler in the area that now makes up the Great Smoky Mountains was killed while searching for his daughter after she got lost in the woods. His spirit remains there and appears in the form of a mysterious human-sized yellow light. Apparently, he has been known to help other lost people by showing them the way home, although he scares more people than he helps by popping up on very dark nights in front of unsuspecting campers. 

  • Roosevelt Lodge At Yellowstone National Park Has A Disruptive Ghost

    Roosevelt Lodge At Yellowstone National Park Has A Disruptive Ghost
    Photo: YellowstoneNPS / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    Roosevelt Lodge in Yellowstone National Park sits near the grounds of an old inn formerly run by a man named John R. Yancey, who started off in the area as a squatter. After his death, he stuck around until his inn was destroyed and the Roosevelt Lodge was built - and then he moved in to his new home. He now plays tricks on hotel employees and visitors alike, throwing things around in the rooms, waking up hotel staff at 3 AM, yelling and shouting, and, for the very unlucky ones, showing himself in their bathroom mirrors