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7 Haunted Road Trips in the U.S. for Those Brave Enough to Take Them

Looking for a new way to celebrate the spooky season? How about hitting the road with a haunted road trip and really making this year a Halloween to remember? From the Devil’s Highway to the cryptid-infested woods of Connecticut, these seven spine-tingling trips aren’t for the faint of heart.

The Devil’s Highway | Southwestern U.S.

A car pulled over on a long stretch of a deserted highway in with dark clouds hovering above.

Known as one of America’s most-haunted roads and spanning across nearly 200 miles of stark desert wilderness, the Devil’s Highway is a lonely stretch of road running through parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. Formerly named “Route 666,” the road was officially renamed “Route 491” in 2003, but kept its ominous legacy of unexplained phenomena. The legends range from run-of-the-mill strange — phantom headlights in the distance, cars breaking down without warning, people disappearing without a trace — to down right bone-chilling.

This area is rife with spooky legends. Long before Europeans ever set foot here, the indigenous Navajo people passed down stories of the yee naaldlooshii, which translates to ”by means of it, it goes on all fours.” Today, yee naaldlooshii are known as “skin-walkers.” These supernatural beings are believed to be shamen who embraced evil magic and corrupted the natural order of things. During the day they walk freely among their tribe as humans, but after the sun sets, they take the form of fearsome predators stalking desert nights. 

You don’t want to be caught with a flat tire here after dark. Check out these great deals on roadside essentials for your car.

Stagecoach Road | Marshall, Texas

 A muddy path through a forest.

Road trippers looking for a spooky season drive should set their GPS to a red dirt road 5.5 miles northeast of Marshall, Texas. This road dates back to the early- to mid-1800s, when it served as a stagecoach thoroughfare, connecting Marshall to Shreveport, La. Travel here slowed after the Civil War with the expansion of railroads, but the legends live on.

For decades travelers have reported strange phenomena. Drivers who have stopped along the road claim to have felt someone stepping on the bumper of their car. Later, they discovered what looked like tiny hand prints in red dust on the back of the car. Others claim to have seen seen ghosts along the side of the road, including that of a young girl in a white dress, as well as a mother and her two children.    

Feeling brave enough for this drive? You’re going to need a place to rest. Check out hotels in and around Marshall for your spooky trip to Texas.

Jeremy Swamp Road | Southbury, Conn.

Eerie road surrounded by fog and barren trees.

Melon Heads, the cryptid believed to stalk this particular road, are technically a regional legend — part of folklore belonging to Ohio, Michigan and Connecticut. But their activity along Jeremy Swamp Road bumps this spooky entry up near the top of the list.

For decades, travelers have told tales of small humanoid creatures who prowl the woods surrounding Southbury, Conn. With tiny features set back into their massively bulbous heads, Melon Heads lie in wait, devouring small animals and stranded motorists. Tales abound of tow trucks arriving at broken-down cars, only to discover the passengers who called had mysteriously vanished.

Not ready to drive these roads at night? Check out these deals on places to stay in Connecticut.

Ortega Ridge Road | Montecito, Calif.

A bend in the road surrounded by mossy trees after a rainstorm.

During California’s Gold Rush, bandits, thievery and murder on the open road were commonplace. And it’s said that the souls of those who met such violent ends still haunt the hills and valleys of the Golden State.

In Montecito, just east of Santa Barbara, legend tells of three nuns who set out to take food, medicine and supplies to a local community. Not long after, they were attacked by bandits, tortured and murdered. Killed before they could say their final prayers, their souls are condemned to wander the road where they died for all eternity.

Today, some driving along present-day Ortega Ridge Road have reported the strange appearance of three nuns on the side of the road. Clad in their habits — their whimples framing stark white faces with eerily glowing blueish eyes — they stand with arms crossed, turning to watch cars as they pass before disappearing into the night.

Need a break from the haunts on your trip? Check out places to stay in nearby Santa Barbara, Calif.

Route 44 | Rehoboth, Mass.

Foggy road surrounded by trees.

We all know not to stop and pick up hitchhikers, but what about hitchhikers who just suddenly appear in your backseat? According to local legend, that’s exactly what’s been happening on Route 44 for nearly 40 years.

Motorists tell of a six foot tall, ginger-bearded hitchhiker with dark and lifeless sunken eyes, who matches the description of a man who died in a car accident on that same stretch of road. Those who have stopped for him — seriously, we shouldn’t have to say this, but you should never pick-up strangers — report that as he touched the door handle, he suddenly disappeared. Others, who played it smart and kept driving, have still reported spotting him in their rearview mirror — IN THE BACKSEAT OF THEIR CAR. It’s said he only stays for a minute before vanishing, but spooked drivers say they can hear his laughter long after he’s disappeared.

Worried about unexpected passengers hitching a ride? Turn off the road and find a place to stay in Massachusetts.

Archer Avenue | Chicago, Ill.

Creepy graveyard at dusk.

Like any major city, Chicago has its share of ghost stories, but none are as well known as Resurrection Mary and her nighttime strolls along Archer Ave. It all started in the 1930s. Mary and her boyfriend had been dancing at the Oh Henry Ballroom on Chicago’s South Side. They got into an argument and she stormed out, determined to walk home. Sadly, as she was walking up Archer Avenue, she was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver. She was buried at the nearby Resurrection Cemetery.

In the decades that followed, motorists driving along Archer have reported similar stories: men out for a night on the South Side meeting a young woman while out drinking and dancing. She’s pretty and friendly, but always slightly aloof. At the end of the night she accepts a ride home and directs the driver north along Archer Ave. As the car approaches the front gates of Resurrection Cemetery, Mary vanishes from the car.

These days, the stories include tales of a young woman hopping into men’s cars at stoplights, scared and asking for a ride, or hitchhiking at the side of the road in a torn dance dress — but always disappearing at Resurrection Cemetery.

Mary seems like a nice girl and all, but we recommend heading home at the end of your night out. Check out places to stay in Chicago.

Route 375 | Rachel, Nev.

Welcome sign for Rachel, Nevada.

Okay, this final entry may not be haunted in the traditional sense, but weird and ooky-spooky things happen along this highway all the time. Known as the “Extraterrestrial Highway,” drivers have reported strange lights glowing in the Nevada desert sky. Oh yeah, and it just happens to run super close to that “top secret” base (that we all know about), Area 51.

This highway is more than 100 miles long and takes you through a few Nevada communities, but the gem of this tour is the funky little town of Rachel, which has embraced the weird desert happenings that surround it. This former mining town located in the Sand Springs Valley is more than happy to host curious adventurers on their “E.T.”-themed road trips.

Ready to hit the desert and search the skies? Pack accordingly with awesome deals on telescopes.

Nora Allen is a writer living in Chicago. She loves scary movies and all things weird or creepy.

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