This Hike On The East Coast Is Known For Being Totally Spine-Chilling

The Corbin Cabin hike in Shenandoah National Park is a quiet trail that takes hikers through the Virginia woods. The entire journey only takes about two or three hours, during which you might spot venomous snakes such as timber rattlers and copperheads, but almost certainly no other human beings. However, it isn't the wildlife or the isolation in the wilderness that makes some people find this hike so unsettling.

One of the things that makes this hike so fascinating is that it has the remains of the homesteads built by settlers more than a century ago, including the Corbin family. The trail winds by a small cemetery hidden in the woods, which, as described in an interview with George Corbin recorded by Shenandoah National Park Oral History Collection, is the final resting place of between 25 and 30 people, buried in oak and black walnut coffins. One of these is almost certainly the second wife of George Corbin, who died in what is now known as Corbin Cabin.

The cabin, which the trail is named for, is still standing and is one of the landmarks on this hike. It has become a destination for nature lovers who come for the landscape and wildlife, history buffs fascinated by the true story of this place, and even a few thrill-seekers who believe that the cabin is haunted and that a ghost walks this secluded hiking trail.

An eerie ghost story

According to the folklore, a couple named George and Nee Corbin lived happily in the cabin until Mrs. Corbin died in 1924. Today, the cabin is available for hikers to rent overnight and some claim to have heard strange sounds in the cabin or seen her shape moving between the trees outside.

Like most good ghost stories, there is some truth behind the Corbin Cabin legend. It really was built by a man named George Corbin, with the help of 10 of his neighbors. According to a Historical Archeology article, they used to make illegal liquor or "moonshine" there in order to make ends meet. In a 1966 interview, George Corbin told the tragic story of how his second wife died in childbirth. It was a cold and snowy winter when she gave birth to their child in the cabin. Corbin then escorted the doctor who had delivered the infant back down the mountain on horseback. When he returned, he found that his wife had passed away.

According to historical records, the late Mrs. Corbin's name was not actually Nee. This particular error probably came from the term "née" being used in old records to indicate a woman's maiden name. Other records indicate she was likely Mildred Corbin, Bertie Nicholson, or Beulah/Eula Nicholson, all of whom were women that Corbin is believed to have been married to over the course of his life.

Hiking the Corbin Cabin Trail

Whether you're looking to gain a greater understanding of how people lived in the early 1900s, experience the natural beauty of Shenandoah National Park, or keep your eyes peeled for signs of restless spirits, the Corbin Cabin Hike is sure to get your blood pumping. This backcountry trail through the forest is not one to be underestimated. On the way to Corbin Cabin, hikers walk through dense woods, picking their way through the underbrush and hopping from stone to stone to cross shallow rivers and streams in their path. After exploring the cabin, they are in for a long, steep trek up the mountain.

Along the way, it is possible to spot the remains of many different structures built by people like the Corbins who used to live in the area, which have not been renovated like Corbin Cabin and have been exposed to the elements in the century since they were built. The cemetery, which is located very close to the Hughes River crossing at the Corbin Cabin Cutoff Trail marker, can be difficult to spot, but attentive hikers will be able to find the stones in the clearing. Out of the 500 or so miles of hiking trails in the park, this one is rarely visited, so it's likely that you will have it entirely to yourself – which could make for a spine-chilling adventure or a serene experience in nature.