This Texas Hike Leads to an Abandoned Graveyard

For those seeking an eerie and picturesque adventure, consider exploring the Hoyt Trail in Los Angeles County. This 4.5-mile round-trip hike guides you through a wooded canyon, past a waterfall, and ultimately to a spooky destination: an abandoned graveyard.

The History of the Hoyt Trail and Graveyard

Constructed in the late 1800s by Charles Hoyt, a prosperous businessman with a large ranch in the region, the Hoyt Trail was accompanied by a family cemetery on a hill overseeing his property. This cemetery served as the resting place for Hoyt’s wife, children, and other relatives, enclosed by a wrought-iron fence with a stone archway bearing the name “Hoyt.”

However, as the ranch changed hands in the early 1900s, both the trail and cemetery fell into neglect. The fence and archway were stolen, graves were vandalized, and some headstones were removed or damaged. Over time, the cemetery attracted thrill-seekers, ghost hunters, and cultists who reportedly engaged in rituals and sacrifices.

The Hike to the Hoyt Graveyard

Commencing at Big Tujunga Canyon Road near the Wildwood Picnic Area, the well-marked Hoyt Trail is easily navigable but features steep and rocky segments. The trail follows the Big Tujunga Creek, offering a lush and shady environment with diverse flora and fauna, including oaks, sycamores, ferns, wildflowers, birds, and lizards.

Approximately 1.5 miles into the hike, you’ll encounter a small waterfall, providing an opportunity to rest and appreciate the surroundings. Following the waterfall, the trail ascends for another 0.75 miles until reaching a fork. The left branch leads to the Hoyt Graveyard, while the right connects to the Stone Canyon Trail, offering access to other trails in the Angeles National Forest.

The graveyard, positioned on a small plateau, spans about 50 by 100 feet and contains roughly 20 graves. Some graves feature headstones, wooden crosses, or metal markers, with varying states of exposure or sinking. Visitors may also come across bones, coffins, and scattered remains.

Especially eerie at dusk or dawn, the graveyard may evoke chills, strange noises, or a sense of presence. Some claim to have seen or felt the ghosts of the Hoyt family or other spirits. Regardless of personal beliefs, visitors are urged to approach with respect, caution, and leave no trace behind.

The Return Trip

To return to the trailhead, one can retrace steps along the Hoyt Trail or opt for the Stone Canyon Trail, a longer and more challenging route with additional scenic views. This trail follows the ridge above Big Tujunga Canyon, passing by peaks like Mount Lukens, Mount Lawlor, and Strawberry Peak. It also intersects with other trails, including the Colby Canyon Trail and the Josephine Peak Trail, allowing further exploration of the Angeles National Forest.

The Hoyt Trail and Graveyard offer a distinctive and captivating hike, blending history, nature, and mystery. It presents an opportunity to experience the Angeles National Forest’s beauty and diversity while discovering a hidden and haunted gem in Southern California. If you seek a hike that challenges, thrills, and chills, the Hoyt Trail is worth exploring. However, always remember to be respectful of the deceased and stay alert to the surroundings.


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