Not every hike has a story. This one does. Perhaps best told over a campfire in late October, the tale of Haunted Table 29 starts on Halloween. Legend has it that on that eerie holiday in 1976, two young lovers, a musician and an actress, stopped at the picnic table for a secret tryst and were crushed when a tree fell on top of them. Their loved ones spread their ashes where they died and ever since strange things have happened to unlucky souls who have ventured here.
The first to meet with the Curse of Table 29 was the first worker who came to clear the tree. He ran back to his truck after seeing the tree shake and hearing someone whisper in his ear to "Leave us alone," only to find "Next time you die" written backwards on his windshield. His supervisor went to clear the tree himself and was found dead the next morning of an apparent heart attack. Marks on the ground made it look like he had been dragged toward the table and his crumpled chainsaw was found nearby. Ever since, no one has tried to remove the tree, though others have seen red-eyed ghosts or heard whispers warning them away.
Since this hike's all about its haunted destination, there's many different routes you can take to get there. Three start from the eastern side of Griffith Park near the golf course and range from 1.8 to 2.0 miles each way. If you start at the Mineral Wells Picnic Area, you'll have easy parking next to a lovely shaded field where you can stop for lunch before or after your hike. To take this route, find the Mineral Wells Trail and follow it to the North Trail. Continue on the North Trail to Vista Del Valle Drive and follow that road west until it intersects with Mount Hollywood Drive, which you'll follow north until you see the picnic table to the left. A similar route picks up Mineral Wells Trail at the intersection of Griffith Park Drive and Camp Road.
If one haunted location on your hike isn't enough, you can start at the allegedly haunted Old Los Angeles Zoo and take the Lower Old Zoo Trail to the Bee Rock Trail. Turn right where the Bee Rock Trail intersects Vista Del Valle Drive to follow that road north to Mount Hollywood Drive and the haunted picnic table. It's easy to tell which one it is because the tell-tale tree that crushed it in 1976 has never been removed. You might also see tokens left by other visitors, including flowers and written memorials to "Rand and Nancy." Only the bravest souls venture here after dark, but even during the day, if you look over and see the fur along your dog's back standing on end, you know it's time to go!