This Hiking Trail At Patapsco Valley State Park Takes You To Some Creepy ‘Haunted’ Ruins

Mª del Rosario Castro Díaz Mª del Rosario Castro Díaz

St. Mary's College Ruin Ellicot City, MD

Will you dare take the Buzzard Rock trail down to ‘Hell House’?

Buried deep within Patapsco Valley State Park, along the Buzzard Rock trail, lie the ruins of an abandoned gazebo popularly known as ‘Hell House.’ The ruins are actually the remnants of a church belonging to the old St. Mary’s College–also in ruins–an old seminary school, and have inspired many a ghost story and legends involving Satanic rituals and ghosts. Yikes!

Nowadays, the creepy ruins serve as a popular destination (and photo-op) for the bravest and most fearless hikers who dare venture into the spooky ghost town. In its heyday, however, St. Mary’s College was a popular seminary school for all those young men wishing to become priests, first opened back in 1862. Over the course of a century student numbers slowly started to dwindle until it was impossible to keep the institution running, forcing the seminar to close in 1972.

The property was then acquired by private owners who wanted to convert the old building into apartments. The project never came to fruition and a group of arsonists burned the college down on Halloween night, 1997. The remains were finally demolished in 2006.  What little remains of the former St. Mary’s College has given rise to some spooky urban legends that make one’s blood run cold just from hearing them–Keep scrolling if you dare hear more of them!

Visitors have often reported hearing the sounds of footsteps echoing up and down the abandoned stairs and many others have also reported feeling ‘cold spots’ through certain areas of the ruins, even on the hottest days of summer. A group of young men even claimed to have seen the figure of a young girl while exploring the ruins. According to them, the girl’s eye turned red as she swiftly approached the group–Safe to say they never went back to the ruins, and honestly, neither would we if we’d experienced that too!


Its most popular outpost, the ‘Hell House’ gazebo used to house a metal cross has been named by many as a location for satanic rituals, including animal sacrifices. Some also believe it was these rituals that brought the haunted souls into the ruins in the first place! More recently, the gazebo’s metal cross was removed and the small temple was painted over with some mysterious black and white symbols, which, ironically make ‘Hell House’ a bit less scary in our eyes, honestly.

The old St. Mary’s ruins are located near Ilchester and can be easily reached by hopping on Buzzard Rock trail off of Hilltop Road to get a bird’s eye view of the property. You can also head into the ruins by walking back the railroad bridge near where Illcester Road meets River Road. There are steps hidden on the south side of the railroad bridge that will take you up to the ruins.

Although the ghost stories about St. Mary’s are somewhat wacky, there’s no denying the ruins give off a totally eerie vibe. So what say you? Will you dare venture into the spooky ruins of ‘Hell House’ and St. Mary’s?

See also: 7 Last-Minute Trips You Can Still Take For The Long Labor Day Weekend

[Featured image: @i_madman_ac, Instagram]

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