There are some places you visit in life where an overwhelming fear is imminent and prominent. This can be said for Empire Mine Road in Antioch. I’ve never felt fear grip me tighter than when I visited this road twelve years ago as a teenager eager to push my limits and test the waters. Empire Mine Road is infamous to northern California residents, particularly with youth excited to explore this highly haunted destination. Perhaps the most interesting part of Empire Mine Road is there are multiple spooky spots along this desolate, deserted road including an abandoned slaughterhouse, the “Gate’s of Hell”, and a Gravity Hill.
Please note: THIS ROAD IS NOW CLOSED. It is said that you can still walk down this road, however it is not accessible to vehicle traffic and has been barricaded (as you can see in the picture above). As of July 2015, when I last visited, I could not drive down this road, but you can legally hike or bike it. Twelve years ago, however, this road was very much accessible and I can still remember it all like it was yesterday.
Gates Of Hell
Empire Mine Road has long been the subject of ghost stories. In fact, in 2005, Antioch city leaders closed and barricaded the road that legend says leads to the “Gates of Hell”. People have crafted a tale of an old insane asylum at the end of a road that has since been torn down. Legend has it that due to the large amount of death and violence at the asylum, it has now opened a portal into Hell. The pavement in front of the cement barriers is charred, which some think further displays proof of a portal to the underworld. Hikers claim an old, abandoned Insane Asylum lies at the end of this hike, and that eventually you come to another gate behind the old decrepit structure of a hospital. Unfortunately, I wasn’t brave enough then or now to check this out for certain to see if this so-called structure actually exists. Another writer says that the “Gates of Hell” were intended to be a planned, upscale, gated community in the 1950’s but the plans crumbled (literally).
It has been said that this site is private property and that trespassers will be prosecuted so I would not recommend trying to hike here.
Empire Mine Road Slaughterhouse
The second tale is the old slaughterhouse. The slaughterhouse is said to be haunted by an old man who walks the grounds. People report hearing strange noises coming from the barns, such as chains clanking and footsteps. When i visited the abandoned slaughterhouse I heard a small glimpse of this. The old slaughterhouse definitely emitted some strange sounds, most of which I attributed to its old foundation. The slaughterhouse is covered in graffiti, with vulgar phrases spray painted across the walls. When I visited in 2003, I also witnessed a noose hanging from one of the rafters — further cementing the creepy factor. The overall vibe I got from the slaughterhouse was complete terror.
Past the slaughterhouse is a rumored Gravity Hill. Like many other Gravity Hill tales, there is a story about a bus running off the road into a creek that killed many children. If you go here and put your car in neutral around the turn, it is said you get pushed up the hill by the dead children. I attempted to put my car into neutral at this spot but sadly, no children moved my vehicle. Not even the wind budged my car. It is said if you put flour your back windshield that the fingerprints of the children will appear. I did not attempt this and was unable to try it when I revisited in 2015 due to the road closure.
While none of these events have been actually documented, there has been plenty of crime on Empire Mine Road which ultimately caused the city of Antioch to shut it down. The Contra Costa Times reported an incident in 1995 where a 22-year-old man stumbled from Empire Mine Road just as the morning commute began. He was drenched in his own blood and dirt from an ambush planned by an angry ex-girlfriend. His throat had been slit, his back stabbed, and jaw broken.
According to the same article, written by Sarah Krupp, more than a dozen of rancher Jack Roddy’s cattle were killed, one with an arrow. This and 10 arson-induced fires urged city leaders to discuss closing the road.
Bottom Line: Empire Mine Road is highly paranormal due to my own experiences and others can attest to it. I would not recommend visiting this site alone or at night. Always exercise caution and obey the laws and signs posted.
Address: Empire Mine Road, Antioch, CA