Devil's Tramping Ground – Bear Creek, North Carolina - Atlas Obscura

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Devil's Tramping Ground

Bear Creek, North Carolina

A 120-year-old legend concerning an empty circular patch in the North Carolina woods. 


Set back from the main road is an empty patch of woods, a dusty circle, barren of plant life, about 15’ wide where, according to stories dating back to 1882, the devil comes to dance. The stories go on to say nothing will grow there and animals won’t cross this empty patch of woods.

Known as the Devil’s Tramping Ground, perhaps the most popular legend about the strip of grass is that if one places anything in the center, no matter how heavy it is, when one comes back the next day, it’s been thrown back out overnight, so the Devil has room to dance, and people say they have witnessed red glowing eyes in the middle of the circle.

However, a few years back a journalist from the Greensboro paper spent the night in a tent smack in the middle of it with his two dogs to disprove the story. The reporter stayed the night, though he reported hearing ghostly footsteps circling his tent.

All of which leaves one wondering whether the circle represents the territory of some nocturnal animal, or perhaps the duty of spooking folks has been passed down from generation to generation by locals. Or possibly the tramping grounds are simply so imbued with legend that the stories simply seem to come true in the minds of the viewers.

Keep an eye out for beer cans, as this spot is a favorite of both the devil and local teenagers.

Know Before You Go

The Devil's Tramping Ground is approximately 50 (80 km) miles south of Greensboro, NC. From NC 421 south turn right onto State Route 902. Follow for about 7 miles (11 km). Turn left on Devil's Tramping Grounds Rd. The road is marked by an official DOT "green sign" that now points toward the site. Follow for 1.7 miles (2.7 km). You should see a gravel pull-off on the left. The Devil's Tramping Ground is about 150 feet (45 m) down the dirt path.

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