Home » Road Trips » Destination of the Month » On the Road With: Monsters and Mysteries in America

On the Road With: Monsters and Mysteries in America

Olympic National Forest Monsters Mysteries

We all have tales from the road. Perhaps some are even tales of strange sights or sounds and the uncanny sense that whatever caused them is there . . . watching. This week, Rand McNally teams with Destination America’s Monsters and Mysteries in America, a TV series that travels the nation documenting first-hand accounts of encounters with legendary creatures, UFOs, and restless phantoms. The episode featuring the Pacific Northwest airs Sunday, March 31 at 10 pm E/P. To get ideas for your own mysterious road trip, read on.

Monsters and Mysteries: Pacific Northwest Episode
Here are some teasers—courtesy of the folks at Destination America. Learn more about legends of the Pacific Northwest on the all-new episode of Monsters and Mysteries in America, premiering Sunday, March 31 at 10 PM E/P on Destination America.

Sasquatch (Sierra Mountains, CA / Olympic Mountains, WA): The dark, tightly packed Pacific Northwest interior is filled with wildlife, including, some claim, Sasquatch or Bigfoot. Many adventurers are drawn to these mountains in search of this elusive creature; others have had chance, life-changing encounters with the monster.

Shanghai Tunnels (Portland, OR): Beneath the city lies a maze of tunnels once used for transporting goods between businesses and the Willamette River. Residents claim these chambers remain turbulent from horrors that took place 100 years ago; some claim to see spirits and phantom wolves in them.

Flathead Lake Monster (Flathead Lake, Polson, MT): Edging the Pacific Northwest region, Polson is a quaint town on Lake Flathead. As far back as 1889, there have been reports of a serpentine aquatic creature in the lake’s waters. Many are skeptical, but to those who have seen it, this monster is very, very real.

Rand McNally Road Trip: Supernatural Pacific Northwest
Our road trip starts in Portland, OR, heads west through woods and wine country to the Oregon coast, and then north along the Pacific Coast Highway/Scenic Byway and into Washington State and the Olympic National Forest and Park. Below is a summary; the Supernatural Pacific Northwest Road Trip itself has detailed information about each sight and attraction.

Portland: What a storied past: Native American hunting grounds, frontier community, port city, timber town, railroad hub. What a shame its old buildings can’t talk. Or can they? Many claim to hear echoes of the past in the old haunts that now house boutique hotels, cozy restaurants and brewpubs, and vintage theaters. Others claim to see shadows of the past on old town streets and the eerie passageways beneath them.

Maybe you’ll see creepy shadows, too, on a Cascade Geographic Society tour of the Shanghai Tunnels, which were reportedly used in the city’s infamous shanghai trade of kidnapping men and forcing them to work as sailors. Women were kidnapped, too, and forced to work as prostitutes. One victim, a Native American man, is thought to haunt the tunnels in the form of a wolf. The spirit of another, a Native American woman, has been sighted above the tunnels. Elsewhere in town, be mindful of disembodied laughter, cries, and footsteps as well as the occasional inexplicably misplaced item.

Oregon Coast: Two of the state’s well-regarded wineries are a little west of Portland and just off Route 26, which travels between two state parks en route to the coast. According to the Big Foot Research Organization (BFRO), there have been some 20 sightings in Washington, Columbia, Tillamook, and Clatsop counties—all of which you’ll be passing near or through along this route.

At Cannon Beach you’ll find sandy stretches, unusual rock formations, Ecola State Park, and trails that follow in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark. If it’s spring or fall, watch out for sea beasts—migrating grey whales, that is. One great place to spot them overlooks offshore Tillamoock Point Lighthouse, amid waters where ghost ships—omens of doom—have been sighted.

You can ask about sea lore and history at the maritime museum in Astoria, just shy of Washington State and about 25 miles north of Cannon Beach along the Pacific Coast Highway/Scenic Byway. The region’s oldest settlement is on the notoriously treacherous Columbia River. It’s also considered one of Oregon’s most haunted towns.

Washington State: Before heading inland to the Olympic National Forest, test your sea legs aboard The Lady Washington or the Hawaiian Chieftain, two replica late-18th-century merchant sailing vessels operated by the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority.

At the edge of the forest, Lake Quinault is a great place to hunker down for explorations, before driving still farther north to Olympic National Park’s entrances at Forks or Port Angeles. Wildlife here includes everything from salamanders to elk to black bears. According to the BFRO, there have also been a whopping 87 Bigfoot sightings in counties containing and bordering the national forest and park. Bring binoculars, and keep an eye out!

More Information

Portland Tours: In addition to its trips into the Shanghai Tunnels, the Cascade Geographic Society organizes other tours as well as seasonal festivals and events—all related to the history of Portland and its environs. Check the schedule to see what’s on offer during your trip.

Bigfoot Info: Among the believers are lifelong back-country hikers, trackers, and hunters as well as biologists and other researchers—in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere. Thanks to their investigative efforts as well as advances in research techniques and technology, Bigfoot could very well move from the realm of folklore and the preternatural into that of the natural.

The BFRO has lots of information on sightings and research. It even offers annual Bigfoot expeditions throughout the country. Reserve early; they book up fast! Derek Randles operates Ridgewalkers Unlimited, a backpacking guide service specializing in Washington State excursions. After a Bigfoot encounter years ago, Derek conducts his own research through the Olympic Project, which also offers guided Bigfoot expeditions.

Flathead Lake Monster Info: Tim Shattuck, a believer in the monster, has spent years on the lake, sometimes logging as many as 1,000 hours a year. He operates Flathead Lake Monster Charters, which means you can join him out there for some monster-hunting and some fishing. Visit the Flathead Lake Visitors & Convention Bureau for more ideas on planning a trip to Polson, MT, and its environs.