Spook Hill, Lake Wales, Florida
Spook Hill, Lake Wales, Florida | Photo Credit: Wikimedia - Averette

Just outside of Lake Wales, drivers will find a mysterious place along the lonely road. Locals call it Spook Hill, and it’s an optical illusion nestled in the Central Florida landscape. It has been a tourist attraction for decades. Drivers find that their car will roll backward up the hill which is a usual occurrence.


The legend of how Spook Hill came to be gravity hill dates back many, many years. While no one is quite sure the exact time, it is traced to Native American stories of early inhabitants of the area, long before Florida was even a state. The story goes that a huge alligator had been terrorizing the tribe for years and a warrior was ready to put an end to it all. One day, the warrior chief went to battle with the large alligator. The two fought for hours and eventually he killed the alligator but later succumb to his own wounds. Their battle was so intense that they dug out a valley in the swamp that is still seen today. The warrior’s tribe buried him on the northern ridge of the hill.

Many years later, pioneers began settling in Florida. As a group of settlers were traveling along the Old Army Road, they noticed that their horses were struggling to get up a very small incline in the road leading up the hill. Nervous about the encounter, the settlers began referring to it as “Spook Hill” which stuck.

Around 1950, as more people were moving and traveling to the Sunshine State, Spook Hill became a popular attraction. Visitors found it very intriguing to be able to park their car in neutral at the bottom of the hill and roll to the top.

Spook Hill, Lake Wales, Florida
Spook Hill, Lake Wales, Florida | Photo Credit: Wikimedia – Ebyabe

The local community did not deter from the increasing fame of the hill and its elaborate legend. The nearby school that is in viewing distance of the site was called “Spook Hill Elementary” and the mascot was creatively made from Casper the Friendly Ghost.

Spook Hill has been made famous through television and news media. It has been highlighted in national publications such as the Wall Street Journal and CBS Morning News with Charles Osgood. The weird attraction still gets many visitors each year who can’t wait to try their turn at rolling backward up the gravity hill. It is also the only known gravity hill in Florida.

Plan Your Visit

Spook Hill is located at 321 Dr JA Wiltshire Avenue in Lake Wales, Florida. It is free to visit. There is a large arch over the road that marks the spot.

Visitors can park their car in neutral on the white line and wait for their car to roll backward. Please use caution as this is an active roadway.

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