September 24, 2019 | Delaney Caulfield

People Share Their Most Terrifying Camping Experiences

There’s something wholesome about spending a weekend outdoors. But there's also nothing spookier than being alone in nature. After all, you just never know what could be lurking in those woods—as these Redditors found out the hard way,

1. Nature’s out There Trying to Kill Us

I went camping in Ginnie Springs in Florida about 10 years ago. Sometime at night, I heard that sound you hear in movies of a huge tree falling. Didn't think anything of it. About 10 minutes later, I started hearing lots of people talking outside my tent, so I got out—and discovered the dark truth. The tree fell on someone's tent and killed them. A helicopter had to come and airlift them out.

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2. Midnight Visitor

It was weird as heck. My brother, roommate, and I went camping out of the blue and got woken up in the middle of the night by some guy banging around and screaming. They woke me up and we listened as he approached our tent, so my brother cocked his pistol and said "We're sleeping, go away." A few minutes later, the cops come and tell him to drop the pole he had. He had a pole!?

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3. Savior Dogs

When I was a kid, around eight or nine, my Mom, Grandma, brothers and I went camping at a small camping site about two hours from the town we lived in. We went there a lot and even had a particular campsite we had slowly built up over the years. On this particular trip, we had my Aunt and Uncle's dogs with us since they were doing military tours.

They were both well-trained bird dogs, but usually really calm and friendly. The first night on this particular trip, Star starts growling in the tent at about 1 in the morning. My Mom, thinking something is outside, arms herself and investigates with the dogs. As she gets out of the tent, Star and Ariel would absolutely not let her move to the other edge of the campsite.

They both get into attack position while herding my Mom towards the car. This is while also keeping themselves in front of the tent. By this point, we are all up with a group of kids under 10 freaking out. For a reason she can't even explain today, my Mother packs up camp and gets us all into the car to head home. We thought we were safe—but we weren't.

After about ten minutes out of the campsite, a car starts following us and the dogs get in the back and just growl. By this point, everyone was in borderline panic mode and my brothers were crying the entire car ride home. As the town comes into view, you have to cross a huge bridge to drive in. The car was still following us.

As a kid, you make up stories to tell yourself that nothing is wrong and the car behind you is just full of scared people, too. Yet as we start across the bridge, the car stops and just turns around, speeding back the way we came. We stopped at a gas station and everyone was in near meltdown mode. Camping is no longer my thing.

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4. Imagine the Conversations

In the early 90s, I went camping with my girl scout troop. Turns out, the Grateful Dead were playing nearby and we ended up camping with a bunch of deadheads. We all shared a common bathroom. We were exposed to lots of new things that weekend.

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5. Keep on Trucking

I was camping in a valley by myself with no cell service. I stayed late on a trail and ran into a nice local dude as it was getting dark. He showed me a local camping spot close to the road and the river, but camouflaged. I had a fire, drank beer, and listened to my friend’s comedy podcast. I was loud and visible. I had no idea what was coming next. 

Because it was dark already, I decided to sleep in the back of my truck under my topper next to all of my gear as opposed to setting up my tent. The next morning I made a fire, cracked a beer, and started making breakfast. Then I notice that there is a man at the edge of my camp. He comes closer, but never looks directly at me.

This dude looks homeless. He has a long, ratty beard and has at least a hundred plastic grocery bags tied all over his clothes. I comment about how nice the day is. No response from him. I offer him breakfast. Nothing. He sort of paces around the perimeter of my camp. I offer him a beer. But he just turns around.

The dude is just standing there, back to me, wandering around. I’m realizing that there isn’t going to be any good happenings. I had my bear spray and buck knife super close. I give him an ultimatum, “Man, you are either going to acknowledge me or leave immediately!” He ignores me. I grab the bear mace and walk a few steps towards him.

He sulked away and I threw my stuff in my truck and left that place right quick. I wonder if he had watched me during the night, and I thank my laziness for staying in my truck instead of a tent.

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6. It’s Hard out There for a Mole

It was 2 AM, pitch dark, low fire. We heard rustling in the woods. We all had our flashlights pan out, when all of a sudden a mole comes running towards us and INTO the fire. Like, right into it. We could hear it sizzling while we all were screaming! The next day, the charred body was buried with a proper funeral. Sorry, you crazy dude.

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7. Oh Dear

I went camping with my friends back in high school. We hiked way out into the woods and collapsed, exhausted, into our tents. Middle of the night, I hear something outside my tent. Then another something, and another, all around the tent. I had an ominous idea of what it was. It sounded so much to me like something stalking up to our tent and surrounding it.

I gathered my courage and looked out, shining my flashlight into the pitch-black darkness. All I could see in the dark was shining eyes looking back at me. Not little eyes or eyes close to the ground, but almost man height and large. Turned out it was a herd of deer.

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8. "Lucky" Encounter

My wife and I were camping alone in a kind of remote area, but there were little campsites made by the parks department that were flat and clear. We found a great-looking spot, but it was right on a lake, which I thought we should avoid. At the same time, we were beginner backpackers and figured the parks department wouldn't make a spot there if it wasn't safe. We were so wrong.

I was feeling a little beat so I took a short nap while my wife read a book. When I woke up, she told me that somebody was walking around in our campsite. I looked around but didn't see anything. There were some other campsites maybe 500 feet away so I figured it was another camper checking the place out. Oh no, not at all.

Late that night, after we'd gone to bed for the night, it was drizzling a little rain and I was sort of half asleep. Then I realized that if I listened really closely, I could hear someone walking around our campsite, very, very quietly. I didn't have a knife or any sort of weapon, and I started freaking out. I carefully woke my wife up to get her ready and we listened together.

Then suddenly we heard it, it sounded like a cat cleaning itself. Then more walking around in circles around the tent. Then the sound of a large cat lapping up water just feet from our tent. Then walking back to the tent, immediately beside me. I heard it flop down on the ground. Cat owners know how a relaxed cat flops over. It was like that but WAY bigger.

I was trying to control my breathing as carefully as I could so it wouldn't hear me, but I was so panicked it was hard to do. It hung around for what seemed like a long time. I really had to pee, but I wasn't ready to move or breathe, let alone go out there. The scariest part is that the whole time, it was so quiet that if you didn't concentrate, you couldn't be sure that it was even there.

Eventually, I was sure I hadn't heard it in a long time, so I very cautiously poked my head out. Didn't see anything (it was pitch black), did my business, went back to bed. The next morning, we get up and there are massive paw prints in our campsite. Looks just like a cat's paw print, but more like eight inches across.

Later, after getting home, I called the park ranger to let them know in case they're monitoring encounters with dangerous animals or something. They told me it must have been a mountain lion, and how lucky I was to have an encounter with one (!!). When I think about my wife telling me that someone was in our campsite around 12 hours earlier, it creeps me right out to think that we might have been stalked by a mountain lion for some time.

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9. Silly, Clumsy Bear

My parents' story, not mine. They were on a canoe trip way up in nowhere, Saskatchewan, far from any semblance of civilization. One morning, they hear a rustling outside their tent. Still half asleep, my dad sits up and tries to figure out what is going on. The noise is loud, and very close. Before he can collect himself enough to go investigate, the worst happens.

His whole side of the tent collapses in on top of him. The weight lifted quickly. Now entirely awake, my parents scrambled to open the tent flap and figure out what was going on. About ten feet away was a spooked black bear, staring confused and concerned at the tent. After being yelled at a bit, it ran off. We figure it had been foraging in the bushes right behind the tent and lost its balance. So my dad can truthfully say he has been sat on by a bear.

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10. Ungored and Terrified

We like to hike 3-5 miles down a trailhead in deep Georgia. One night, the temperature dropped into the low 20s, which is really rare for mid-fall. We got a solid fire going, and the heat mixed with a full belly put us all to sleep. I woke up to my buddy tapping my foot with a stick. I looked up at him and he nodded toward the fire. When I saw it, my jaw dropped. 

There were two wild boar kicking up dirt around the dying fire. We didn't have any sort of weaponry except a hand axe that was out of our reach. My friend and I laid there, completely silent, watching these two for about an hour till the fire died completely down and they moved on. If you don't know, wild boars in Georgia are easily 150 pounds, pissed all the time, and prone to gore literally anything. We were reaaaally lucky.

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11. We All Have Our Own Raccoon Conspiracies

My time in the Army meant I spent a ton of time in the woods of upstate NY. I remember many nights waking up to things reaching into my pockets and pulling things from my kit. I’d wake up to a raccoon pillaging my things, literally unzipping pouches and such. I still swear to this day they were organized, rallied behind this giant raccoon jerk who would sit outside and keep guard and coordinate them.

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12. Pony up

My family went camping every summer when I was growing up. We usually bounced between Virginia Beach, Assateague, and this god awful place called Westmoreland. One trip we were in Assateague, near the beach, and we had two tents set up in different parts of the site. Some time in the middle of the night my mom woke up, which woke me.

She was sitting up straight but completely still, and I looked over at what she was staring at. In the moonlight there was the silhouette of what looked like an old woman looking into our tent. Long wiry hair and everything. I was young, so it terrified me, and I started asking my mom what that was and who was outside.

Once I made noise, it spooked the "old woman" and she took off, and that's when we realized she was actually one of the feral ponies that live on the island. We had set up that particular tent on one of their trails, and they were going down to the beach.

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13. Taste the Rainbow

The creepiest was camping with my best friend. We were in a semi-remote camping area. Driveable usually to get to it, but definitely only with a 4x4. It was a semi-maintained camping area. There were a couple of fire pits, a few rotten picnic tables, and a run down to the outhouse. Parks checked this place once a year or so.

So we get there and start setting up when buddy wanders over to the outhouse and opens the door. He stands there for a second or two, closes the door, and goes to the second one. He goes in and comes out a few minutes later. He comes back to me and says "Go check out that first one." I assume someone defecated on the floor or an animal got stuck in there and died or something. It was even weirder.

Three full backpacks. And I am talking big bags. Like, the bag I have that size I use for week-long trips. So we are nosy, and we open them up. Two are full of good-quality gear, nothing unusual. But the third? The third is full of skittles. Bulk bags. Small bags. Regular. Tropical. Sour. Every flavor and size of bag you can imagine. Just full of freaking skittles.

We camped for four days. Never saw a soul. Bags still there when we left. Who left all that gear? Why did one person pack 80 liters of skittles? Don’t know. But it was weird.

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14. Humans Like to Sniff Stuff Too

I went on a group camping trip in the middle of nowhere Arizona, only to awake and hear something sniffing at the outside of our tent. My immediate reaction was that it was likely a bear or some animal that came across our site. I thought maybe my friends didn't tie up the garbage. Seconds later, I can hear the sniffing go to the tent next to ours.

Everyone in my tent holds hands quietly to acknowledge that we are all awake and aware of what’s happening outside. Moments later, a friend in another tent popped out and started to scream and make noise, hoping it would scare off whatever animal was in our site. Turns out, it wasn’t an animal at all, it was something else entirely.

It was some guy who had gone through our coolers and also decided it’d be okay to sniff our tents. Our friend chased him off and we immediately packed our stuff and left.

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15. Dogs Always Know

My dog absolutely lost it on a nice hike. Like, she was scared for her life, and would have run out into the woods had she not been on a leash. Lucky that she didn’t pull me over and run away anyway. My mom and I think we know what happened. We are pretty sure there must have been a mountain lion stalking us, and the dog could smell it.

Scary as heck, because we didn’t see anything, and if it had been one of us alone, who knows what would have happened.

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16. Stranger in the Night...

I live in a rural town surrounded by mountains and forests, so camping is almost a weekly event, even in winter. The one I can’t shake is when me and a friend broke off from our group of other 16-19-year-olds to camp by a better fishing spot about a mile away. We only brought one tent for the group, so we built a lean-to against a large boulder in a clearing.

I couldn’t sleep because I had an eerie feeling. The feeling something was watching us. I assumed it was a mountain lion, which isn’t that big of deal considering their behavior, so I threw some more logs on the fire. I looked up from the fire, and under the light of a full moon, there was a man standing at the edge of the clearing about 80 yards away.

I was frozen and couldn’t take my eyes off him while he assumedly stared back. He walked off in the opposite direction after about a minute or two. I doubt he had any ill intentions, but I sat there holding my friend’s 357 the whole night.

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17. Locked and Loaded

I was out walking around the bush hunting for upland birds. I was walking through a bit of a valley as a shortcut when I came across a guy standing on the trail with an AR-15 at the ready position. Instantly, all the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I instinctively knew this wasn't a place I wanted to be, but I tried my best to stay calm. It did not go well. 

"Hey, just out bird hunting, how are you doing?" "Fine...long pause...I'm hunting deer." Deer season wasn't open, AR-15s are not legal for deer, and he wasn't dressed for deer hunting. As a matter of fact, he looked homeless, hadn't changed his clothes or bathed or shaved in several days obviously, and looked emaciated. He was utterly terrifying.

"Do you know the best way for me to go to find some birds?" "Well...I imagine you might find some back the way you came." His voice got noticeably sharper with the "back the way you came," and I obviously took the hint. I don't know if there was a drug lab or what just down the trail, but I was certainly happy to leave. I reported the incident to the sheriff the next day, but I don't know that anything ever came of it.

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18. Turn Back

I was canoe camping with a friend in Michigan. We camped at a fire trail and saw some guys in a Jeep and Amish people in a wagon, but nothing after dark. We were near the river bank, so we thought people would come by later. Around midnight, I hear a car coming down the fire lane, stopping, backing up, pulling forward, backing up, pulling forward, backing up.

This goes on for like five minutes at a time and they keep getting closer. Eventually, they're at the area right above us, pulling forward, backing up, pulling forward, backing up, and I can see their lights shining. My friend is still asleep, but I try to shake her leg to wake her up. Then they drive down to the river bank, pulling forward, backing up until they are facing our tent, headlights shining.

I really didn't want to confront them, as we were two girls alone without weapons, but I leaned over my passed-out friend and unzipped the tent. It was two guys in a pickup truck. They saw me and backed up, pulled forward, and continued their weird truck dance all the way back out of earshot—the whole time pulling forward, backing up, pulling forward, backing up. It will haunt me for the rest of my days.

What did they want, what were they doing, why did seeing me peek out of the tent turn them around?

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19. This Guy Is a Legend

My uncle likes to ride dirt bikes in the desert with friends. One morning after they woke up, my uncle went outside the trailer to start the generator and saw some guy sitting in one of the folding chairs they brought. The fire they had put out last night was now smoldering, and when my uncle looked around, he didn't see any vehicle the guy could have ridden in on.

So he woke up the other guys and they woke the dude up. When the stranger looked up, he asked them a strange question. He asked if he could get a ride back to the camp he was staying at. One of them agreed, and he and my uncle drove him three miles to another campsite. They got there and it all started to make disturbing sense.

There were state troopers there. It turns out he had been drinking super hard and then took a golf cart and drove off into the night. Midway through, he ran out of gas, so he just got off and walked to my uncle's trailer.

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20. Thunder and Lightning, Oh My!

I used to go backpacking all the time in the mountains. I have some good stories, but hands down the scariest thing I’ve ever encountered is lightning. First real experience was at Philmont in New Mexico. Great backpacking area, lots of fun if you’re a scout. Not fun when it storms. My group was eating dinner one night when lightning struck a tree about 50 feet from us.

It was unexpected, and the sun was still shining through. It just shredded the tree and all of us jumped. Dinner ended up in the dirt. We had a couple other close experiences during those two weeks, but that was the closest.

Second and most terrifying experience was when we were in King’s Canyon. At about 2 am, I was awoken by a flash of light so bright I swear I could see the tent through my eyelids. Before I could even think, the thunder roared so loudly I thought the Earth was tearing itself apart. It’s hard to accurately describe the sheer power and sound that comes from being right next to a lightning strike.

The night didn’t end there, either. We were directly under the storm and the lightning just kept coming. The thunder never ceased to roll and the rain was torrential. The lightning was so constant, you could almost see through the walls of the tent into the forest around us. It was daylight out there. I thought I was going to die that night.

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21. Cow Creep

I once had to pee and a rogue cow that was roaming the woods stared at me dead in the eyes while I was squatting. It was pretty disturbing and I’m pretty sure it went and told all of its cow friends.

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22. A Cry for Help

I work as a counselor at a summer camp in southern California. The place is very out in the woods, so we get all sorts of animals wandering through, from deer and foxes, coyotes howling in the distance, to a mountain lion that's been spotted in the area. But there's something else. The camp also occasionally has a haunted vibe.

There are a couple creepy and weird spots, some things in the area that we think show the place has been inhabited in the past, ghost stories, etc. One night after putting my kids to bed, I was standing outside our cabin talking to another counselor when my friend Sadie comes running by with her entire teenage girls' cabin, maybe 12 of them.

They were all dressed in black and freaking the heck out. She screams at me that she thought they heard a ghost and once her kids were asleep, she'd meet me back here to explain and investigate. Sadie is normally the level-headed type and does not freak out easily, so this really caught my attention. She meets me back by my cabin maybe 30 minutes later and explains what was going on.

She took her campers on a night hike, had them all dress up in black and pretend to be ninjas. All was fun until on their way back, they passed a particularly dark part of the trail. They heard off in the distance, just beyond the treeline, what sounded like a faint "help!" from a small child. But that was just the beginning of the nightmare.

Each time they heard it, it got more and more distorted until it no longer sounded human. Even so, it still sounded like a child yelling "help" in the distance. Naturally, they freaked right out and ran. Me and Sadie decide to be good counselors and go investigate the sound of a small child yelling "help." As we walk over to the area of the trail, we hear it.

It didn't sound like a small child anymore. It sounded like a demon screeching out its best impression of a child, and it didn't sound like it was coming from any source, but more like it was coming from an entire mountain side. We booked it back to the safety of the main part of camp, where we tell this story to anyone who will listen.

The next day, the camp director had a meeting where they told us to tell our campers not to freak out at the sound of bobcats in the forest. They are harmless, they told us, but they do still tend to make a high-pitched yelping sound at night. Oh. My. God. Well, our friends wouldn't let us live that one down all summer.

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23. A Stink That Saves

We drove cross country to go to Glacier National Park, and mid-drive the park caught on fire. We got there and they directed us to the west side of the park because that was still open. We spent the night there and all was well. At first. In the morning, we decided to do a little hiking and swim in a lake. It was beautiful, but ash was falling like snow.

It should have been alarming, but there were other people around, at least for a while, and we figured if it was something serious certainly someone would have told us...After swimming, we decided to go down to a little town we saw because they had a laundromat. We thought we might treat ourselves to some clean clothes and a lunch or something.

We packed up the car and tent and drove down. At that point, there was a flurry of activity and our car was stopped. As they halted us, they were checking lists to mark us off...because the park had been evacuated and we were "missing." Turns out, the fire had turned and was very close to us. Like, so close that as we drove down and out we could see flames.

We never really could comprehend how totally screwed we almost were. And it was all because I was annoyed that one guy on the trip kept wearing just one pair of shorts. He had other clothes he claimed were dirty, but kept saying the shorts weren't dirty. They were; he smelled. He needed to wash something so I made it out like I wanted to do everyone's laundry even though I just wanted to wash something for him in hopes he would change. If I hadn't been so "excited" about laundry, we'd have never left.

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24. Party Animal

This was not hiking, but it was in a remote place in the woods. My uncle built a house out on some acreage he has that is pretty far out there. There is not another house within two miles of his at least, and most of that is woods and cow pastures. But, his place is beautiful. He built it all by hand and has a wonderful wraparound deck, perfect for family get-togethers.

We were all out there, probably 20 adults and five or six kids, for a party one day. It was one of those summer times when it is blazing hot but the light breeze is cool enough that you don't notice it after a while. I had been there hanging out all day when I was asked to run into town and grab some more groceries.

So, I packed up and headed out. Got the groceries and everything was fine. As I drove back, it was starting to get dark and it was at a time of year when dark comes fast. It was pitch black out there when I finally arrived. So at first, I couldn't see what had gone horribly wrong. As I pull up, I notice something is sitting in front of my car, facing the house.

It was not disturbed by my headlights, but it does glance back at me once. It is a freaking panther. Just chilling there, watching the party. And, as I sit there for a second, watching it, I notice that it has specifically placed itself near the edge where all the kids are running around. After I have my headlights on it for a minute or so, it kind of looked back at me again as if to say, "Ok, I was caught. Oh well."

And then it gave the most human-looking sigh and just walked off into the woods. I sat there for a bit before building myself up to getting out of my car and going to the party and telling everyone.

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25. Alpha Bear Supreme

Dawn. Noises outside...Hear a tent rip. About to investigate. Someone starts screaming as I'm about to exit my tent. Grab my walking stick...get out to see a bear pulling a backpack out of a tent. Everyone is up now and getting outside. I yell "HEY!" as loud as I can. Bear looks at me, I start running at him. This next part is legendary.

Bear half stands up and kind of does a double take, then cowers into the bushes. From that point on, my friends called me "alpha bear." These days it's just bear.

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26. Friendly Stranger

We had a guy slip in and join our backpacking trip. We went to sleep, woke up the next day, and he was there in our campsite in his tent. He was friendly, but it was still odd. When we went to sleep, it was like 10 pm and storming, so I'm not sure when or how he got there and set up a tent.

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27. There’s Evil in Them Thar Woods

In the late 80s I was in my early 20s, and two friends and I went camping in central Florida. Two of us were working for the Park Service at that time, so we were able to camp for free in other parks in the state. Both of us had done a lot of camping before. Me, I grew up camping with my family on every single vacation, all over the state.

For the other friend with us, this was her first camping trip ever. We were camping in the youth area, which was empty that weekend and was quieter and more isolated than the regular campsites. Later in the afternoon on the second day of our trip, we were all sort of spread out in the area of the campsite, being within shouting distance but enjoying a little solitude.

I was collecting firewood. Every now and then, I'd kind of feel like someone was watching me. I'd look around, see and hear nothing, and then shrug it off and go back to what I was doing. Later on around sunset, we had the bonfire started. One of the rangers who lived on-site about a quarter-mile away came over with a truckload of firewood and a six-pack of beer.

We all sat around talking for awhile. Well after dark, we could suddenly hear what was probably a bunch of teenagers fooling around on one of the trails a couple miles away. Since the trails were closed at sunset, the ranger and my coworker drove off to shoo them back to their campsites. My other friend and I were just relaxing around the fire, talking a little, mostly enjoying the night and the peace and quiet.

All of a sudden, I had a cold chill go over me. The hair stood up on the back of my neck, and out of nowhere I was terrified. I tried to ignore it, but it kept building. I didn't say anything to my friend since I didn't want to scare her. Then I glanced over at her just as she glanced at me, and she said, "Do you feel that?!" I said, "Yeah...I think maybe we'd better go to the car."

We both felt like we were in deadly danger, but no idea from what. We started walking at a casual pace, not wanting to appear scared, then halfway to the car we looked at each other again and simultaneously broke into a dead run. We reached the car, jumped in and locked the doors, and turned on the headlights.

I sat there with my pistol, feeling like it was totally inadequate for whatever was out there. We both just sat looking straight ahead—we were afraid to look around. I had the feeling at one point that if I turned my head and looked out the window, I'd see something that would drive me insane. I don't know how long we sat there.

It was probably just a few minutes, but it felt like forever. Then it just...left. We could actually feel it going away. A few minutes after that, the other two came back in the truck. We kind of laughed it off afterward, but I'll tell you, I've never been that scared before or since. I've faced a lot in my life and NOTHING has so completely terrified me like that. I don't know what it was, but I'm still convinced we were in terrible danger.

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28. Don't Cage Me

I went camping by myself way out in the middle of nowhere in north central PA. Drove on dirt forest service roads for over an hour and then hiked about 6 miles in on a barely recognizable trail. There were no signs anyone had been in the area recently. The trail was almost completely overgrown, no footprints, spiderwebs everywhere, etc.

I didn't really have a planned stopping point, I was just looking for a nice place to camp, but the trail followed a creek in a valley and was very rocky and not flat. As the sun was starting to set, I came upon a fork in the creek, with a nice flat spot just on the other side. As I got closer, I saw all sorts of stuff laying about. I crossed the creek and started looking around.

There was a tarp on the ground by a stone fire ring, a log about a foot in diameter that had been chopped with an axe. A little bit away I found the entire contents of what you would imagine to find in a hikers backpack: food, cooking set, camping pad, first aid kit, etc., all strewn about on the ground, but no backpack in sight.

There was a pile of clothes down by the creek that looked like it had sat through the last rain, which was the day prior, and a towel hanging from a tree. There was an area that had clearly been used as a toilet, for maybe 10-14 days based on the amount of toilet paper piles. But that was far from the strangest thing I saw that day. 

The strangest thing was this "cage" about four-foot square, made out of saplings tied together. It was framed where the edges of a cube would be, and then had cross bars diagonally on each face. But it wouldn't have kept anything inside because of how much open space there was, and obviously wouldn't have been very sturdy since it was only made from saplings.

I ended up deciding to set up camp there because it was nearly dark and I didn't really have much choice unless I wanted to hike out in the dark on an unrecognizable trail. I had a 12" knife on me and I kept that thing in one hand the whole time I was there, thinking some crazy guy was gonna jump out and try to eat me.

All night I barely slept and kept thinking I was hearing things, and then as soon as the sun came up I packed up and got the heck out of there. Everything turned out fine, no crazy cannibals or anything, but it still really bugs me because I don't know what that stupid wooden cube frame cage thing was. I did try to find out.

I called the forest service for the area and told them about it, even sent them pictures. They said they'd send a ranger in to check it out and clean it up, but I never followed up to see if they figured out what it was. The ranger on the phone told me it was probably either someone with a still nearby, someone growing pot, or just some loner living out in the woods.

I roamed up the sides of the valley before I set up camp and didn't see anything, a still seems unlikely because of how far you would have to carry equipment in, and the area isn't really great for growing pot. So maybe it was just some guy living out in the woods. But why the cage??? It's going to drive me crazy, I know it is.

Nature-Walking Encounters FactsShuttterstock

29. This Is a Horror Movie

When I was younger, around 14 or 15 years old, my family used to camp at a state park. Every night, my friend and I would walk through the woods. We called this "the ritual." This particular night, we decided to walk further into the woods than usual. We had flashlights, but we liked to try and navigate through the woods with them turned off. This was a horrible mistake.

We were about half a mile from the nearest campsite when we heard soft whispering behind us. Obviously, we hit the flashlights and spun around. Didn't see anything. So we kept walking and we hear it again. This time, we stop and look around a bit before we decided to head back to our campsite. Then we see what's whispering.

It's a lady crawling on the ground whispering just random words. She was wearing dark clothes and was covered in dirt. When she sees that we notice her, she stands up and declares that she is looking for her campsite. We ended up walking her back to the campground and tried helping her find her group. Turns out, she was just got lost trying to find a bathroom.

Her friends didn't even notice she was missing and if we didn't go that far into the woods, she would have been lost all night. It was pretty creepy.

Terrifying Camping Experiences facts Shutterstock

30. It Was a Warning

I was camping alone in a bit of secluded bushland, with lots of sticks and leaf litter. I heard a strange plopping noise during the night, but no other noises really. Well, I wake up to see a decapitated kangaroo’s head next to the tent that obviously wasn't there when I put the tent up. No explanation. Got the heck out of there.

Travel Horror Stories factsShutterstock

31. Furry Friend

Safari guide here. Woke up one morning with "something" very warm, rather soft, and comfy on my back. It took me far too long to realize the danger I was in. I realized there was some kind of animal on top of me. It was a really cold winter night. As I moved a bit, I heard my buddy speaking to me from his tent.

He spoke a bit hushed, and with a definite tremble in his voice. "Hey, are you awake?" Stupid me replied with a strong voice: "Yes." The animal next to me got up, and (luckily) ran away. It was a big male lion.

Terrifying Camping Experiences facts Pixabay

32. Night Visions

I was camping in Glacier National Park a few years ago and decided to wake up early at night to catch the Perseids meteor shower. I stepped out of my tent and turned on my headlamp to see five pairs of glowing eyes staring back at me. It ended up being the same family of goats I saw when I set up my campsite. Still not what you want to see in the darkness.

Terrifying Camping Experiences factsShutterstock

33. Nope!

I was driving in the Sierras and found a campground a few miles off the 395. The place was empty except for this one old car in a spot. I set up camp and a dog appears and just stares at me. After a bit, I made a sudden movement to scare it off. It was absolutely the wrong move. Dog proceeds to bark wildly. Then I hear some male voices. I hear one guy say, “Oh, we’re gonna have some fun tonight.”

I packed up and split in record time.

Terrifying Camping Experiences factsShutterstock


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