I’ve seen way too many horror movies in my life to even consider going camping…
Is that weird?
Perhaps…but all I can picture is Jason Voorhees standing with a machete outside my tent.
So it ain’t happening!
And now let’s hear from folks on AskReddit about their scariest camping stories.
“Used to camp at this [fairly] secluded spot on state land (it has since been “discovered” and become popular, unfortunately). I’ve been going to that site since I was a kid, and it had become an annual tradition for my buddies and I to kinda “unplug” and rough it for a few days.
However at the time (a little over 15 years ago now) it was relatively unknown and it was a bit of a trek to get to the campsite. Middle of the woods, but close to a lake, perfect for swimming. We’re talking no cell signal, no light pollution…you’re just out in the wilderness. My buddies and I were geeked to get out there and spend the week camping every summer.
One summer afternoon I’m the first to arrive, ready for a week of camping, drinking and swimming.
However, to my dismay, I discover that the site already has an established campsite going. There’s a couple tents set up.
Granted, it’s a fairly large campsite so I decide to haul my gear over and see if I can talk the other campers into letting us “share” the spot. Who knows, they might be cool and maybe it’ll be one big party.
I come up to the site, and….there’s no people. The tents are empty. There was evidence of a campfire, so I know there were people here not too long ago. I decide to check the lake, maybe they went swimming.
There’s a steep path that leads from the site to the lake, and as I’m walking alongside it, I discover some debris that has blown down along the path. There’s a sleeping bag, some tools, and some clothes that had been on a line but now they’re all in the dirt.
All evidence that this site has actually been set up for a while. The clothes are wet with ditch water, they’ve been sitting on the ground in the path for some time. There’s no people at the lake…and when I return to the site, upon further investigation I discover that this site has been abandoned for some time. But that doesn’t explain why they just left….everything behind. From what I could tell, the people camping here had left in a big f**king hurry.
There’s clothes, there’s food and other gear. I mean, it’s an entire camp. The tents were fairly new… I mean, it’s not just “stuff that you leave behind” unless you’re scrambling and only grabbing the essentials. What was weird to me was that the fire was out, but there was still ice in their coolers and beers, so it couldn’t have been too long ago that they were there.
My other buddies arrive and we decide to set up camp nearby and keep an eye on it, maybe the people had to leave for an emergency or something.
We wind up camping out the whole week and no evidence of people coming back to retrieve their stuff.
Luckily, the DNR happened to stop by on patrol and we filled them in our discovery. They let us know they’d be packing up the stuff and take it into a “lost and found” up at their station.
Kinda creepy, mostly weird. Who knows what happened to those people.”
“I was on a trip with the YMCA Camp Widji and on our last day on trail we got up early to hike the last few miles to where the van to pick us up was. We rounded a turn on the trail and could see the van and a weird swirling dark cloud on the trail ahead.
Then the guy in front screamed and all of us were attacked by these big black wasps. I accidentally got on in my hand and it was the size of a cicada. I only got two stings but the two guys in front got closer to ten.
We hauled a** back up trail away from the van and our counselor immediately started handing out epi pens, but none of us turned out to be allergic. We hiked the long way around the wasps to the van but man, I was shaking the whole time.”
“When I was 5ish I slept walked out my tent and off a small cliff in NC into a lake woke up down there then screamed until my parents found me.”
“10 years ago I went camping for a weekend .
Went out hiking the morning of the second day and pretty soon found ourselves off trail on a pretty steep incline along the Monashee River. We were about 100 ft up the incline.
Suddenly one of my friends lost his footing and started to slide. One the way down he took out my other friend and I watched them hit every rock and tree on the way down to the rapids.
I climbed down to find my one friend d**d on the side of the river, and the other taken away by the river. His body was found 2 weeks later 2 km from where they fell in.
His body, or whatever is left of it, is still in the river because when Search and Rescue tried to remove it from the log jam it was stuck in, the boulders on the river bank came loose and collapsed on top of his corpse.
This was a very abbreviated version of the story, but overall a very scary day.”
“This was while in the Army, doing squad maneuvers through the a** end of Fort Benning. It had been raining most of the night, but nothing “scary”.
We were halted in a small clearing, surrounded by those giant pine trees Georgia has everywhere. All of a sudden. the wind started picking up, and strobe lightning was popping all around us.
You know those wiggly guys? Well, the pine trees started doing s**t like that. I have never felt so small and completely at the will of nature as that night, and I’ve done solo open ocean sailing.
The next morning, they confirmed what we already know – we were dangerously close to an F2 tornado. There was one injury on another squad in our platoon, but otherwise the rest of us were unscathed.”
“Hiked the GR20 on Corsica. Stayed at a campsite high in the mountains.
Woke up during the night by what felt like an earthquake, and discovered that a big pack of wild horses ran straight through the site.
I really dont understand how this could happen without any of the horses tripping over from any tents.”
“I was hunting in the Yukon, and woke up at night to a bright sky and a loud roaring noise.
Crawled out of the tent and watched a meteor hit the mountain right across from us. That could have been our campsite. This was…25? 30? Years ago?
All our friends had was a map with a red circle, if we didn’t come back in a month or so, we would be somewhere in that circle.”
“Mine has nothing to do with danger or the paranormal, but with culture shock. I’m from a place where there are zero raccoons. I’d only ever seen them in a zoo or on TV. Went to America for the first time, where we camped near Yosemite park.
Was absolutely scared s**tless to see this huge, fat, meter-long rodent crawl outside of a sewage pipe while going for a pee at night. Just took a few seconds for my brain to figure out what it was looking at, in order to be able to laugh about the situation. But man, I nearly fainted.”
“In high school my friends and I used to do a lot of camping at Ragged Point. Before it had bathrooms and signs and stuff. It was basically a clearing under trees, a few yards away from the edge of the cliffs.
It was a local spot mostly, and we never saw anyone out there when we went. We would bring alcohol that we were too young to have, and hang out. We’d set up our little village of tents and do all the things we couldn’t with parental oversight.
One night, I think we’d been there for 3 nights already, and not seen anyone else. It started raining so we’d mostly retreated to our tents and went to sleep. In the early morning hours we started hearing distant drums. No talking, just really deep, rhythmic drums. Slowly getting closer and closer. We’re a mixed group of teenagers, in the pitch black, stormy night, alone.
It sounded ( to the scared little a**holes we were) like sacrificial drums coming our way. At least that’s what my boyfriend at the time concluded, and once the idea had been introduced, that’s what I thought too! Whispers from tent to tent ensued, but we weren’t all that close together, because how could we get busy if we were? We were also still d**nk.
Some people panicked and fled their tents to go to the biggest tent. I convinced my boyfriend to stay inside our tent, initially. Better not to flock together and make an easy single target like the dumb blonde in the horror movie who panics and gives away their position. Nobody slept much that night, lol. The drummers stopped just out of sight, but kept up until dawn.
Once it got light we wanted to get the heck out of there asap. We threw all our c**p together as quietly as possible, and debated on the safest way to get from the cliffs to our cars, which would take us past the unseen threat.
Turns out, a bunch of hippies with giant drums had decided to go camping, in the middle of the night, in a storm, without tents. They just hit the tree line and stayed there. Drumming away. They didn’t even wake up when our huddled group scurried past and started hysterically laughing from relief.
That was terrifying at the time, but one of our favorite stories to share in the years since.”
“I used to do a lot of solo camping in the Ocala National Forest in Florida. On a long weekend trip I found a nice primitive campground about 20 minutes from a paved road and set up camp.
On the third night around 2 am I woke up to a vehicle barreling down a dirt road near the camp area. I heard it stop and someone got out. They traipsed through the woods to where my tent was and stood outside the tent door for a fairly long time. long enough for me to hear a distinct guttural breathing sound and some groans as they stood outside the tent door.
I had a gun with me and it was pointed directly at the area i heard the breathing. they continued to stand there for a long time, like 10 minutes. i was going to say something but didn’t want to exacerbate the situation. I just remained quite. I heard a heavy sigh and they walked away. After i heard the vehicle leave i just continued to lay motionless and quite for about an hour before i decided to pack up and leave.
There is always a body or two showing up in the deep woods of Ocala, and I often see gangs of prisoners walking lines in the brush to look for evidence of wrongdoings but i never thought my self involved. I haven’t been back since and i only solo camp in areas close to or in state parks.
“Went camping with my dad, his friend, and his step son who I’m still good friends with to this day. My dad’s friend was a funny, friendly caring guy but definitely was rough around the edges.
Well 20 years later he was indicted for m**dering his sister with a conch shell the day before our camping trip. We spent a whole weekend with a m**derer who had no remorse and showed no signs of being in any distress.
Boofa Dave as we used to call him is actually a cold blooded m**derer that spent a weekend alone with us in the woods after k**ling his own sister.
“Heard someone screaming for help coming from the lake, my father and I went down to the edge to investigate and found a distressed man who told us his friends had flipped their canoe in the middle of the lake and didn’t have life jackets.
It was also like midnight so I have no idea what they were doing out there. There was a small boat on the shore with keys in it so we told the guy to take it and rescue his friends, the owner came down when he heard it start up but he totally understood. Thankfully they were saved but those screams were haunting.
Another terrifying thing was coming face to face with a mother moose and her child about 30 feet away on a trail in the rocky mountains, I stood completely still and didn’t make a sound but man I’ve never been so scared of an animal, moose are f**king massive.”
What’s your scariest camping story?
Talk to us in the comments and let us know.
Thanks a lot!