7 Creepy Hiking and Backpacking Encounters That Will Freak The Heck Out Of You

If you’re out in the woods, there’s a good chance you might run into some strange and downright terrifying things, whether that’s weird lights, unexplainable noises, or ghostly figures. Hikers in an online forum spoke about the creepiest experiences they’ve ever had on a trail, and, well, let’s just say it’ll make you thankful to be in the comfort of your own home.

1. Slashed Tires

camper van at campsite
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Imagine setting up camp in the remote wilderness of Colorado and finding your tires slashed. That’s what happened to this man and his seven friends.

He explained that they had driven an hour and a half down a forest service road and didn’t see another soul. “You could see headlights and hear cars from miles away from our campsite – it’s not like somebody could have snuck up unnoticed.”

After eating, they returned to their vehicles before “hitting up their tents,” and all three cars had their front tires slashed! It scared them, and they decided to put their spare tires on and get out of there while one friend “stood watch” with his gun.

There was no cell service, and they were terrified. It appeared as though a box cutter was used. They informed the police after they scattered, who explained it was great they packed up, but there was nothing they could do.

Related: 10 Worst Traveling Experiences of All Time

2. Ghillie Suit

Night Tent Camping in Canyon: Male Traveler Uses Laptop Computer Sitting by Campfire. Man on Digital Remote Work, e-shopping, ecommerce, Using Internet, Social Media Posting on Vacation Trip
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Gorodenkoff

One British hiker reminisced about spending summers bouldering (climbing) with friends in a large forest not far from his home. Once, his friend left her rucksack and climbing gear outside her tent before bed.

The following morning, they discovered her chalk powder, boots, and a few articles of clothing had disappeared. They didn’t want to believe they’d been stolen and decided not to read any more into it than some animal likely rummaged through her things.

A year later, they returned and set up camp. He explained it was pitch dark except for their campfire. He wandered off for a slash (urinate) and discovered a weird situation.

A man in a full-on ghillie suit (sniper’s wear) was lying on his stomach, looking directly toward their campsite. “I stood there frozen as this dude clocks that I’ve seen him, and he bolts it out of there.” Finally, they weren’t sure if the two incidents were related, but they never returned.

3. Bear Cubs

Spring cubs follow thier mother along the shore of Brooks River, Katmai National Park, Alaska
Image Credit: Depositphotos.

One late-night hiker stumbled upon two adorable bear cubs. The scary part? Where was the mom? Everyone knows she isn’t far, so this hiker backed out of the area. Another explained finding themselves in a similar situation. So they began playing music and singing loudly, and they retreated.

Anyone who knows anything about bears realizes how dangerous and terrifying this situation would be. Unless you’re one of those weirdos who would be trying to pet them and take selfies? Don’t be that person.

4. Hatchet Man

Chainsaw man
Image Credit: Depositphotos.

What would you do if some drunk guy came stumbling from nowhere into your campsite? This user has quite the story. We’ll call him Jake. He explained that he, his friends, and “copious amounts of alcohol” headed to the lake.

After one vehicle got stuck in the mud, they all worked to remove it, and he joked that they were in the beginning of a horror movie. Everyone laughs.

After they get the campfire going, some random guy with a beer in hand stumbles out of the woods. Jake is nervous, but his friends dismiss him as paranoid. So they invite him over, and he sits a few feet away.

Jake grabs a beer from the cooler, sees a hatchet someone brought, and decides to hold onto it. While sitting back down, the stranger says, “I can see your jugular, and I want to bite it.”

The guy continued to make creepy comments like, “I should have brought my chainsaw.” Jake’s alone in feeling bad vibes.

Fast forward a bit, and the stranger is making more weird comments. Jake reaches for the hatchet, but it’s gone. Finally, Jake confesses to glancing around, and the stranger gives him a Cheshire cat smile and asks, “looking for this?”

That was the final straw. Jake convinced one friend to leave with him. Nothing happened to his friends but total creep-fest.

5. Creepy Staring Eyeballs

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Headlamp night-hiking sounds scary, but this traveler insists it’s a blast. So what was the creepiest thing on his adventures? “Deer’s eyes – reflecting at me out of the darkness.”

Additionally, bears, skunks, and quail wait until you’re on top of them before they start freaking out altogether. He also noted walking a cattle herd at night is pretty scary, “especially when you don’t know you’re walking in a herd.”

6. Syria Ghost Dogs

Wild Dogs
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An Australian shared that on a trek in Syria during the 90s, they noticed two dogs in the distance (30 meters). A bright moonlit them up, and their faces looked human. He expressed being terrified by saying, “I seriously froze.”

The human-looking dogs got within 10 meters (33ft) and growled. So the hiker fired off a shot, and they ran off. When he told his aunt about it, everyone laughed and explained it’s a local ghost story, and everyone has their own experience with them.

Related: Top 15 Ugliest Cities in America According to the Internet

7. Screaming Cougar

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Finally, many hikers and campers shared stories about the most terrifying sound you will ever hear, a “cougar screaming.” The pitch-black backdrop in the middle of the woods and this sound is not a fun combo.

One summed it up by stating, “When one wakes you up at three in the morning while you’re sleeping peacefully in a tent by yourself, that’s the scariest thing you will ever hear in your life.”

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