Hiking the Longest Trails on Earth: 11 Spooky Stories That Will Make Your Skin Crawl

Hiking is one of the most popular outdoor activities today. People love to go for long walks, enjoy the scenery, and challenge themselves on the toughest trails. But not everyone comes back with a smile on their face. Here are 11 horror stories of hikers in an online forum who faced some of the scariest moments on the world’s longest trails.

1. Spiders, Sunburns, Sandstorms

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During an arduous trek through a part of the Pacific Crest Trail (a 2,650-mile trek), one hiker experienced gruesome sunburns, got bitten by a poisonous brown recluse spider, and on top of all that, endured a sandstorm that would have carried them away if it weren’t for the weight of their backpack

2. Duct-Taped Feet

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On the Appalachian trail, a couple grossly underestimated the 8.5 mile-hike. The pair climbed a few miles before their feet tore open into blistered gashes. Using their resources, they resorted to wrapping their feet in duct tape. A few miles later, as they prepared for dinner, the heavy winds prevented them from cooking, so they consumed powdered pasta out of the bag. 

3. Stubborn Sandal-Wearer

A girl in pink wearing sandals in woods
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An explorer recalls their venture with their father during their younger years at Havasu Falls, a ten-mile mission in each direction. “As a kid, I hated hiking, so trying to be clever, I didn’t pack hiking boots, thinking my dad would cancel the hike if I ‘forgot’ them. Nope, by the time we got back to the car, I had huge blisters on every spot on my feet where the Nike sandals I wore touched them.”

4. Tripped the Tortoise

A Gopher Tortoise emerging from its burrow
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Amidst a traipse, an eager adventurer ventured six miles into the woods near their house, tripped, and stumbled into a tortoise hole, trapping their leg inside the gaping opening. It took three hours for the hiker to spring their leg from the burrow, permanently injuring their knee. 

5. Ice Sock

Woman lag in boot glides on ice covered with snow. Winter walking in warm and comfortable shoes concept.
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Remember being a teenager and underestimating the stakes of outdoor excursions? This person remembers their invincibility all too well. With a 20-degree windchill, this hiker strapped on old boots with a hole in them and plodded through the snow for an undisclosed amount of miles. The snow entered the boot and froze, melted, and refroze until the ice coagulated into a circular icicle. As soon as they arrived back at their campsite, their foot morphed into a bright purple hue. 

6. You Are Not Alone

Traces of the person on a snowy field in the village
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An adventurous trekker embarked on a 10-day, five-mile hike through Escalante, Utah, a scenic Western town known for its slot canyons and gorgeous rocks. While sleeping, a strange noise awoke this hiker, raising their heart rate and sending them into an overly alert state. This hiker believes a person stalked them for four hours due to the human footprints found in the morning. Plus, the workers only gave out one permit that day.  

7. Hounding Hornets

Asian Giant Hornet.
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Most hiking horror stories, such as this horrifying hornet run-in, happen on the Appalachian Trail. When one commenter was 16, they hiked 50 miles of the Appalachian Trail with two friends. After passing midway through a narrow trail, they noticed a strange sensation on all of their legs. As they looked down to assess the damage, they realized hundreds of hornets gravitated toward them. They sprinted away, knowing they were allergic to some stinging insects. After they batted off the remaining bugs, they attempted to find the others but ran into another swarm.

8. Multi-Layered

Two men standing standing with trekking poles on cliff edge and looking at sunset rays over the clouds.
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Layers help regulate body temperature, but sometimes Mother Nature has different ideas. Two hikers endured a 1.5-day hike (ten miles per day) in Canada and poured sweat, leading them to remove their layers and leave on their thermal shirts. Cold rain drenched these two a few moments after delayering, sending them into shock. Thankfully their campmate cooked some food and helped them warm back up.

9. Good Morning

An Australian white tailed house spider (Lampona cylindrata) hiding in a blanket on a bed
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Who hasn’t taken a rebellious high school trip into the wilderness? One respondent remembers bringing a blanket into Northern California for a gorgeous stargazing outing amidst the ten-mile hike. When this individual woke up, hundreds of black spiders formed a border around the blanket. 

10. Moose Mate

Wild Moose Grazing the Mountains of Colorado
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Upon a teenage backpacking trip in Northeastern Maine (28-mile loop), one classmate accidentally set up camp near a game trail, meaning some moose decided to saunter through the campsite in the middle of the night, looking for the lake nearby. The campers say they never desire to see a moose that close ever again.

11. Sow Bear

Spring cubs follow thier mother along the shore of Brooks River, Katmai National Park, Alaska
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After spending a couple of days in the backcountry, a group of backpackers in the Sierras decided to head to an established campground to see some waterfalls. Instead, they were greeted by a sow bear with her two cubs. So they all stayed inside the only (small) tent they had for the entire day.

But sometime in the middle of the night, they heard a lot of snuffling around their tent. As their shoulders touched each other and the fabric of the tent, one person suddenly felt a big bump from the outside, only to realize that it was actually the bear.

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