11 Most Terrifying Camping and Hiking Encounters That Can Bring Out Your Deepest Fears

Getting out of your comfort zone and into the great outdoors is a thrilling experience for any outdoor enthusiast. But sometimes, the wilderness can be a far scarier place than you imagine. From being chased by a bear to running into a chainsaw man, these 11 stories of camping and hiking horror from a popular travel forum will make your skin crawl.

1. Saved by an Old Man

Hand helping a man to raise after falling
Image Credit: Depositphotos.

Miracles happen every day. This time, it occurred to an unsuspecting hiker. According to their story, the ground was slippery. They were walking on a trail that was next to a 50-foot drop. An older adult and what was presumably his grandchildren were at a bench taking a break.

They got close to the edge and almost slipped off, but luckily, the older man caught them by the elbows. Phew, that could have gone a lot differently. Although they were fine, they were wobbly when they got up. They thanked the older man and went on their way. This person reports they were so shocked that it took an hour to realize how close to death they were.

2. Shadow Stalker

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Camping must be fun — or terrifying — depending on your definition of fun. Here’s a spooky one. By the way, they say, “Apparently, if you wake up in the middle of the night for no reason, it’s because there is a 90 percent chance that someone’s staring at you. (This is probably not true, but still terrifying).

Nonetheless, this camper says they randomly woke up in the middle of the night and caught a shadow. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t go back to sleep.

3. The Strange Yorkshire Man

scared hiker
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

One shares a story that is so scary and traumatic that it haunts them to date. They were hiking, and a man walked past them halfway through the hike quickly. He didn’t say anything other than a “typical Yorkshire greeting.” He then marched off into the distance, and they never saw him again. The scary thing is, neither did anyone else.

He was reported missing hours later, but they never found him, so they presumed him dead. They had to give a statement to the police about the details of the incident. How horrifying is that?

4. Bear Chase

Brown Bear
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They say about bears, “If it’s brown, lay down. If it’s black, fight back. If it’s white, goodnight.” If I ever did see one, I would pass out before determining its color, especially after seeing Cocaine Bear.

Someone recounts a similar experience while camping. The camper heard a bear drop out of a tree behind them. As soon as the bear focused on their cause, they followed another adage: “You don’t have to outrun the bear. You just have to outrun someone else.” Then he bolted for the cabin. It’s the choice I would have made—every man for himself.

5. Scary Cat

tabby cat on stones fence at Asturias countryside in Spain
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This camper says they were scrambling up some boulders on the hillside. They stopped to take a deep breath beside a boulder with a small cave-like opening at the bottom.

That was when the horror happened. They heard a “powerful hiss from some form of wild cat.” The sound came from the boulder. In their words, “It’s amazing how fast the human body can move when it’s in danger.”

6. Girl Scout Camp

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Alligators, like most animals, are scared of humans — but they will attack if they feel threatened. Good thing a group of middle school girls hardly want any trouble.

This camper was at a girl scout camp in middle school, and their tent was on a raised platform. They woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of alligators making their mating bellow noises under the platform.

7. Cougar at Hurricane Ridge

Cougar in the mountains
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“This was back around 2005 or so,” someone says. I was up at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. I got a late start on one of the trails but thought I could finish the round trip before the sun went down. I was wrong. About an hour after the sun went down, I started hearing noises behind me on the left back in the trees.

I kept walking at the same pace but started making more noise in case it was a bear. I figured it was probably just a deer, though. Eventually, I heard it move around and ahead of me. Then, it crossed the trail and left a nice fat track on the path, so when I got to where it crossed, I could tell it was a Cougar.”

You can tell by the tone that they were panicking already. So they grabbed a stick and kept walking, trying to play cool until the sound came to their right side.

“It kept pace with me for about a half hour until I got to the parking lot and caught up with a few other people who were still there.” They were freaked out when they got to the lot where everyone was and where they quickly took cover.

8. Peeping Deer

A large Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) stag during the rutting season into its natural habitat. The Bieszczady Mts, Carpathians, Poland.
Image Credit: Depositphotos.

Imagine randomly waking up in the middle of the night and catching a deer staring into your tent. Oh, dear. One camper suggests it’s an unnerving experience.

9. Mysterious Snort

Creepy forest at night
Image Credit: Pexels.

It happened at night, the storyteller says. They were peeing in the bushes by the bear locker about 50 feet from the camp. Then they heard a snort in the thicket behind them. They switched on their flashlight but saw nothing. “Needless to say, I didn’t sleep very well,” they add.

10. Chainsaw Man

Smoking maniac with the chainsaw dressed in a dirty bloody raincoat.
Image Credit: Depositphotos.

Finally, can you believe a person woke up to someone using a chainsaw? And by the sound of it, I don’t think that person was cutting a tree. And I thought that only happens in horror movies.

11. Yellow Jackets Swarm

Yellow jackets nest
Image Credit: Depositphotos.

What’s worse for a kid on a backpacking trip with the family than accidentally stepping on a fallen log that was home to a yellow jackets nest? The poor kid got completely swarmed and it took about 10 stings before jumping into the river.

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