People Share Their Scariest Camping Experiences

Ashley Hunte
The wilderness as seen from the inside of a camping tent.
Unsplash | Scott Goodwill

Camping definitely isn't for everyone. Some of us are too used to modern comforts to be able to rough it in the wilderness for a weekend. Plus, maybe we just don't have the survival skills you might need.

Whatever the case, camping can seem really scary. Especially when you hear about other people's freaky camping experiences. I think I'd rather just stay in a hotel.

Making friends. Or, not.

A teacup with a teabag inside of it.
Unsplash | Morgan Sessions

"Solo camp in the middle of nowhere. When I woke up in the morning someone had made a cup of tea and partially drunk it in the middle of the night. No sign of anyone anywhere."

Raccoons aren't nearly as cuddly as they seem.

A raccoon sitting in a forest with its hands up by its face.
Unsplash | Joshua J. Cotten

"Sheer terror when I was a kid at boy scout summer camp. One kid left a couple airheads out on the picnic table. Everyone woke up in the middle of the night to, no joke, 30+ raccoons fighting over airheads and going into tents looking for more food."

Nothing like meeting a big cat at night!

A lioness sitting on a rock.
Unsplash | Catherine Merlin

"Camping in the Serengeti with Maasai tribe men as guards. Sitting around the fire when suddenly the Maasai looks out into the pitch blackness, turns the flashlight on illuminating the eyes of a lion 40 yards out. Just staring at us. I never heard a thing."

Close encounters of the toddler kind.

A toddler crying while outside.
Unsplash | Arwan Sutanto

"I was tent camping in Arkansas around 2003-04, and The Blair Witch project was still fresh on my mind. I was about 20 years old at the time.

"Around 2-3 in the morning we’re woken up by what sounds like a small child running around our tent crying and trying to get in."

"I was thoroughly freaked out."

A toddler that looks like he's about to cry.
Unsplash | Zachary Kadolph

"Finally decided to open the tent and there was a kid that couldn’t have been more than 3 years old scared half to death and only wearing a diaper. I had lots of thought going through my head, but mostly - how the hell do I handle this... I’m standing there in the middle of the night holding a child that isn’t mine."

"We had decided to call the cops, figuring it was the safest thing to do, just then a lady walks down the trail and is like 'how did you get out?'"

A mom holding a baby while in front of a tree.
Unsplash | Bethany Beck

"The kid was saying ‘mama, mama…’ and went straight to her. She nonchalantly said thank you and walked away. Now as a parent, I can’t imagine how much more that would freak me out if it were my kid."

That's all just plain bizarre.

Close(er) encounters of the BEAR kind.

A bear walking around in the wilderness.
Unsplash | Zdeněk Macháček

"I was about 8, I didn't want to sleep in the tent with my sister so I slept on a cot under the stars. Woke up to a bear sniffing my head/neck. I was basically paralyzed with fear, the bear left me and went to sniff around for snacks. It made enough noise to wake my parents who then scared it away."

Good thing the bear decided the kid wasn't food...

Not bears, but still a close call.

Three dogs sitting on a gravel road.
Unsplash | Anoir Chafik

"Thought our tent was being attacked by 3 bears. Turns out someone's dogs just got loose and the light outside made them look gigantic."

At least this one had a happy ending. I hope the dogs were friendly.

Yeah, accidental trespassing will do that.

A person holding a compass.
Unsplash | Ethan Sykes

"I went on a road trip with some friends to Lake Chelan. We left late and got lost (this was before cell phones, we didn’t have a map and trusted my friends memory). So we pull off the road and decide to camp for the night at a grassy area."

"We have limited lights and quickly make our tent."

A man pointing angrily toward the camera.
Unsplash | Adi Goldstein

"We’re woken in the morning by someone hitting the tent and screaming to get off his property. We’d inadvertently camped on some poor guys lawn. We were just dumb 18 year old kids but have never packed up camp that quickly before!"

Sometimes, something creepy happens to you. Other times, you're the creepy thing that happens to someone else!

Sounds like it just wanted to be friends!

A snake sitting on a pile of rocks.
Unsplash | David Clode

"Went camping in deep Appalachia in a tent. Woke up to a weird feeling that I was laying on something. Then I felt it move.

"A snake had made its way under my tent and I think it was trying to get warm as it stopped moving right under where my back was. After me moving a bit it finally went on its merry way. I'll never forget how it felt moving underneath me."

I think you might have led them on...

A howling wolf or dog.
Unsplash | Darren Welsh

"Once in the wilderness me and a couple of other guys, drunk as we were, started howling at the moon only to inadvertently attract real wolves. They showed up at our camp site about 1½ hour later when we were in our hammocks getting ready to sleep."

"No harm done. They sniffed around for a couple of minutes and then went off."

A wolf glaring, as if mid-hunt.
Unsplash | Chris Ensminger

"Guess they were disappointed in what they found and luckily not desperately hungry. Anyways, I was very scared and tried to remain completely still and silent during this brief encounter."

There's someone there... or, multiple someones.

Footsteps in sand.
Unsplash | saira

"I was camping once in the UP in Michigan, in a pretty secluded spot with distinct individual campsites. It was in the fall, so dead leaves were all over the ground. When we were settling in to sleep, we started to hear these slow, consistent footsteps on the leaves. They’d walk around the campsite, circle our tent, just walk all around without any clear goal and without stopping."

"Obviously we assumed it was some kind of animal, but when we rushed out with a light there was nothing."

A creepy shot of foggy woods at night.
Unsplash | Rosie Sun

"I mean no sound, no trace of anything. Once we were back in the tent, these footsteps immediately started up again - and they didn’t come from far away, they started up right next to our tent."

"We repeated this whole rigmarole probably 3 more times, because of how distinct and close and creepy those footsteps were - and we never caught even a glimpse of what was walking around."

A green frog on a tree branch.
Unsplash | David Clode

"The next morning we were sitting by the fire and started hearing the steps again - only to look down and realize it was the sound of multiple small frogs hopping around the campsite."

That's one plot twist I didn't see coming.

Oh, deer. Oh, deer indeed.

A young deer tilting its head upwards.
Unsplash | Jeremy Manoto

"I was a kid and on a family camping trip, the rest of the family slept in the trailer and I slept in the Mexican hammock. In the middle of the night something was forcefully pushing the hammock around and it didn’t feel human. It was terrifying. It turned out to be a deer rubbing its antlers on the hammock."

Creepy, but so cool too!

Two meteors falling out of the sky at night.
Unsplash | Austin Human

"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?"

I don't feel safe just from reading this.

A girl outside, with a shocked expression on her face.
Unsplash | Colton Sturgeon

"I live in Virginia and sometime in the early 2000s I decided to go camping on the Appalachian trail... it was about 10:30 when I was getting ready to turn in and out of nowhere a voice said 'Do you feel safe boy.' I slowly packed my [expletive] up, put out my little fire and left."

Don't you just love extreme weather conditions?

A tornado touching down in a rural area.
Unsplash | NOAA

"Me and my family were camping in the summer, we settled in to sleep when we heard what sounded like a train horn. Turns out there was a tornado that landed about a mile from us and was getting closer. We all ran to our car and thankfully we got out of there unharmed."

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