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‘It Was Terrifying’: People on Reddit Share Scary Camping Stories

A recent post on Reddit’s r/Camping group asked, “Have you had any scary or life-threatening experiences while camping?” The responses vary from some creepy stories to actual life-threatening situations. Some of these scary camping stories are also an excellent reminder to be prepared. Here are some of the best responses.

Trapped Underground

r/gheistling shared this story from camping in the Texas panhandle: 

“I was exploring several miles off the trail out in Palo Duro Canyon when the ground gave out from under me, and I slid down inside a narrow chute in the ground. The ground is just red clay and rocks up there, just a big empty desert full of little ‘caves’. My backpack jammed me between the two walls before I slid ‘too far’ down into it, and I was able to shimmy up and out.

It was terrifying, I kept sliding back down on the loose, dry clay. The area’s already remote, but being so far off trail, I truly don’t believe I would have been found. I tried to take my wife out there once I made it back to camp to show her, and I couldn’t find it, even though I ‘knew’ where it was.”

An Unwanted Guest

r/Buddy7744‘s story is a good reminder that sometimes the scariest thing in nature is other people.

“I was in Arizona, a very remote, empty campsite on the side of a wide open unpaved road. In the middle of the night, a car went by, it was gravel, so it woke me up. It went past, then came back and then looped around and positioned so the headlights were facing our tents (about 40 feet away). Mind you, this was probably 2 AM in the middle of nowhere. They sat there for a few minutes, which was not cool.”

scary camping stories
People making shadow puppets inside a tent. (Source: Getty Images)

A Nighttime Encounter

r/kapege shared a story about an elk encounter.

“One night in Sweden, an elk came to my tent sniffing. They are huge and can kill you with one of their hooves, even by accident. But this one didn’t even touch the tent lines and strolled away after a while. Elks have a typical way of walking, so you can differentiate them just by listening.”

Watch Where You Step

r/AnalogJay spoke about a hike that could have turned deadly.

“I was at Indiana Dunes State Park. We accidentally walked at least a quarter mile out onto the frozen lake because the snow was so thick we thought we were still on land. We didn’t realize until we walked back toward the car and saw a sign warning about dangerous ice ahead and not to keep going. The park was empty that day, so if the ice had broken and we’d fallen, no one would have known what happened to us.”

Scary Beast or a Trash Panda?

r/LargeTransportation9 shared a story about a run-in with an animal that, in the end, may not have been quite as scary.

“One time I was camping in the fall, and I’m usually okay with the different critter sounds at night. First night, I fell asleep and woke up to a very loud snorting/huffing/breathing sound. My immediate reaction is that there is a pig or bear around, even though I know that there are no pigs and bears are generally super quiet. So I sit still and listen. Eventually, the thing leaves. The second night, the same things happened, but this time before going to bed, I realized there were a lot of raccoons going to check out the various sites. I even hear fighting noises. So the next morning, I looked online and learned that raccoons can make huffing noises that sound like a pig snorting.”

What’s your scariest camping story?

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