Creepy Camping Stories

It’s the season for creepy camping stories.  There is nothing like a classic spooky story shared by friends and family around a campfire.

Creepy Camping Story #1: Beetles from Above

“I went camping with my husband and our two kids. At night we sat at the picnic table playing cards, and beetles of all different types kept falling from the trees, flying around us, crawling up the table, etc. They kept getting bigger and more weird looking. My daughters freaked out to the point of almost crying so we decided to get into the tent. When I got in and I turned around, my daughters screamed that I had a beetle on my back. I wasn’t freaked, but I told them to brush it off, but they wouldn’t come near me. When my husband came in I turned around and asked him to get it off. He screamed and wouldn’t get it off either! At that point, I knew something totally huge and freaky was crawling on me so I ripped off my sweatshirt and threw it outside. I didn’t talk to my husband for the rest of the night.” – Susan, IL

This is a great story.  Yes, it is terrifying to have all of those insects crawling on everyone but for the casual reader of this story, it is simply funny.

Creepy Camping Story #2: A Climber under the Stars

Years ago, I a rock climbing instructor take a few of us out to climb in the Gorge in Washington State.  He warned us about the wildlife with the following story:

“Chris lives for the outdoors.  He camps out under the stars when rock climbing.  On one occasion, he had a rude awakening.  It was after a long day of climbing that Chris laid out a tarp, then his sleeping bag, and then crawled in and fell asleep in his climbing shorts.  In the middle of the night, he stirred because there was something cold next to his right leg.  In his sleepy fog, he wasn’t alarmed by the sensation just annoyed.  And then the cold thing moved!  He shot out of his sleeping bag and danced around.  He dumped out his bag do find a rattlesnake that was wanting to warm itself next to him.  Since then, he struggles to sleep under the stars without a mummy bag tightly closed around his face.”

Like this 58 club member, I too have climbed in that area of Washington.  I remember watching out for the rattlers and the semi-transparent scorpions.  (shivers!) . This story also reminds me of one of a DIY teardrop trailer builder who told me about an incident where he and his wife were trapped in their trailer (which had only one door) by a large rattlesnake that was on the ground just outside their door.  It was the reason he reached out to us at Overland Trailer (to get another door!).

Creepy Camping Story #3: Whispers in the Dark

Todd and his friend Kevin went backpacking in Glacier National Park.  They hiked in about 17 miles to a secluded location, set up camp, and went to bed.  In the middle of the night, Todd awoke to a scratching sound.  Knowing there are grizzly bear in the area, Todd and Kevin made a lot of noise in the hopes of scaring the bear away.  The scratching – digging?- noise continued.  Neither Todd or Kevin was willing to get out of their tents.  Then in the crisp cool mountain air came a scratchy and gravely voice that said, “You don’t belong here. This is mine.  You don’t belong here. this is mine.  You don’t belong here. This is MINE!”  The digging sound continued for a few hours.  Todd and Kevin were petrified with fear.

In the morning, they opened their tents to find little cereal bowl sized holes all around their tents that were spaced about 6″ apart from one another.  It gave both of them the creeps so they tore down their camp.  When they were about to leave, another hiker walked up.  It was one of their friends.  He told them that he’d seen a Facebook post that Todd had put up about where they were going to be camping.  He decided to meet up with them.  Then when he found their camp, he decided to prank them with the creepiest thing he could think of.  They laugh about it now but you can see their eyes are still haunted by the fear.

Creepy Camping Story #4: Film Camera Freak Out

One 58 Club member recounted a truly frightening story of her trip down the pacific crest Trail.

In the 1990s I was a very accomplished camper and survival enthusiast. I enjoyed going on solo trips for two weeks or so, completely on my own. I would stop and hit a store, a couple hours before heading out to my destination to get some supplies and that would be it for people in my world.  I would see bears, moose, wildlife but that’s it. It was great spending my time reading and just traveling around.

For each trip, I would take 10-14 disposable film cameras with me. A couple of days after one of my trips I took the cameras in to be developed. When I got them back, I was sitting with my husband at home looking through the pictures. Once I got to the fifth or sixth roll, I almost had a heart attack. I found a picture of myself sleeping at one of my campsites. I swear, I didn’t see another person anywhere on that trip.

She goes on to explain that she has never gone solo or camping for that matter since. Her husband could not get her to go anywhere near the woods after that.  Which is probably wise.  Camping alone is never a good idea.

Creepy Camping Story #5: Old Blood

My dad and I were hiking down a steep slope in south-east California when we saw an old rifle sticking from a tree. It looked like the tree had grown around the barrel many years before. We went to get a closer look and found a small cave.

Inside, we found a handful of aged personal belongings that made it seem as though the cave had once been inhabited. There were three cans of unopened food, a rusted cast iron pot, an old saddle and bridle set, and a deteriorated wool blanket. Intrigued, we unrolled the blanket, and here’s where things got really freaky. Inside, we found a shirt with holes and bloodstains crumpled up. My dad estimated the gun that we found in the tree to have been from the 1870s, meaning whoever had been shot (and most likely killed) in those woods likely died around that same time.

Creepy Camping Story #6: Covered in Rats

This story is from Florida.  I will summarize it as the email exchange was pretty sorted.

A family went camping in Florida.  The campground was adjacent to a waste disposal area by a few miles.  While camping there, the ranger came by and told the campers that they may want to move to the other end of the campground as the waste disposal area was planning to burn some trash that night and it might smell.  They move their camp to the other end of the large campground.  However, in the middle of the night, everyone woke up to hear scratching noises all over the outside of their tents.  The tents were covered in rats that had fled the waste site when it was being burned.  The family ran to their vehicle and slept there for the rest of the night.  In the morning, they packed up their gear and demanded a refund, which they got.

So there you have it campers.  Some good old creepy camp stories to tell around the fire next time you’re out camping!

Until next time,



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