Hiking events

Trek readers share their best scary hiking stories

A The hiker suddenly wakes up to the sight of a dark figure crawling towards them, and they try to scream, but there is only silence and the thick boreal forest surrounding them for miles in every direction. Another hears whispers echoing in the trees, but no one is there. A nightmarish figure stands sentinel outside a hammock, returning night after night to terrorize the hiker within.

Strange things can happen under cover of darkness, especially when you’re all alone, with only the thin wall of your tent and a mini pocket knife to “protect” you.

In honor of spooky season, our readers have submitted some of their most heartbreaking trail tales for your reading pleasure. Hikers beware – you are in for some really scary stories so read on, but only if you dare

Answers edited for length and clarity.

5 Scariest Trail Stories For Hikers

Paralyzed at Pierce Pond

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“Imagine pitching your tent in a spot that faces a peaceful view: a shimmering blue pond, lush green trees lining the horizon, and the bright sun setting behind it.

Now imagine waking up to that same view but in a different light – a strange moonlit light. You see a demonic creature on the water, crawling towards you, but you can’t make out what it is. He looks like a shadow with hollow eye sockets and twisted limbs. It enters your tent and sits directly on your chest. Your gut tells you to run away, but you can’t move a muscle. You scream for help and feel your vocal cords tense, but you make no sound. Your mind is awake, but your body is asleep – a problem in the neural pathways known as sleep paralysis.

I struggle with sleep paralysis at home, but have learned to calm down as I go. The creature appears. He comes over to me and rests heavily on my chest. I actively remind myself that it’s not real, that I’m safe at home, and that the hallucination will pass.

I experienced sleep paralysis in Pierce Pond, Maine. Trailing it through the woods is a terrifying feeling, and finding ways to calm myself seemed impossible in an unfamiliar place. I tried to scream. I wanted to run, but even if I could, where would I go? I was helpless. It eventually passed but continues to haunt.MJ “Relay” Hibionadafrom “Sleep Paralysis at Pierce Pond”

A chilling history lesson

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“Have you ever heard voices on the floor? No, it’s not about not having enough to eat or spending too much time alone! These are the voices of those who have gone before.

Surprisingly, it was a beautiful day – clear, sunny, warm – as I ascended the Grand Portage from Lake Superior to the Pigeon River. All alone, with an old-fashioned backpack that weighed more than a single night’s travel, I hiked up the seven-mile wooded trail to the Pigeon River, which separates the United States from Canada and is part of Highway. of rivers and lakes in the northern boreal forest.

Perhaps it was my suggestibility after visiting the Grand Portage National Monument, where I saw photos of stocky Frenchmen in their white tunics and bold red sashes, bags carried less over the shoulders and more by a ” bulge line” tied to their forehead and loaded with 100 pounds of equipment and goods. Or maybe this trail was in use for over 2000 years.

Anyway – my mood or the crossing to the afterlife – the wind in the aspens turned into whispers, voices in many languages, some singing, sharing gossip, discussing the number of rods – or how long it takes to smoke a pipe – that the trail lasts. I never saw anyone, although I felt a gentle breeze as travelers and First Peoples passed me. Was I scared, you ask? Not all. Just fascinated by my spooky ghost haunted hike.Alison “Blissful Hiker” Young

Knock Knock…

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“It was a few years ago, I was hiking near Mount Shasta with a friend of mine. We had just settled in for the night, camping cowboys by a fire with cold beers and two steaks cooking. Then, literally out of nowhere, my friend hit a tree multiple times with a log. He told me it was Bigfoot country and that was how they communicated. I was a bit confused by that – maybe it was the beers. I told him to try again.

He did, and then a few minutes later we heard four bangs in the distance, loud bangs, like something big hitting a tree. I got chills then because we knew no one else was there. Several minutes passed, and it happened again. We could both hear something big moving in the forest: four more shots, then two about 100 yards away.

We were both making camp as fast as we could. We could hear it moving in the forest about 20-30 meters away. Now, I’ve heard grizzly bears, elk and moose before, but nothing like that. I will never forget that night.—Jerry “Quickbeam” De Jongh

Sweet dreams on the AT

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“I did a LASH (hiking long ass section) last year from Maine to Vermont. Several nights on the trail, I woke up crying in my sleep (according to other hikers, at least), after having a recurring nightmare.

In my dream, a tall, dark figure stands at the storm door of my tarp, towering over me as I sleep in my hammock. Each time I had the nightmare, it was worse… I had trouble going back to sleep, I had goosebumps.

The last time I had it, the figure cut the line of my hammock and I woke up when, in my dream, I hit the ground. Creepy ! I literally never had this dream of hiking anywhere other than the Appalachian Trail.Gerry “Newton” Ryall

A spooky night light

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“I convinced my niece, her boyfriend and their kids to walk the trail after the sun went down. That night in the desert, the sky was in the spotlight. We could see the Milky Way from horizon to horizon. I had a very powerful wireless projector which at the time was one of the most powerful. As we hiked the trail we saw a star shaped light in the sky that shimmered. I noticed how the searchlight left a beam in the sky. I pointed it at the flickering image and turned it on and off five times in quick succession.

Immediately after, five synchronized pulses were fired from this source, flashes of light towards us from the sky. Instant panic swept over everyone as we instantly sought shelter (as if available). For the next 20 minutes we tried to find our way back to our vehicles without the aid of light in the absence of the night sky.

To this day, we try to make sense of this event and remember how much everyone panicked, including the adults.—Kory Syverson

Have you had enough fear? Hear more spooky backpacking stories in this special episode on Backpacker Radio. We wish you all a spooky Halloween!

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Featured Image: Graphic design by Jay Woods.