15 People Reveal Their Worst Hiking Stories So You Don't Make The Same Mistakes

List Rules
Expert hikers: vote up the hiking horror stories you hope nobody ever repeats.

Hiking seems like a very chill and safe exercise that anyone can do on a Sunday morning but that's not quite the case, it requires organization and paying a lot of attention to the wildlife surrounding you.  Check out these fails hiking tales to avoid making the same mistakes. Vote up your favorite stories! 


  • 1
    68 VOTES

    They Hung Their Bear Bag By Their Tent... And Attracted Bears

    From a former Redditor:

    Couple of years back I got a late start driving from my apartment and ended up getting into my campsite while it was growing dark. Rather than going up and down the trail 50 ft, I just threw my bear bag full of food right near my tent, and went to bed.

    That night at least two bears spent a few hours trying to jump up at my bear bag, sometimes brushing up against my tent when they landed. My dog kept growling at them, they kept ignoring her.

    Don't hang your bear bag near your tent.

  • 2
    50 VOTES

    They Didn't Plan To Be Out In The Ice And Snow

    From a Redditor:

    I volunteer on an Search And Rescue team. Far and away the biggest problems we have are people who weren't planning on staying out overnight. Backpackers, even crappy ones, tend to have enough gear to live for a while. They have a shelter, a bag, food, a lighter, etc.

    But a day hiker with a liter of water, shorts, and a fleece top is much more likely to have problems from exposure. 

    Found a guy up near Whitney last week. Early 20's, new to the snow/ice, hit by an avalanche. Sometimes bad stuff happens.

  • 3
    50 VOTES

    They Packed Too Much And Measured The Trail Wrong

    From Redditor u/YellowLeatherJacket:

    My friend and I made so many mistakes the first time we went backwoods camping.

    We had no idea how to properly pack our bags, brought way too much stuff, and what turned out to be an extra tent.

    My friend measured the trail wrong, which turned out to be double our planned distance. We also decided to start at like noon in the oppressive July heat, surprisingly no bugs!

    And we kept all of our food in one of the tents with no bear-proofing in bear country. No animals ever came around thankfully.

    We did a lot of research after that hike.

  • 4
    57 VOTES

    They Got Stuck In A Mud Bog

    From Redditor u/Bubba_Gump_Shrimp:

    Watch out for mud bogs/quagmires. One wrong step on a river bank I fish dozens of times every spring and I found myself thigh deep in about 60 seconds. Lost my boots. If you find yourself in this situation, don't struggle, do not panic. Lay yourself flat to create surface tension and crawl out onto solid ground.

  • 5
    55 VOTES

    They Left Their Friend With Heat Exhaustion Alone In The Sun

    From Redditor u/BatteryLicker:

    Several years ago, hiking in Big Bend Texas I came across a person with pretty bad heat exhaustion. His friends left him behind to cool off and rest on a rock, in the sun, in the desert, with no water. Put him in what little shade was nearby, managed to cool him off, and gave him spare water. He wasn't far from the trailhead and one of his friends came back after he didn't catch up.

  • 6
    51 VOTES

    They Hiked Through Waist-Deep Snow In Tennis Shoes

    From Redditor u/ltjpunk387:

    Rocky Mountain National Park, middle of May, still a good amount of snow on the ground on most trails, especially on northern slopes. My girlfriend and I are hiking through knee to waist-deep snow. We're not having the greatest time, because it's been about a mile of it on the last half of a 5 mile loop and we are starting to get cold and wet from the snow soaking into our clothes. But at least we are able to follow in the footsteps of some that came before us.

    After that slow mile or so, we stumble upon our trailblazers. Three college-aged girls wearing jeans, tennis shoes, cotton socks, and sweatshirts. They're huddled on the ground for warmth with their soaked shoes off, feet up each other's shirts. They were on the trail but thought they were lost, despite the trail signs and markers on the trees. They called for rescue. I offered to lead them out, but they refused.

    We moved on and came across the rescue crew hiking up the trail a little later. I updated them on what I saw: where they are, their condition, etc. They tried to hide their eye-rolling, but I could see it. I gave a silent "I'm sorry you have to deal with this" and carried on. I feel bad for those guys.