Solo Hikers Share Their Creepiest Trail Experiences
Photo: Backcountry / IFC Midnight

Solo Hikers Share Their Creepiest Trail Experiences

Voting Rules
Vote up the eeriest creepy solo hiking stories.

If someone is going to embark on a hike all alone, one would hope that they have experience, know the area well, and are carrying all necessary equipment. Even with the best planning, there can still be unexpected creepiness lurking along the trail. On Reddit, people who have taken solo hiking trips share their eeriest experiences in nature. 

  • 1
    445 VOTES

    They Ran Into A Malicious-Looking Stranger In The Clearing

    From Redditor u/KnyghtRyder77:

    I grew up in the foothills of a large mountain range, and I started hiking at a fairly young age. One afternoon in my early teens, I decided to go out alone, as my usual hiking friend was busy with a family commitment. I called and left a message for her as to where I would be anyway, just in case she got home early and wanted to me meet out there (this was in the days of answering machines). As this was essentially our backyard, I always felt safe and comfortable.

    Approximately two miles in was a draw, which was a pretty popular place for us to hike out to due to a little waterfall and a pretty stream. I was there about 10 minutes, when I looked up at the east ridge. Through a clearing in trees, I saw what I thought was my friend walking through the brush. So I called out to her; however, it was most definitely not my friend. The person (I’m pretty sure it was a woman, but I really couldn’t tell for sure) backed up to the clearing in the trees and turned to face me. The look on their face terrified me. It was simultaneously malicious and gleeful. Something in my heart, my brain, my being told me to RUN. I made it back to our house in record time, where my brother eventually found me lying in the grass. Pretty sure I passed out for a few seconds from not breathing during my sprint home.

    445 votes
  • 2
    549 VOTES

    They Saw A Man Sitting In A Tree Wearing Pajamas

    From Redditor u/mrwitch:

    I was hiking through the remnants of a remote, long-abandoned town and the surrounding area. To get to as far into the woods as I was, you had to cross fallen trees over a creek three times. I had just crossed the third "bridge" and was about five miles in, when something blue caught my eye just ahead of me.

    There was a man, in his 60s at least, wearing blue, satin pajamas, sitting in a tree. The closer I got to him, the louder he laughed; it wasn't a maniacal laugh, but it set off all the alarms in my head, nevertheless. He also wasn't wearing any shoes, and he looked well-groomed/cleaned.

    I gave him a friendly nod as I passed, and he just kept laughing. Then it stopped. I turned, and he was gone. There was no branch cracking, plants rustling, nothing... He was just gone.

    Still rubs me the wrong way. The area I was in was a pretty rough hike, very secluded. Not very many people venture as deep as I was that day. No idea what was going on there.

    549 votes
  • 3
    415 VOTES

    They Were Followed On A Secluded Trail

    From Redditor u/littletinything:

    I wanted to go for a short five-mile hike with my non-confrontational and overly friendly Husky to a local SoCal spot. Rather than take the normal trail, I thought I would try the trail that leaves the park... As I near the end of the park trail, there was a man up ahead sitting down, drinking a beer, in jeans and NOT hiking shoes or attire. Red flag for me. He sees me coming, stands up, and starts walking towards me, and I turn around immediately.

    My Husky, however, wants pets and to say hi. No one else is around because nobody takes this trail, and he tries asking me where I’m going, where I’m from, and other weird questions to get me to stay. I was hiking on a weekday, so the trail was pretty empty. I was scared. I started up the mountain, and HE WAS FOLLOWING ME up a pretty gnarly hike in jeans and regular shoes. I found a spot where the trail split, one path continued up the mountain, one went back down, with brush in the middle. So I jumped far into the brush to hide while he chose a path and kept up the mountain, thinking I kept ascending. As soon as he was out of sight, I descended the way I came and hightailed it out of there. I had a knife and pepper spray, but I never want to come to a point to have to use it.

    My Husky is useless as far as protection, my Lab mix would have gone ballistic. I don’t hike without my boyfriend now, as my Lab is 14 years old.

    415 votes
  • 4
    404 VOTES

    A Clingy Stranger Was Giving Them The Creeps

    From Redditor u/Herzogs-Penguin:

    I was hiking the CDT in Colorado about a day north of Dillon / Silverthorne and was crossing a deep, little creek that was giving me trouble. Another guy caught up to me and found a better crossing a little off the trail, so I used it, talked to the guy for a bit, and walked another mile or so and set up my camp. The other guy did, too. In the morning, I left early and hiked up a steep slope and along a ridge where the other guy caught up to me and stuck with me like glue. He started talking about hiking the rest of the trail together, but I didn't want to, so I said I had stuff to do off the trail at various places further along. This guy didn't get it and started saying we could save money buying food together and planning meals and stuff. I said I was fine how I was and was a picky eater, anyway. I started changing my pace, going faster and slower, but I couldn't get rid of the guy.

    There's a brutal roadwalk past Pettingell Peak that climbs a pass up toward Vasquez Mountain, and I bolted up there, but the guy was [exhausting] himself trying to keep up and started telling me I was being mean and should wait for him so we could hike together. I wanted nothing to do with this guy and kept going, but as I was hiking around Vasquez Peak, I stopped for a few seconds to grab food, and he caught up again. He started saying I was lucky he caught up in time for us to set up camp together and started saying it would make more sense if we just set up one tent and shared it so there's less work and it would be warmer. I have a one-person, lightweight, tiny tent. I grabbed my pack and left, went back around Vasquez and straight down the mountainside to a forestry road with this guy following me again. It got dark and hard to see, but I was on the forestry road by then and heading into Winter Park. A few miles before town, there was a forest fire and some forestry crews working on it. They were all back at their camp just off the road, so I went to them and asked if I could put up my tent just behind them in a clearing. A few minutes later, I saw the other guy go past.

    I was jumpy and a little scared after that and got off the trail in Grand Lake for a few days, went to Denver, and bummed around. Got back on the trail and was a little paranoid at first, but didn't see the guy again. When I asked other hikers if they'd seen him, nobody recognized the description. I'm 6' 2" and 200 pounds, but I'll take wild animals over that guy any day.

    404 votes
  • 5
    263 VOTES

    A Cougar Was Stalking And Hunting The Hikers

    From Redditor u/Oregonian95:

    This happened about a year ago. I started up a hike in a USFS wilderness area, and about a mile in, I got this feeling that I was being watched. It was that feeling of dread when you KNOW someone or something is watching your every move, but you can't see the pair of eyes. I hurried down the trail, got to my destination, and hurried back, but knew something was off. I'm an experienced hiker but hadn't ever had that feeling before (and have never felt it since).

    Several weeks later, a woman disappeared while hiking on the trail. Officials later found her body near the trail. They determined that she had been attacked and killed by a cougar, the first ever recorded death by cougar in my state. Officials immediately closed off the area and began a hunt to kill the cougar, doing so a few days later.

    In retrospect, I know exactly what was watching me that day, and I shudder to think it could have been me.

    263 votes
  • 6
    283 VOTES

    They Stumbled Upon A Secluded House With An Odd Inhabitant

    From Redditor u/HumbleTrees:

    Happened in North West Ireland. Came upon a house in the middle of a field. Tiny, fenced garden around it. There were three large luggage bags opened up in the yard, with clothes thrown about and caught in the fence. There was also a little car. No signs of life in the small house. It's hard to stress how in the middle of nowhere this house was.

    Naturally curious, I approached. I got to within about 10 meters of the car, when this women pops up from laying down in the back seat. This was in the middle of the day. She stared straight at me. No expression on her face at all. She looked seriously ragged, like she'd been on the streets for a year. Dirty and wild hair. I noped the f*ck out and just ran away.

    The next day, the car was gone but the clothes stayed behind. I tried to convince my family to call the police, but they didn't bother.

    283 votes