15 Spooky Wilderness Books You Definitely Will NOT Want To Read While Camping
Camping is one summertime activity that can go from fantastic to terrifying in a second. Whether you're scared of bear attacks, murderous mountainfolk, killer ghosts, or landslides, I've picked out 15 spooky wilderness books to read aloud while camping, so you can bring a dangerous thrill to your next woodsy vacation without actually putting yourself in danger.
Camping can be a wonderful way to get away from it all, especially if you're trying to do a digital detox this summer. Communing with nature often means being without good cell service, and you can pretty much forget about Wi-Fi and electricity entirely. If you're planning to read on your camping trip, you're going to have to do it the old fashioned way — on paper, by fire- or lantern-light.
There are plenty of spooky reads out there that will send chills down your spine, even in the hottest months, but spending your fireside time reading a thriller or horror novel set in the wilderness will add an extra layer of terror to your summer camping trip. I've picked out 10 novels I think will be perfect for thrill-seekers to read on vacation — just don't read them if you want to get a good nights sleep.
'The River at Night' by Erica Ferencik
Four middle-aged women embark on a rafting trip in northwestern Maine, only to find themselves stranded in the woods when disaster strikes. Far from home, the friends discover a house in the woods, but what they believe to be their saving grace soon becomes another hellish problem to solve.
'Switchback' by Danika Stone
Friends Ash and Vale aren't looking forward to the overnight nature hike their P.E. class is taking, and that's before the storm hits. Now, separated from the rest of their group, the two teens will need to work together to brave the Canadian wilds and make it home alive.
'The Last One' by Alexandra Oliva
After joining the cast of The Dark, a reality TV show about wilderness survival, a woman, dubbed "Zoo" by the show's producers, picks her way across a deserted landscape. Three Latin words will call in the cavalry to rescue her, but will disqualify her from reaching the $1 million prize. Thankfully, Zoo isn't afraid of the corpses and ransacked buildings she encounters, because she believes they're just part of the show. But something terrible has happened to the world outside, and Zoo will have to face it — or die trying.
'Wilder Girls' by Rory Power
Eighteen months after a deadly virus claimed the lives of their teachers and classmates, only three students have survived the Tox at the Raxter School for Girls. Trapped inside the island boarding school, the girls have been told that all they have to do is wait for rescue to arrive. But when one of the girls goes missing in the woods surrounding Raxter, her friend must journey into the dangerous, infected forest in order to save her.
'The Hunger' by Alma Katsu
Set in the midst of the infamous Donner Party, Alma Katsu's The Hunger follows that ill-fated expedition as it meanders west toward the mountains, losing members and growing increasingly paranoid the further along it travels. Is something lurking in the darkness just beyond the wagon circle, or is the enemy among the starving travelers?
'In a Dark, Dark Wood' by Ruth Ware
From the author of The Woman in Cabin 10 comes this psychological thriller set in a creepy cabin in the woods. After waking up with a head injury, Leonora must piece together what happened on that fateful night in her old friend's forest getaway — events that involve the stunning realization that they are not the only people in the woods.
'The Mountain Story' by Lori Lansens
After meeting up on a hike they've taken for wildly different reasons, three women and one man are put to the ultimate test when they find themselves stranded on the trail. With no hope of surviving on their own, the hikers must lean heavily on one another if they want to make it home alive.
'Our Endless Numbered Days' by Claire Fuller
When her father takes eight-year-old Peggy away from London to live in a woodland hut, he tells her they are the only people left alive in the wake of disaster. But after Peggy finds a pair of boots that do not belong to either of them, she begins to question the yarn her father has spun, and wonders why he has brought her out into the wilderness.
'The Wolf Road' by Beth Lewis
Years after Elka came to live with Trapper, she discovers that her surrogate father is not the man she believed him to be. Fearing for her life, she flees their home in search of her long-lost parents. But Trapper won't let her get away that easily, and Elka will have to use everything he taught her if she wants to survive.
'Scribe' by Alyson Hagy
Set in Appalachia following a civil war, Alyson Hagy's Scribe centers on a woman who keeps herself fed and clothed via a unique talent — the ability to read and write. Life in the mountains isn't idyllic, however, and her latest job may bring screaming to the surface all the secrets she has buried.
'The Glass Woman' by Caroline Lea
In 19th-century Iceland, a new bride living in a hostile village discovers that her husband may have been responsible for the death of his first wife. Recently relocated to the isolated hamlet where her new husband, Jon, buried his first wife, Rósa finds that the villagers view them both askance, and that they may have worse than dirty looks in mind for the newlyweds.
'The Girl in Red' by Christina Henry
In this "Little Red Riding Hood" retelling, a woman living in the aftermath of a major Crisis chooses independence and danger over repression and fences. The woods aren't safe, but neither are the camps where others go, only to get sick and die. In the forest, the woman in the red jacket is free — and those who would harm her should beware.
'The Untold' by Courtney Collins
For 26-year-old Jessie, life is transient. She has already had a number of illustrious careers, including time as a circus rider, but now her horse-thieving has put men on her trail. As Jessie flees across the outback, two men — a lover and a lawman — are set on finding her. Can she last the night, and live to see the dawning of a new life for herself?
'Breaking Wild' by Diane Les Becquets
Twining together the stories of a missing woman and the park ranger sent to find her, Diane Les Becquets' Breaking Wild slowly reveals what made Amy Raye Latour flee into the wilderness just ahead of a snowstorm, and why Pru Hathaway wants so badly to find her.
'Dead Lake' by Darcy Coates
Living in self-imposed exile ahead of her gallery exhibition, painter Sam hopes that the cabin on Harob Lake will unlock her ability to make good art once more. But someone else is up at Harob Lake, and he's watching Sam closely...