Deserts are intimidating for a lot of reasons. First, there's the heat (in most places, at least). Then, there's the freezing cold at night. But there's also the fact that there's so much that's unknown about desert landscapes. Because even though scientists know a ton about what lives and lurks there, it's impossible to uncover every detail.
From the scary critters that call deserts all over the world home, to unexplained images to the potential for alien sightings, to people intentionally trying to creep others out, there's so much that's spooky. Of course, there are also many things that are just plain eerie, even if it's only our minds playing tricks on us.
That said, proceed with caution when checking out these 20 creepy photos from deserts around the world. You might want to rethink your upcoming road trip.
20 Skeletons Reign In The Atacama Desert
Even the Redditor who shared this image was a bit freaked out. They noted that the snap came from the Atacama Desert in South America, but they didn't offer any context. Imagine coming across this sad and scary scenario while hiking in the desert!
19 Desert Bears Are A Thing?
This poor bear has seen better days, but we wonder how he got there. It could be a posed shot, but something tells us this bear has had a rough time of it out in the desert. He doesn't look like he's posing for a sweet roadside photo shoot.
18 Sand Eats Cities In The UAE
This ghost town of Al Madam in the United Arab Emirates was once a "tiny hamlet," says Times of India, but these days, it's been swallowed up by sand. The cool thing is, Al Madam is only about 60km from Dubai. Want to go adventuring?
17 Cemeteries Are Creepy Enough...
The Grafton Cemetery in Grafton, Utah offers up a stark contrast from the bright blue skies and picturesque backdrops of the desert. Judging by how old those headstones appear, it's been around a while, though it does look like someone tends to it...
16 Kolmanskop Ghost Town Has A Fascinating History...
The town of Kolmanskop is in the Namib Desert that was abandoned in 1954 after diamond mines “dried up.” Everyone who lived there left—and all that remains are decrepit houses full of sand, National Geographic explains, which often draw photographers into their depths.
15 But The Remnants Are Eerie
The Nat Geo snaps of Kolmanskop are cool, right? Sand seeping into houses makes a great photographic capture. But the bathtub on this sand dune is just plain eerie. Did people flee? Why didn't anyone tear the houses down or try to preserve them? So many questions!
14 The Namib Desert Is Home To Creepy Buried Trees
Alright, does no one else see creepy, skeleton-like hands reaching out of the sand? No? Just me? Okay then. Of course, the Namib desert doesn't only offer up buried trees that look like they've survived an apocalypse.
13 Something's Hiding In The Namib Desert
According to the Daily Mail, the snake you can (barely) see here is a Peringuey's adder. It's a venomous snake that hails from the Namib Desert in Africa. I don't even want to imagine sneaking up on this guy by accident... Fortunately, they mostly eat small critters... But beware nonetheless.
12 Santorini's "Art" Is... Interpretative?
I would not want to drive or walk past these "art" pieces while out in the desert. But in Santorini, an island in the Aegean Sea, one adventurer stumbled across them. They wrote on Busy.org that they were struck by how out of place the stuff seemed, and we would have to agree it's downright weird.
11 Area 51 Is Creepy For Other Reasons
As Reuters reported, and meme enthusiasts already know, the U.S. base in the desert of Nevada holds many secrets. Along with reported alien testing and sightings, there are also military tests being run here... And that's a little unsettling on its own.
10 Abandoned Domes Need An Explanation
These abandoned domes are super creepy, but the back story might help ease your mind a bit. Atlas Obscura explains that the domes, which are in Arizona, USA, were originally meant to be a manufacturing facility for computers, but it was never finished.
9 Big Bend National Park Offers Eerie Buildings
In Big Bend Park, Texas, there are weird abandoned buildings that crop up from the landscape. The weird thing is, people can visit this National Park, so it's not off-limits like other desert attractions. Which makes you wonder why they no longer use the buildings...
8 Boron Air Force Station Has Spotty History
Boron Air Force Station started out as an Air Force Station, Wikipedia explains. But later, it was converted into a federal prison in 1975. It remained open and functional as a prison until 2000. But now, it's rotting into the ground in an uber-creepy way.
7 Bones Of Boats Rust Mid-Desert In Uzbekistan
The Patriot Ledger reported that these rusty boats lie in Uzbekistan in the Moynaq Ship Graveyard. Long ago, it was a fishing port on the edge of the Aral Sea (a lake)—but now, no water remains. The saddest part is the water was diverted for irrigation, so this damage is man-made.
6 Mad Max Tribute Doesn't Halt For Dust Storms
The Mirror reported that during Burning Man, a bunch of Mad Max fans got together for a bash in the desert. But when a dust storm started up, the party didn't end. The result? A weird photo history of the even that almost looks like a snowstorm.
5 Somebody Get Pixar Over Here, Stat
This abandoned airfield in California makes us think of an animated kids' movie gone wrong. These gaping planes and the carnage surrounding them are tripping us out, and the lighting isn't helping either. It must be so uncomfortable to visit this place.
4 The Yucca Man Is The Stuff Of Nightmares
Kind of like a Yeti or Big Foot, Yucca Man is a tall tale that comes out of California. And it's not just a man-shaped tree. Long Reads explains that the tale is a lot like a Sasquatch, and reported sightings have been reported since the 1970s. Uh... We'll stay home, thanks.
3 A Desolate Highway Home Has Vibes
And not happy vibes, either. This photo, which comes from a California desert, documents the ghost town of Ballarat, Last Adventurer writes. There's no town any longer, and it used to be a supply center for area mines. It's been wasting away since the last of the residents (except one caretaker) left in 1917.
2 Namibia Takes The Cake For Creepiness
As if the snakes and skeleton trees weren't enough, Namibia is also home to some eerily fantastic landscapes. Case in point, this rally weird tree fossil that looks like part of a giant skeleton. Far out.
1 Iran's Concrete Wasteland Creeps Us Out
In the dry and dusty plains of Iran is a concrete wasteland with no people at all. There's just something unsettling about buildings meant to house families and thriving businesses lying empty and falling apart.