According to new research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, ending the day around the campfire, where songs, stories and relationships blossomed, ultimately shaped cultures and perhaps even helped develop some of our ability to understand one another, cooperate and internalize culture.
In North America, a campfire story is a form of oral storytelling performed around an open fire at night, typically in the wilderness, largely connected with the telling of stories having supernatural motifs or elements of urban legend. Whereas the activity is not incomparable to, nor mutually exclusive from, indigenous practices they should not be confused with each other in a contemporary context.
The modern campfire story is an invention of the late modern period and may have arisen among soldiers or frontiersmen who utilized storytelling as a nightly means to stay awake while acting as camp lookouts. In North America, as early as the 1840s, the term "camp-fire story" was associated with wartime exploits such as those told in a military encampment. In the late 1800s, advertisements, for journals and lectures, providing the inclusion of "camp-fire stories" began to appear. Contemporaneously, fraternities and other organizations would arrange reunions among veterans who then continued the tradition in peacetime and even outside the confines of a camp. The term likewise began to be connected with encounters with large or dangerous game, such as bears, buffaloes, panthers or snakes.
With the formation of youth groups, such as Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America, came the adoption of practices already established by organizations of the day. Consequently, campfire stories came to be an integral part within such organizations nearly since their inception. In the first edition of the official handbook for the Boy Scouts of America, chapter three on "Campcraft" provides many notes for campfire entertainment including those on storytelling. While the example story provided is an adaptation of Native American oral tradition, the criteria for stories given is as follows: "Indian legends, war stories, ghost stories, detective stories, stories of heroism, the history of life, a talk about the stars." It is among these early youth groups that the understanding of a campfire story came to be broadened and signaled a major shift in audience from veterans to a more general public. Likewise, the very nature of such organizations present factors conducive to stories of the supernatural, namely, the introduction of younger groups of listeners far more impressionable to stories of a frightful or fantastic nature. In time, the popularity of the latter would come to be predominant and greatly eclipse other genre stories.
Campfire stories hold a strong association with camping as a form of recreation. Author William W. Forgey in the introduction to his 1984 book Campfire Stories... Things That Go Bump in the Night noted that in his ten years of service as a scout-master the most requested campfire event were stories that evoke fear. Forgey further identified a number of elements that should go into the telling of a campfire story:
Forgey's points emphasize an important distinction of the campfire story as a practice rather than a genre as is the case with ghost stories or urban legends. The campfire story while owing a strong association with horror or the supernatural is not a subset nor class of tales but an outdoor activity, as much so as is hiking, rock climbing or swimming, as well for many a rite of passage into the years directly proceeding preadolescence.
Hidden Valley, White Tank, and Belle Campgrounds are first-come, first-served. A ranger will come by with portable registers to collect the campsite payment throughout the day. There is no longer a self-registering, pre-payment system for first-come, first-serve campsites. The fee is $15 per night.First-come, first-serve campsites are highly competitive on holidays, most weekends, and the springtime. They are full nearly every weekend from Sept-May and most weeknights during our busy spring season from mid-February to mid-May. On the weekends, they are typically full by Friday afternoon. The earlier you arrive in a week, the better chance you will have to secure a site. To avoid disappointment, reserve a site at recreation.gov.Can't find a campsite inside the park? Learn more about Camping Outside of the Park.Summer Status: White Tank Campground and Belle Campground temporarily close during the summer. Hidden Valley Campground is open year-round.
Reservations are required at the following campgrounds: Indian Cove, Black Rock, Jumbo Rocks, Ryan, Cottonwood, Sheep Pass Group Campground, Cottonwood Group Campground, and Indian Cove Group Campground. Campsite reservations can only made on recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777. Reservations be made up to six months in advance (subject to availability).
When you arrive at a first-come, first-served campground (Hidden Valley, Belle, or White Tank), look for an open site. If you find a vacated site without equipment, move into the site and set up camp.
First-come, first-serve campsites are highly competitive on holidays, most weekends, and the springtime. They are full nearly every weekend from Sept-May and most weeknights during our busy spring season from mid-February to April. On the weekends, they are typically full by Friday afternoon. The earlier you arrive in a week, the better your chance of securing a site. To avoid disappointment, reserve a site at recreation.gov.
For reservation-only campsites, please check the campsite information on recreation.gov before you book. Not all campsites can accommodate the maximum number of people and tents. For first-come, first-served campgrounds, up to six people and three tents (if they fit) are allowed. If site capacity is exceeded, extra guests will be asked to leave or the site may be forfeited.
You are welcome to sleep in your vehicle at a lawfully occupied, designated campsite. It is illegal to sleep in your vehicle outside of campgrounds e.g., trailheads, dirt roads, parking lots, roadsides, etcetera.
You don't need to. There is no formal check-in process at the campgrounds. Once you arrive, simply move into your reserved site. A campground host or ranger may or may not greet you and go over campground rules. Campground rules are also posted at the entrance to each campground.
To avoid cancellation, please call 760-367-5554 and leave a message for the park if you are arriving one or more nights late. If you do not plan on using your reserved nights, please cancel them on recreation.gov to give others the opportunity to use the campsite.
Campfires are allowed in the provided campfire ring within designated campsites. Occasionally, we have fire bans in the summer/fall due to high risk of wildfires. If there is a fire ban, check our alerts and conditions webpage to read more about it. If there are no alerts on this webpage about a campfire ban, then you are allowed to have a campfire at your site. Campfires are not allowed in the backcountry or outside of designated campsites in the campgrounds. Charcoal grills are okay to use. When you are done with the fire, dump excess amounts of water on it, stir it up, and check for any remaining heat. Do not leave a smoldering fire unattended.
It can be purchased in town from gas stations, grocery stores, and roadside vendors. It is not sold in the park or at visitor centers. You may not gather park vegetation, whether living or dead, to fuel your campfire. Do not burn combustible objects other than firewood.
Yes, they are located at Black Rock Campground (near campsite 6) and at Cottonwood (between the visitor center and the campground). They cost $5 to use. Payment can be made before or after use at any entrance station.
White Tank and Hidden Valley campgrounds have a length limit of 25 feet combined. Belle campground can accommodate up to 35 feet but most only accommodate 25-30 feet RV's. For reservation-only campgrounds, check the individual campsite information for the maximum vehicle length allowed. If you're searching for a campsite to accommodate a specific RV length on recreation.gov, click on the "filter" button and adjust the vehicle length to the length of your RV.
With the stars shining overhead and your campfire blazing away, nighttime offers plenty of great camping activities. The options are nearly limitless as to what you can do at night in the great outdoors. If you need help planning a few fun nighttime activities, here are some options that the whole family is sure to love.
The nighttime can be the best time for some late-night games. Two classics that will never go out of style are nighttime hide-and-seek and flashlight tag. The darkness adds an extra dimension of interest. Just be sure to keep everyone safe during the games, especially the younger campers. If your group has very little campers, try pairing up in teams to make sure that they have a buddy!
No matter what nighttime adventures you have planned for your camping trip, keep in mind that most campgrounds have quiet hours. So have fun, but also be respectful of your fellow campers and campground rules so that everyone can enjoy their camping trip.
4. TelephonePlayers sit around the campfire and the game begins when the first person whispers a message to the next person in line. The whispered message is passed in order from person-to-person, and the last person announces to the group the message he heard. Invariably, the message has changed as it's been passed along, providing a fun laugh for all.
In Nocturnal Camp, kids get a chance to learn about the nighttime world and explore camp while everyone else is sleeping. Lots of the traditional camp activities are done late at night, plus a few things that are reserved just for Nocturnal. Nocturnal kids will stay up late each night and sleep in every morning. 2b1af7f3a8