Nightmares Haunted Trail – Full Review

Nightmares Haunted Trail is a Haunted Attraction located in Nakina, NC.

7027 Seven Creeks Hwy, Nakina, NC 28455
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Haunt Type(s):

Haunted Trail


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Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Food/Concessions, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, “Old-School” (Low Tech), You will NOT be touched, Movie Characters, Celebrity Appearances, Uncovered Outdoor Waiting Line, All-Outdoor Attraction, Family Friendly

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This attraction was reviewed on October 22, 2021 by Team Jefferson Starship.

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Final Score: 8.37

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Along a dark and desolate country road outside Nakina, NC, we found Nightmares Haunted Trail. This attraction is a classic Southern haunt with over a decade of experience at bringing scares and screams to eastern North Carolina. While there may be haunts in this part of the state with huge budgets and big sets and Hollywood polish, this haunt has a lot of heart (and not just hearts stolen from visitors). Visiting this haunt felt like coming home for our team. All of us got our start in a small town haunt; that passion and drive and family feeling is apparent in this haunt. We were talking about this haunt for the entire drive afterward.

Cast: 8.47

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A costumed cast of around 30 actors haunt this walking trail. Boasting a tagline of ‘bringing your nightmares to life,’ this attraction draws a lot of inspiration from a variety of different popular horror films. We got to see a variety of characters from films such as Friday the 13th, Purge, and House of 1000 Corpses. NHT does a great job of presenting these movie characters ‘ they move, sound, and act as they do on the big screen, only here, we find ourselves with them right up in our faces, stalking behind us, or looming just out of reach. For guests who might not be familiar with these stars of the big screen, there is no lessening of impact. The costumed staff here pour their heart and soul into their performances delivering shocks and pulling screams from those brave enough to visit.

Costuming: 7.66

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Costumes varied widely across the various creatures that stalked our steps. While there were some truly amazing costumes, completely put together and accessorized, looking like they just stepped off a movie set, there were also several folks with minimal makeup and just some slightly mussed-up street clothes. Makeup was overall minimal, but like the costumes, was very well done in some cases.

Customer Service: 8.9

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There are a variety of non-costumed staff on-site to answer questions, and they are all helpful and friendly. We saw lots of guests call out to one staff member or another; staff responded as if all of these people were family.

This is a walking trail through a piece of the North Carolina woods. Guests should be aware of this and dress appropriately for the weather: good walking shoes or boots, a jacket if it’s forecast to be cold or wet.

The parking lot can be a bit of a beast of its own, but nothing that a truck or standard car can’t handle. Wi-Fi/cell phone signal can be sparse way out in the woods, but our GPS was sturdy enough to get us to the site without trouble.

Atmosphere: 8.8

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When we pulled up outside Nightmares Haunted Trail, we knew we were in for an exciting time. The vibe outside NHT is a classic Southern haunt. A couple of old and rusting cars, looming dark trees, some old barn-like buildings, and behind it all a distant roar of chainsaws and screams.

Even beyond the parking lot, the waiting area features a variety of places for photo ops. Occasionally costumed creatures from the trail also make appearances out in this area, much to the screaming delight of the guests waiting there.

There is plenty of d������cor outside the entrance of the trail to give a bit of a glimpse of some parts of the trail ‘ graveyards, crypts, tombs, all with a bit of an Egyptian theme spread over it all.

Special Effects: 8

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This haunt, overall, is a small, old-school haunt with low-tech effects. However, ownership of the haunt is clearly pouring a lot of effort and profits back into the haunt. There are a number of pieces here that are clearly of higher quality. Too, the haunt has clearly taken into account how light and shadows play with the senses. As we moved through the various scenes along the trail, we were pleased (and occasionally startled) by the way light and shadows moved around us. NHT has also taken into account the way the natural environment of the woods lends itself to the haunt, creating natural barriers or breaks to dampen some of the sounds from elsewhere in the haunt.

In many places, NHT has extended the details and d������cor of its scenes completely around the walking path of the guests. From ceilings above us, wandering pipes that we walked through, to the shifting feel of the flooring below our feet, we loved all of the detail at NHT.

The second attraction at NHT was a dark maze that plunged us all into darkness. Inside, unseen by the eyes, walls and floors were at all manner of strange angles. The twisting passage was allegedly empty, but at least one of our team was certain that the Tomb of Darkness was populated by something that followed her.

Theme: 8.95

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Nightmares Haunted Trail mingles a couple of themes together. The Tomb of Darkness ‘ their small dark maze ‘ flows out into the waiting area and even onto the trail slightly with its theme of the undead and Egyptian tombs. But the main thrust of the main attraction is horror movies. Though there are some more generic tropes peppered between the other scenes, we found references to a variety of movie scenes that left little doubt as to what NHT was trying to achieve. As fans of haunted attractions and horror movies, NHT was an absolute blast of fun.

Scare Factor: 8.33

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Our group visiting NHT was a relatively small one; however, the scares that we found here are driven almost entirely by live staff who do a great job of picking out the people in the line who are the most terrified and pushing them so that their fear spreads throughout the group. Various effects do a great job of building up suspense so that a looming, masked madman or the recreation of a movie scene around the guests on the trail work their magic. Of course, the main trail ends with the traditional chainsaw chase like every good Southern haunt.

The Tomb of Darkness was also especially well-done. More than just what a lot of haunts boast of, the ToD utilized a lot of traditional fun-house effects even in the pitch-black darkness: lightly canted floors, walls arranged in unexpected angles, rooms of different sizes. All of these things worked to not only disorient, but also build up feelings of unease and paranoia. It was probably the best dark maze we’ve been through, if not of all time, at the very least the best one this year.

Entertainment & Value: 8.57

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We were able to navigate the trail and the dark maze at Nightmares Haunted Trail in just under 30 minutes. With free parking and a $20 general admission, that’s a great bargain for the area. Though the night we visited was fairly calm, NHT often has a variety of celebrity guests ‘ stars of the screen, both big and small, that we are certain many folks would love to meet. Keep an eye on NHT’s social media pages to learn when these guests will be present and plan accordingly.

We had a great time at Nightmares Haunted Trail. One of our team members described this haunt as a home-cooked meal ‘ it might not be a fancy dinner at an expensive restaurant, but you know that it was made with a lot of love and care, and it makes you feel good just knowing that it’s waiting for you.

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Past Awards

2022 Awards

Longest Dark Maze (Given by: Team Jefferson Starship)

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