If someone were to gain access to my Google search history, they would find me totally enthralled in looking for hiking movies. It’s so wonderful to be able to be taken away for a few hours and follow the footsteps of hikers. The enthusiasm for hiking is on the rise and with a variety of movies and documentaries are being constantly released. Some of these are major productions, while others are amateur productions that can now be accessed thanks to the many streaming services available.
Movies and documentaries about hiking will instill a sense of connection to nature, giving you an appreciation for the beauty and majesty of the outdoors. Whether watching from a scenic vantage point or immersing yourself in the story arc, these films are sure to inspire anyone interested in experiencing more climbing hills, walks on open trails, and hikes!
As someone who experiences negative emotions such as sadness or anxiety from time to time, watching hiking movies and documentaries has a positive effect on my mood. This may be due to some strange character flaw of mine, but I enjoy films that depict protagonists overcoming formidable challenges by foot.
Into the Wild
Into the Wild is a movie based on the incredible, best-selling biography of the same name. Solo adventurers can be inspired by the life story of Christopher McCandless, a daring young man who embarked on a daring journey to the far-off mountains of Alaska to escape from civilization.
During his journey, he encountered many individuals who provided him with sustenance, housing, advice, and clothing, but nothing they said could convince him to abandon his mission. Throughout his life, Christopher McCandless went to extreme measures to distance himself from society, disposing of all his belongings, donating his money to charity and renaming himself Alexander Supertramp. Nevertheless, he could not erase himself from people’s recollections.
Into the Wild surely belongs on our roundup of the greatest hiking movies despite the fact that there is not a lot of actual hiking in the film. People who enjoy long, solitary expeditions in the outdoors can benefit a great deal from the thoughtful and remorseful story of Christopher McCandless.
This movie definitely deserves recognition! Starring Aron Ralston, it follows his terrifying journey through Utah’s Canyonlands National Park. It likely had a profound effect on people’s hiking habits, as Ralston ended up in a perilous situation that required him to make a drastic sacrifice in order to survive. Beyond the lessons to be learned, the movie also provides a thrilling portrayal of the lengths people will go to in order to stay alive.
Only The Essential
Nature has an amazing ability to revive us, break us down, and build us anew – this time, with more resilience. In 2013, Colin Arisman and Luke Kantola, two buddies who are also filmmakers, first encountered each other at the 109th mile of the Pacific Crest Trail while they were thru-hiking. Two years later, they went on another 5-month adventure and hiked a total distance of 2,668 miles across some of the most gorgeous spots in the American West.
Only the Essential is exactly what it suggests – the absolute least required to be content in a rapidly changing world: companionship, nature, joy, and affection.
Mile… Mile and a Half
A story of how five friends endeavored to undertake a 229-mile adventure from Yosemite National Park to Mount Whitney during a period of immense snowfall in the Sierra Nevada region. Just like It Is The People, this movie looks at how relationships can blossom through a shared enthusiasm for hiking. The gang of five set out to both capture the human experience and the stunning sights of the hike. They not only accomplished their mission, but they made one of the most remarkable hiking movies across the globe. It is incredibly stimulating as well as incredibly inspiring.
The Way Back
The Way Back is an extraordinary hiking movie, unlike any other. Its protagonists are not on this journey for the sheer joy of outdoor exploration, but rather because it is their only chance of escaping from a Siberian labor camp. Janusz, a Polish POW, and his group must traverse across multiple mountain ranges and a vast expanse of wild terrain to attain freedom. This film celebrates the strength of the human spirit, while also depicting the harshness of nature. Excitement fills the air as we follow their journey!
Wild, based on the acclaimed memoir by Cheryl Strayed, is about the transformative power of long-distance hiking. The movie follows the writer’s journey as she hikes along the Pacific Crest Trail, traversing from the Mojave Desert to Canada with nothing but a huge backpack.
This long trek gives her plenty of time to reflect on her tough past while making her way towards Canada. Self-discovery is an integral part of the process, with so much time to be alone.
If you’ve ever considered a long-distance hike and want to be inspired, gripped, moved, and challenged, this is the movie for you!
Tracks is a movie based on the real-life journey of Robyn Davidson, an Australian woman who chose to undertake a 2,000-mile solo trek across the center of the country with just four camels and her faithful dog as her companions. If you’re looking for a movie that will both stir your emotions and provide stunning visuals depicting strength and determination, then this is the movie for you!
Robyn Davidson’s story can be inspiring to anyone who wants to take a chance and challenge themselves, whether they are experienced hikers or not.
America Wild: National Parks Adventure
If you’re keen to explore America’s national parks, then America Wild: National Parks Adventure is the ideal documentary for you. Although it didn’t win any great awards, it still offers an incredible insight into the creation of America’s National Park System. The movie commences with President Theodore Roosevelt’s three-day excursion to Yosemite wilderness in California with John Muir, which had a major impact on subsequent policies protecting the nation’s land. I was awestruck with the historic aspect and the cinematography was truly breathtaking, showcasing some of the US’s most incredible parks in a way that will make you want to explore them yourself. Those who are passionate about conservation and have a few national parks on their hiking to-do-list will definitely love this flick.
Edie is an incredible movie about hiking that could take you by surprise. At its core it follows the journey of an elderly woman, Edie, as she decides to climb a mountain in Scotland, contrary to her daughter’s suggestion of going into a retirement home. It’s an amazing story of how, whatever your age, you can overcome any odds and push yourself to do things you never thought you could do. This is sure to leave viewers feeling inspired and filled with courage to take on their own hiking challenges, no matter how old they are.
Wildlike is certainly not your ordinary hiking flick. It follows the story of MacKenzie, a teen girl who is sent to Alaska after encountering a few unfortunate incidents. Unfortunately, things get worse when her uncle there becomes abusive, so she runs away and meets a lone backpacker. The two then set off on a lengthy journey across Alaska. The movie examines various contrasting motifs such as calamity against the stunning beauty of nature as the plot unravels. Finally, it culminates with a hint of hope. It might not be the most comfortable thing to watch, but it’s a hiking film that you’ll never forget – definitely worth a watch!
A Walk in the Woods
No hiking and trail movie list would be complete without a film covering a climb up the Appalachian Trail. Released in 2015, A Walk in the Woods follows the travels of Bill Bryson, who decides to walk the trail on a whim. This is one of those films that has a bit of grit and humor combined, so most audiences will enjoy it, even if they don’t go for long hikes. Apart from being funny, the movie is also full of wisdom fitting for experienced hikers gain. One of the lessons it imparts is not biting off more than you can chew when going out on the trail. It also explains to viewers why climbers should be well prepared for steep ascents and the importance of doing research. It’s an easy movie to watch that highlights the importance of friendship and camaraderie during difficult hikes and about other challenging moments in life.
It is the people
I’m super excited about the hiking films that give me that extra push to get my hiking boots on and explore the great outdoors. One of the most recent releases, It Is The People, is a short 20-minute movie from 2020 that definitely hits the mark. This backpacking movie emphasizes the importance of the connections you make on the trail, following a young New Zealander on the Pacific Crest Trail, who has some incredibly memorable experiences. The visuals are stunning and the soundtrack is great, this movie will have anyone feeling inspired and ready to go on a hike with friends!