32 Best Hiking Movies and Outdoor Documentaries - Greenbelly Meals

32 Best Hiking Movies and Outdoor Documentaries


From old classic hits to new independent films, here is a complete list of the best hiking movies for some outdoor inspiration. In no order, we broke all films down into four main categories: hiking movies, hiking documentaries, outdoor movies and outdoor documentaries.




list of best hiking movies


best hiking movies outdoor documentaries - into the wild

1. INTO THE WILD

Based on the true story of Christopher McCandless, a young man who walked out on society to live alone and survive in the Alaskan Wilderness. Story made famous from the book written by Jon Krakauer. 
See movie.


best hiking movies - tracks

2. TRACKS

A girl takes a nearly 2,000 mile walk across the Australian desert with four camels to keep her company. A great, lesser known, hiking movie.
See movie.


best hiking movies - the way

3. THE WAY

The most well known film related to the Camino de Santiago. Follow a father (Emilio Estevez) in search for inner peace after the death of his son.
See movie.


best hiking movies - wild

4. WILD

Based on the true story of Cheryl Strayed hiking the Pacific Crest Trail as a path to recovery. Made famous from the popular book. 
See movie.


best hiking movies - the way back

5. THE WAY BACK

Another true story. This one is about a group of men escaping from a Siberian labor camp and trekking a dangerous 4,000 miles to India. 
See movie.


best hiking movies - wildlike

6. WILDLIKE

Somewhat similar back story as Wild. An abused young girl looking for a way out escapes to rural Alaska. Beautiful scenery. 
See movie.


best hiking movies - a walk in the woods

7. A WALK IN THE WOODS

One of the most iconic "trail books" that made it's way to the big screen. Bill Bryson (Robert Redford) hikes the Appalachian Trail in this lighthearted tale. The movie received less than stellar reviews. But, the profound impact of the book deems it worthy a spot nonetheless. 
See movie.



list of best hiking documentaries


8. AS IT HAPPENS


best hiking documentaries - tell it on the mountain

9. TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN

A great snapshot of the thru-hiking experience. Half a dozen hikers document their journey along the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. Get to know the famous hiker "Billygoat".
See movie.


best hiking documentaries - mile... mile and a half

10. MILE... MILE AND A HALF

One of the more well produced thru-hiking docs, funded from a Kickstarter campaign and featured on Netflix. Five friends take on the 210 mile long John Muir Trail in California. 
See movie.


best hiking documentaries - appalachian impressions

11. APPALACHIAN IMPRESSIONS

A homemade documentary on the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. Raw trail footage and interviews. Does a nice job showcasing the states, hikers, history and the "feel good" hiking community vibe.
See movie.


best hiking documentaries -a long journey to the start

12. THE LONG JOURNEY TO THE START

My personal favorite Appalachian Trail documentary. Well produced, beautiful shots, brief historical accounts and a down to earth hiking couple.
See movie.


13. ONLY THE ESSENTIAL



list of best outdoor movies


best outdoor movies - dances with wolves

14. DANCES WITH WOLVES

An American classic. Set on the Great Plains during the Civil War. Vast landscapes and a heartfelt story surrounding Native Americans.
See movie.


best outdoor movies - 7 years in tibet

15. 7 YEARS IN TIBET

An amazingly true story about an Austrain mountain climber who ran away from his military duties in World War 2. Heinrich (Brad Pitt) finds refuge in Tibet along side the Dalai Lama.
See movie.


best outdoor movies - castaway

16. CASTAWAY

Too slow... or interesting and thoughtful? Either way, this is a great film about a man (Tom Hanks) surviving on a remote beach with his precious volleyball.
See movie.


best outdoor movies - a river runs through it

17. A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT

Be prepared to want to learn how to fly fish. If the plot alone is not enough to entertain, the Montana (and part of Wyoming) scenery will.
See movie.


best outdoor movies - the last of the mohicans

18. THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS

Filmed in the Appalachian hills of North Carolina and set mostly in deep lush wilderness. Daniel Day-Lewis is the adopted brother of a dying Native American tribe during the French and Indian War.
See movie.


best outdoor movies - the secret life of walter mitty

19. THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY

Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) daydreams at his day job about epic adventures all over the world and ends up on a real life adventure of his own.
See movie.


best outdoor movies - motorcycle diaries

20. MOTORCYCLE DIARIES

The story behind the political icon Ernesto "Che" Guevera. This reenacts his motorcycle journey from Brazil to Peru which influenced his Marxist views.
See movie.


best outdoor movies - 127 hours

21. 127 HOURS

A riveting and true survival story about a rock climber (James Franco) trapped by an arm-crushing fallen boulder in a remote Utah canyon.
See movie.


best outdoor movies - the revenant

22. THE REVENANT

You might be shivering cold as you watch this wild film about a fur-trading frontiersman in the 1800's. The bear scene is epic.
See movie.


best outdoor movies - deliverance

23. DELIVERANCE

If "Jaws" made people fear sharks, "Deliverance" made people fear mountain people. A classic river movie, famous dueling banjos... and a famously disturbing 'squeal' scene. 
See movie.


best outdoor movies - touching the void

24. TOUCHING THE VOID

A real cliff hanger. The true story about a pair of climbers attempting to summit an impossible alpine peak in the Peruvian Andes.
See movie.



list of best outdoor documentaries


best outdoor documentaries - 180 degrees south

25. 180 DEGREES SOUTH

A personal favorite outdoor documentary. One man joins a small boat crew and sails south in hopes to go climbing in Patagonia after being inspired by Yvon Chouinard and Doug Topkins.
See movie.


best outdoor documentaries - desert runners

26. DESERT RUNNERS

Insane ultramarathon distances across some beautiful deserts. This series of races is considered one of the toughest running events on earth. 
See movie.


best outdoor documentaries - hit the road: india

27. HIT THE ROAD: INDIA

The Mumbai Xpress - a 12 day rickshaw race across India. An American and a Canadian take a hilarious stab at it.
See movie.


best outdoor documentaries - barkley marathons

28. BARKLEY MARATHONS

Another world-famously-tough ultramarathon race. Except... you don't know when the race starts, if anyone will finish or where the course goes.
See movie.


best outdoor documentaries - the endurance

29. THE ENDURANCE

One the most most incredible survival stories of all time. This is the true story of Shackleton and his ship wrecked crew in the Antarctic.
See movie.


best outdoor documentaries - grizzly man

30. GRIZZLY MAN

Is this guy looney... or does he really know his Grizzlies? Interesting take on a man obsessed with one of America's greatest mammals.
See movie.


best outdoor documentaries - north of the sun

31. NORTH OF THE SUN

2 friends spend 9 months surfing on a pristine Artic island off the coast of Norway. Bitter cold, little daylight and a small cabin.
See movie.


best outdoor documentaries - meru

32. MERU

Beautifully filmed and beautifully told. Follow three famous climbers (Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk) as they attempt the first successful summit of Meru.
See movie.



chris cage greenbelly

By Chris Cage
Chris launched Greenbelly Meals in 2014 after thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail for 6 months. Since then, Greenbelly has been written up by everyone from Backpacker Magazine and Bicycling Magazine to Fast Company and Science Alert. He recently wrote How to Hike the Appalachian Trail and currently works from his laptop all over the globe.



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