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Embark on the trail of adrenaline-pumping adventures where every step is a story unfolding in nature’s theater.

From harrowing survival tales to serene journeys of self-discovery, these titles are more than mere walks in the woods.

Gear up to traverse our curated list of the top hiking movies, shows, and documentaries that are a headlamp in the wild storytelling night.

Best Hiking Movies, Shows, and Documentaries:

  1. Wild (2014)
  2. Into the Wild (2007)
  3. A Walk in the Woods (2015)
  4. 127 Hours (2010)
  5. The Way (2010)
  6. Tracks (2013)
  7. Everest (2015)
  8. The Way Back (2010)
  9. North Face (2008)

#1 Wild (2014)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Jean-Marc VallΓ©e
  • 🌟 Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski, Michiel Huisman

In Wild, Reese Witherspoon portrays Cheryl Strayed, a woman who undertakes a solo 1,100-mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. The film is based on Strayed’s memoir and showcases the physical and emotional challenges she faces on her journey of self-discovery and healing after the death of her mother and the dissolution of her marriage.

The film earned critical acclaim, particularly for Witherspoon’s and Laura Dern’s performances, both receiving Oscar nominations for their roles.

Where to watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+

#2 Into the Wild (2007)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Sean Penn
  • 🌟 Starring: Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Jena Malone, Vince Vaughn

Into the Wild tells the true story of Christopher McCandless, a young man who gives up his possessions and savings to embark on a journey into the Alaskan wilderness. The film is based on Jon Krakauer’s non-fiction book of the same name and captures McCandless’s spirit of adventure as well as the harsh realities of his quest for freedom and self-sufficiency.

Emile Hirsch showcases a powerful performance as McCandless, and the film’s stunning cinematography highlights the beauty and isolation of the natural landscapes he encounters.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Apple TV

#3 A Walk in the Woods (2015)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Ken Kwapis
  • 🌟 Starring: Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, Emma Thompson, Mary Steenburgen

Adapted from Bill Bryson’s memoir, A Walk in the Woods features Robert Redford and Nick Nolte as two old friends who attempt to reconnect by hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Despite their age and inexperience, the duo’s journey is lighthearted and comical, reflecting not only the beauty of the great outdoors but also the bond and friendship that develop through shared experiences. The film offers a humorous take on the often challenging experience of long-distance hiking and the unpredictable elements that accompany such an adventure.

Where to watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu

#4 127 Hours (2010)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Danny Boyle
  • 🌟 Starring: James Franco

127 Hours is a gripping survival drama based on the real-life ordeal of outdoorsman Aron Ralston, who becomes trapped by a boulder in an isolated canyon in Utah.

James Franco delivers a compelling solo performance as Ralston, who must reflect upon his life and ultimately resort to desperate measures to survive. Directed by Danny Boyle, the film is an intense and visceral illustration of human resilience and the instinct to overcome unimaginable adversity.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Starz

#5 The Way (2010)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Emilio Estevez
  • 🌟 Starring: Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Deborah Kara Unger, James Nesbitt, Yorick van Wageningen

The Way is a heartwarming story about a father’s journey along the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route. After his son dies while trekking the trail, Thomas Avery (played by Martin Sheen) decides to finish the pilgrimage in his son’s honor. Along the way, he meets other travelers, each with their issues and reasons for making the trek.

This movie, directed by Martin Sheen’s son, Emilio Estevez, explores themes of loss, friendship, and personal growth. It is both a physical and emotional journey set against the scenic backdrop of northwestern Spain.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Tubi

#6 Tracks (2013)

  • 🎬 Directed by: John Curran
  • 🌟 Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Adam Driver

Tracks is an adventurous tale based on the memoir of Robyn Davidson, who embarked on a daunting 1,700-mile trek across the deserts of West Australia with four camels and her loyal dog.

Mia Wasikowska stars as Davidson, capturing the essence of her incredible journey of self-discovery, which is filled with both inspiring and harrowing moments. The film highlights the vast, unforgiving landscapes of Australia as well as the connection between humans, animals, and the wilderness.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Apple TV

#7 Everest (2015)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Baltasar KormΓ‘kur
  • 🌟 Starring: Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Emily Watson, Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, Jake Gyllenhaal

Everest dramatizes the tragic events of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, in which several climbers faced one of the worst snowstorms on record while making their descent from the summit. The film boasts an ensemble cast and depicts the heroism and perseverance of the climbers in the face of overwhelming odds.

Highlighting the splendor and the perils of high-altitude climbing, Everest offers a sobering look at the human cost of mountaineering triumphs and the unrelenting power of nature.

Where to watch: Peacock, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu

#8 The Way Back (2010)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Peter Weir
  • 🌟 Starring: Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, Saoirse Ronan, Colin Farrell, Mark Strong

The Way Back is inspired by a true story and tells the tale of a group of prisoners who escape from a Siberian gulag during World War II and traverse over 4,000 miles on foot to freedom in India. The group encounters a variety of obstacles and climates, testing their endurance and resolve.

Directed by Peter Weir, this film not only offers an incredible survival story but also examines the bonds formed among people who rely on one another for survival.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Tubi

#9 North Face (2008)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Philipp StΓΆlzl
  • 🌟 Starring: Benno FΓΌrmann, Florian Lukas, Johanna Wokalek

North Face is a historical drama based on the 1936 attempt to climb the Eiger’s North Face, one of the most treacherous rock faces in the Alps. As Nazi propaganda urges the nation’s alpinists to conquer the unclimbed face, two German climbers, Toni Kurz, and Andi Hinterstoisser, take on the challenge.

The film is a chilling portrayal of the clashing forces of nature and ambition, capturing the thrilling aspects of mountain climbing as well as the relentless dangers faced by climbers who dare to confront the infamous Nordwand (North Face).

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, Tubi, Pluto TV

FAQ

What is the best hiking movie of all time?

“Into the Wild” (2007) is the best hiking movie of all time, with its profound storytelling and scenic backdrops that encapsulate the essence of self-discovery and adventure.

What are some good hiking movies?

“Wild” (2014), “A Walk in the Woods” (2015), and “127 Hours” (2010) are good hiking movies, as they each explore personal transformation against the backdrop of challenging terrains.

What hiking movies, shows, and documentaries are on Netflix?

The best hiking movies, shows, and documentaries on Netflix currently are “The Dawn Wall” (2017), “14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible” (2021), and “Into the Wild” (if available in the region).

Stefanie is a hiking and camping enthusiast who spends most of her travels experiencing the outdoors. She is the founder of Open Road Odysseys, a road trip travel blog for budget and outdoor adventurers.

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