It is the People Backpacking Documentary about the Pacific Crest Trail

The current pandemic has proven tough for passionate travelers. During these times, many people have taken to pandemic-friendly hobbies like hiking or backpacking to satisfy their need for adventure. If you’re looking for ideas for your next trek, want to reminisce about a former adventure, or just love the great outdoors, any one of these great backpacking and hiking movies should be just the ticket. Even if you just want to live vicariously through the main characters, a hiking movie is a great choice– the stories take place in gorgeous locations and usually center around overcoming hardships– a recipe for a great movie night.

So without further ado, here’s a list of the best hiking movies and documentaries for a thrilling experience without leaving your couch. 

1. Mile… Mile and a Half

Set on the John Muir Trail

Mile, Mile & a Half, one of the best hiking movies set on the John Muir Trail
This backpacking documentary depicts a month-long hike on California’s John Muir Trail. The hikers themselves also happen to be professional photographers, so the epic film is also full of California landscape eye-candy. This beautiful hiking movie is a must-watch for anyone who has dreamed of taking a few weeks to go backpacking in nature.

Watch for free with Amazon Prime

2. Tracks

Set in Australia

Tracks, one of the best backpacking movies

This Australian film is inspired by a true adventure: In the late 1970s, a young woman walked across Australia without much more than our dog and four camels. It took eight months and 2,700 kilometers across Australia’s harsh outback to complete the journey. The leading character is cut from a different cloth compared to the heroines of a lot of the other solo female travel movies, and the stunning film adaptation allows you to follow her on a journey that very few people will ever take. 

Watch for free with Amazon Prime

3. Edie

Set in the UK

Edie, one of the best hiking movies, set in the UK

This heartwarming film tells the story of a woman in the sunset years of her life who fulfills a lifelong dream. Instead of going into the retirement home her family plans for her, she decides to go hiking in the Scottish highlands. Even with 80+ years, Edie proves that anything is possible.

Watch for free with Amazon Prime

4. The Way

Set on the Camino del Santiago in Northern Spain

The Way, a classic backpacking movie set on the Camino del Santiago

The Way is the story of a father who walks the Camino del Santiago in honor of his son. Anyone thinking of walking the famous pilgrimage route should catch this hiking movie about backpacking from France to the western coast of Spain. The film will give you a glimpse into the Spanish countryside and the different types of travelers that you are likely to meet on the trail. 

Watch it on Amazon

5. It is the People

Set on the Pacific Crest Trail

It is the People Backpacking Documentary about the Pacific Crest Trail

This is one of the best hiking movies about the Pacific Crest Trail– it’s beautifully shot and masterfully edited. Anyone who dreams of the PCT will love this short documentary about backpacking that depicts the raw experiences and cast of characters you’re likely to meet along this famous west coast trail. The real stories and personalities of the outdoors adventurers will inspire you to plan your own trip as soon as you can.

Watch for free on Youtube

6. Into the Wild

Set in Alaska

Into the Wild, one of the best travel movies about wilderness adventures

This moving film is a visual treat and a beautiful tribute to a man who felt compelled to go off the beaten path and immerse himself in nature. Though the ending is tragic, anyone who hears the call of the wild can relate to the spirit of the main character and his search to discover the natural beauty of this earth. In addition to being a gorgeous film, it also features one of the best travel-themed soundtracks of all time. It’s a classic backpacking movie that is a must-watch for any true explorer and is available on Netflix.

Watch it on Netflix

7. Wildlike

Set in Alaska

This indie adventure film set in the Alaskan wilderness has won multiple awards at film festivals. The wild Alaskan frontier serves as the background, and reflects the personal hardships that the main characters are trying to overcome. It’s the perfect film for anyone who likes the great outdoors but also wants the watch a character-driven survival story.

Watch for free with Amazon Prime

8. Wild

Set on the Pacific Crest Trail

Solo female backpackers everywhere have been inspired by this movie. Here is the true story of Sheryl Strayed, who embarked on the Pacific Crest Trail after a deep heartbreak. Besides the beautiful images of the Western U.S. landscapes, we love the adventure film for its depictions of everyday struggles that every long-haul backpacker has experienced.

Watch it on Amazon

9. Jungle

Set in the Amazon Rainforest

Jungle - A survivalist movie set in the Amazon Jungle

Based on a true story, Daniel Ratcliffe plays the main character who has to survive in the Amazon Rainforest after getting lost during a backpacking adventure with his friends. Hopefully, none of us will have to experience the near-death experiences depicted in this survivalist film, but from the safety of your own couch, you can watch how this ultimate backpacking adventure goes down. This is one of the best hiking movies for anyone who wants to see the resilience of the human spirit go head to head with the raw power of nature.

Watch for free with Amazon Prime

10. Do More With Less

Set on the Pacific Crest Trail

This backpacking documentary shows short interviews with over 100 hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail. Some of them have been returning to the trail year after year, some are doing the trail for the first time in their life. The hiking movie captures the sense of community on the Pacific Crest Trail and the inner passion for the great outdoors. Plus, the genuine and inspiring people depicted will give you hope in humanity. Once you see the film, you’ll probably start planning your PCT trip.

Watch for free on Vimeo

11. Touching the Void

Set in the Peruvian Andes

Touching the void - one of the best hiking movies set in the Peruvian Andes

Touching the Void is another epic backpacking and adventure film that is based on a true survival story. Touching the Void recreates a harrowing trek in the Peruvian Andes, where two friends have to figure out how to overcome the impossible.

Watch it on Amazon

12. A Walk in the Woods

Set on the Appalachian Trail

A Walk in the Woods - a classic hiking movie set on the Appalachian Trail

There are a few hiking movies about the Appalachian Trail, but this classic is one of our favorites. The charming story features a stellar cast that includes Nick Nolte, Robert Redford, and Emma Thompson. What more could you want out of a hiking movie?

Watch it on Amazon

About the author

Monica Wörner, Owner of The Backpacking Site
Monica Wörner
More posts by this author

Monica is an avid traveler and backpacker who seeks to inspire others to embark on great adventures off the beaten path. Originally from California, she has travelled to over 60 countries, most of which she explored while backpacking or camping. She currently lives in Berlin, Germany with her husband, who she met in Costa Rica while they were both solo-backpacking!