13 Thru-Hiking Films to Keep You Sane While Quarantining During the Coronavirus Outbreak
You’re doing the socially responsible thing, but you’re going crazy. Hopping between the couch and bed might be nice for an afternoon or one lazy weekend, but after a few days the stir-crazy creeps in. If you’re longing for adventure while doing your civic duty and socially distancing, these documentaries bring all the thru-hiking feels without actually being out there.
As we ride out this virus together, there’s enough hours to watch all of these documentaries and more. From all of us at The Trek, thank you for staying home and don’t forget to wash your hands.
Here’s our updated coverage on Coronavirus and how it relates to the trail community:
Follow five friends as they march though the Sierra Nevada in a record snow year on the John Muir Trail. This group set out to capture the essence of both the natural beauty and human experience of thru-hiking. When they reach Mount Whitney, they realize how much of their experience was about the journey, not the destination. Stream Mile, Mile and a Half on Amazon Prime.
This documentary, produced and directed by popular hiking YouTuber Darwin, explores the history and social impact of the 800-mile Arizona Trail. The AZT spans the length of Arizona, from the Mexico border all the way to Utah. It traverses ecosystems ranging from the Sonoran Desert to high-elevation pine forests, and has had an impact on economy of trail towns and conservation of Arizona’s backcountry. Download the film here.
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Whether you’ve hiked the PCT already, have it on your bucket list, or simply appreciate the challenge and beauty of a thru-hike, this documentary captures why we hike. Nothing is planned and absolutely anything can happen while walking over 2,500 miles from Mexico to Canada. Watch now on YouTube.
The remoteness of Southwestern Utah and Arizona cannot be captured with simply words. Follow Alex Maier as he struggles along the trail, paving his way through the less-traveled canyon country, often without a trail. In his journey, he might just learn a thing or two about how to incorporate lessons learned in the wilderness to everyday life. Stream Figure it Out on the Hayduke Trail now on Amazon Prime.
What takes most hikers five to six months took ultrarunner Joe McConaughy 45 days. This short documentary follows Joe as he sets out to hike 50 miles a day, in order to break the FKT for the Appalachian Trail. It may not be a “normal” look at life on the trail, but it will undoubtedly leave you craving miles. Watch now on YouTube.
It can be all too easy to look back on a thru-hike with only fond memories. This documentary will jog your memory of the exhilarating highs and excruciating lows of life out on the trail, while taking you along the stunning scenery of Appalachia. Available via digital stream / download on the film’s website.
Paul passed away before he could complete his dream of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. Looking at his left behind hiking gear, his wife, M’Lynn, decided that there was some part of Paul that could make the trek: his boots. The entire AT hiking community rallied around Paul’s memory and carried his boots to Katahdin, inspiring us all to remember what’s most important. Watch now on Youtube.
Join Andrew “Reptar” Forestell as he journeys from Georgia to Maine, gathering stories along the way. Through interviews with fellow hikers, rangers, trail angels, locals, and more, Andrew captures the essence of trail life and culture. Buy or rent from the movie’s website.
Expansive mountain ranges, lush green forests, and alpine lakes may be what draw us to the trail. But, as any thru-hiker can tell you, it’s the people who carry us through. Follow Elina’s journey along the PCT as she discovered some of the country’s most beautiful landscape, while forming inextricable bonds with fellow hikers. Watch now on YouTube.
As a father son duo set out to hike the Appalachian Trail together, they quickly realize they’re in for more than they bargained for. As they transform physically and mentally along the trail, these two Mainers find freedom in their long journey home. Watch now on YouTube.
Alex Maier takes us through the less-traveled Pacific Northwest Trail as he navigates from Montana to Washington. From thorny bushwhacks to long highway walks, the PNT offers a challenge to even experienced thru-hikers, as Alex demonstrates in this first documentary about the trail. Watch now on Amazon Prime or YouTube.
Do More With Less
Each hiker has a unique, personal, and unmatchable experience as they set out on a long trail. This documentary weaves together the stories of 100 hikers on the PCT, as they abandon the “real world” and seek out adventure. Watch now on Vimeo.
This award-winning documentary follows Casey Gannon and Colin Arisman along the Pacific Crest Trail in 2013. As these hikers march deeper into the wilderness and further away from what used to be “normal,” their priorities noticeably shift. Watch now on Youtube.
Featured image via Maggie Slepian
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