Films that Capture the Essence of Long-Trail Hiking

Amid my last adventure, all at once, my freedom of choice and free will were stripped away from me. Confined to a room with only views of the trees surrounding the house, the only outdoors I experience are from these windows.

When the pressure from the walls caving in on me any longer grew too much, I looked to YouTube to be my vehicle to life outside. Long-trail videos became my solace, my escape to the woods and mountains.

These films took me outside where I cannot go right now. I can share the happiness the filmmakers are experiencing. They bring a smile to my face I only find reaching mountain summits, hiking ridges, and listening to the sounds of nature.

They provide motivation. Watching these thru-hikers succeed and push beyond their limits encourage me to do the same every day.

It is surprising how much guidance one can glean from these videos. Seeing the sections I have hiked and comparing my experience to theirs has already changed or confirmed some of my plans.

These are the stories that keep me pushing forward through the hard times during my recovery. Watching the growth gained from the many struggles the AT offers reminds me the hard work I put in now will be rewarded later.

Join me for a little film festival. The nominees below are films of longer duration about the AT and PCT. More could easily be added, but why should I have all the fun. Feel free to throw your favorite films about any long trails into the comments section.

Nomination for Best Film Editing: Appalachian Trail Full Documentary

By “Dixie” Homemade Wanderlust

Dixie hiked the AT in 2015, then the PCT and CDT as well. Her video updates are compiled into this one full-length film. A fun, entertaining adventure for sure.

Nomination for Best Original Screen Play: Walking Home

By Ryan Leighton

A father joins his son thru-hiking the AT to bond and each ends up discovering themselves. Interviews with their trail family show multiple perspectives of life on the trail. It showcases the beauty of the trail and experiences many seek to have.

Nomination for Best Soundtrack: 2017 Appalachian Trail-Thru Hike 2,189.8 Miles

By Baskets

Baskets provides a visual experience with very few words of his thru-hike. Grand vistas, treacherous trails, and lots of smiles.

Nomination for Best Foreign Film Director: Hiking Appalachian Trail Movie Documentary

By Shepherd

Film is a good look at the AT with lots of wildlife. Bears climbing trees, turtles on hiking path, big-old-fat snakes with rattles and some without. Oh, and a donkey punch, not kidding. Pay attention to signs; don’t pet the ponies.

Nomination for Best Cinematography: As It Happens: Pacific Crest Trail

By Andy Laub

After finishing the AT and growing tired of city life, two friends attempt the PCT. Eye-opening landscapes with imagery that fully describes the experience. Enjoy the colors and sounds of this great adventure.

Nomination for Best Duo: Only the Essential: The Pacific Crest Trail

By Colin Arisman and Casey Gannon

A successful 2013 trail experience on the PCT. Great showcase of efficient and focused hiking doing everything it takes to complete. Lots of fun while adventuring.

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Comments 4

  • Aristotle : Nov 14th

    I thought the low budget movie ‘southbounders’ caught the essence of the trail…and

    mancub/kitfox 2012 thru on YouTube.

  • Yermo Adam : Nov 16th

    Thanks for taking the time to post these feature films. Looking forward to seeing them all.
    As you said <>
    Yes at my age, 70+ “I do not want to discover that I had not lived. ”
    Thank you.

  • ThierryB : Nov 18th

    I think movies from “Friendly Hiker” on youtube are worth the detour.

  • Katie Doane : Nov 19th

    Sad my SOBO video didn’t get a nod! #sobolives matter


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