The 2,200 mile (3,500km) long Appalachian Trail is one of the crown jewels of the long-distance hiking world. The AT is home to some of the most rugged and beautiful terrain in the Eastern United States, so it’s no wonder that thousands of hikers set their sights on the trail each year.
Whether you’ve hiked the AT before or you have future thru-hiking aspirations, there’s no better way to experience the trail from afar than through an awesome video. Coming up, here are 25 binge-worthy videos about the Appalachian Trail that you should watch during your next movie night:
Our 25 favorite Appalachian Trail thru-hike videos:
1. Green Tunnel
Not everyone has six months to spend hiking the Appalachian Trail from start to finish, but most of us do have five minutes to spend watching some awesome trail footage. Green Tunnel is a short but sweet look at the beauty of the Appalachian Trail through five minutes of captivating stop-motion film, so it’s perfect for a short movie break during your workday.
2. Appalachian Trail: The 3.5 Minute Thru-Hike
Wondering what you’ll see when you thru-hike the AT? In this 3.5 minute video by Horizonline Pictures, you’re whisked away from your couch and taken on an epic journey from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mount Katahdin. The video, which was shot during a 2013 thru-hike is a quick and exciting look at the stunning scenery of the AT, perfect for aspiring thru-hikers and trail veterans, alike.
3. Appalachian Trail – The Brothers 3
Another short video to add to your queue, this five-minute film was shot during a southbound AT hike in 2011 and follows the adventures of a group of hikers known as “The Brothers 3.” Shot with a very wide-angle lens, this video offers a unique perspective on the trail that we often don’t see from photos and videos, which makes it easy to immerse yourself in the experience.
“Trail” is a very brief video that showcases the scenery from a single day on the Appalachian Trail. With beautiful landscape shots and some fun cameos from local wildlife, this 2.5 minute-long film shows us the many faces of the trail in its southernmost section. Artfully crafted, “Trail” is a must-watch for AT lovers everywhere.
5. Underneath a Blanket of Stars
If you’re interested in getting a closer look at just a section of the Appalachian Trail, “Underneath a Blanket of Stars” is a sure bet. This four-minute-long video focuses on the Shenandoah National Park section of the AT and includes some amazing footage of the clear night skies thru-hikers can hope to see during their time on the trail.
6. Trail Angel
Rarely seen and often unnoticed by day hikers, Trail Angles are the lifeblood of any long-distance trail. These volunteers help thru-hikers along some of the US’ most popular long-distance trails in a myriad of ways, whether through strategically-placed waterdrops or shuttles from the trail into town.
This film by REI is a closer look at one particular Trail Angle, Paul Stiffler, or Ponytail Paul, as he’s known on the trail. Throughout this short film, we get a better look into Paul’s work and learn more about how his role as a Trail Angel and caretaker of thru-hikers has helped turn his life around.
7. On the Appalachian Trail (With Jennifer Pharr Davis)
Jennifer Pharr Davis knows long-distance hiking. As the current women’s world record holder for the fastest Appalachian Trail thru-hike (with a time of 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes), Jennifer is no stranger to the AT. This short video gives us a sneak-peek into Jennifer’s background, her life on the trail, and what drew her to the AT in the first place, reminding us all that “beauty is in the details.”
8. The Appalachian Trail: A Thru-Hiker Documentary
“The Appalachian Trail: A Thru-Hiker Documentary” is an undergraduate fine art thesis documentary focusing on the countless hikers that pass through a small section of the AT in New York each year.
This film captures the essence of the people who set off to thru-hike the trail, catching them as they stop to rest for a moment along their journey. True to its name, “A Thru-Hiker Documentary” focuses on the lives and lived experiences of the many thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail.
9. Appalachian Trail Documentary: Dixie to Maine
This hour-long documentary follows one thru-hiker, Dixie, along her journey from Georgia to Maine. An incredibly experienced thru-hiker, Dixie has completed some of the world’s most challenging trails, including the Camino de Santiago, the PCT, and the CDT. Her “Appalachian Trail Documentary” is a compilation of the 44 videos she made during her thru-hike and is a raw look at life on the trail, which is perfect for aspiring trekkers.
10. Walking Home – Appalachian Trail Documentary
“Walking Home” is a feature-length documentary that chronicles the story of a father-son team that attempts to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. Although it started out as more of a way to enjoy the outdoors, the duo quickly realizes that they’ll learn more about themselves on the trail than they ever thought possible.
The documentary follows this father and son team, as well as several hikers they meet along the way on their 2,200 mile (3,500km) journey to Mount Katahdin, Maine.
11. Into the Wild: My Journey on the Appalachian Trail
This hour-long documentary follows one hiker, Julia Sheehan, as she completes a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Originally inspired by John Krakauer’s book, Into the Wild, which chronicles the tale of the late-Christopher McCandless, “My Journey on the Appalachian Trail,” shows Julia’s adventure of self-discovery along the AT.
12. The Appalachian Trail – A Journey of the Soul
“A Journey of the Soul” is a feature-length documentary that follows one hiker’s AT thru-hike in 2019. After quitting his job, the film’s director set off to hike from Georgia to Maine and created this video to help you experience the highs and lows of life on the trail.
13. Our Family Hikes the Appalachian Trail
While many people leave their family behind to head out on a long thru-hike, this family decided to hike the AT together. In this documentary, we get an honest look at what it’s like for a family of eight during a long-distance hike as they navigate the challenges of the wilderness and of their family dynamic.
14. Back Into Alignment (An Appalachian Trail Documentary)
“Back Into Alignment” is a short documentary that follows Alyse Parker, an online business owner from Hawaii, as she leaves her life behind to section hike 1,000 miles (1,609km) of the Appalachian Trail. This brief video provides a raw look at what it’s like to spend over three months on the trail and discusses the many lessons that Alyse learns along the way.
15. Thru Hiking the Appalachian Trail Documentary: Hike Your Own Hike
Simple, yet captivating, “Hike Your Own Hike” is an hour-long film that follows two friends that hike that Appalachian Trail. This film weaves together footage from the trail and interviews with thru-hikers so the viewer can get a better sense of what it’s like to walk from Georgia to Maine in one long push.
16. Operation Northbound. Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike 2018
“Operation Northbound” is an hour-long documentary about Matheson Brown, a 21-year-old New Zealander that sets off to hike 2,200 miles (3,500km) on the Appalachian Trail with a friend. Along the way, the duo faces scorching heat, horrendous rain, howling winds, and some interesting animal encounters, all with a sense of humor and adventure in tow.
17. VideoPodcast Series: The Appalachian Trail
An hour-long installment in the VideoPodcast Series, this video takes a deeper look into why people choose to hike the Appalachian Trail over the course of 5-6 months. The video includes an interview with Joe ‘Stringbean’ McConaughey, who held the world record for completing the AT in just 45 days in 2017 and offers an interesting look at life on the trail.
18. 20 Appalachian Trail Hikers on Why They’re Walking
Thru-hiking certainly isn’t for everyone. So, this short video from Outside Magazine asked 20 thru-hikers at the start of the AT in Springer Mountain, Georgia why they’re hiking, giving us a quick glimpse into the many reasons why people set off on a long-distance hike.
19. Dirty South Bounders
Although most people hike the Appalachian Trail from north to south, this short TV series takes a closer look at a group of people who set out to hike the other way, from south to north. “Dirty South Bounders” is a lighthearted look at life on the trail that’s certainly binge-worthy.
20. Flip Flop Flippin’ – One Man’s Search For Character(s) on the A.T.
After hiking the PCT, Scott “Squatch” Herriot had caught the thru-hiking bug. So, he soon set off to hike the Appalachian Trail and made a documentary about the community of misfits and characters that he meets along the way.
“Southbounders” is a film that follows the journey of Oliva, a medical student who leaves school behind to hike the Appalachian Trail. The film follows her as she learns more about herself and her relationships during her time on the trail. “Southbounders” is available for streaming on Amazon Prime and has been remastered into a 10th Anniversary Edition.
22. Beauty Beneath the Dirt
“Beauty Beneath the Dirt” is a documentary that follows a lawyer, Ivy league graduate, and a city girl as they hike the Appalachian Trail. The film is a closer look at the group dynamics that play out over the course of months on the AT and shows some stunning footage of the trail along the way.
23. A Walk in the Woods
“A Walk in the Woods” is the feature film version of Bill Bryson’s book by the same name. The film captures much of the comedy of Bryson’s national bestseller and is a lighthearted look at an unlikely duo of old friends that attempt to hike the trail despite their countless setbacks and antics.
“Maine” is the story of a woman from Spain who leaves her life behind to hike the Appalachian Trail. Although she originally sets out to learn more about herself and redefine her own personal identity, along the trail, she develops a difficult relationship with another thru-hiker on her way to Maine.
25. Karl Meltzer: Made to Be Broken
In 2016, ultra-runner Karl Meltzer set out to achieve his dream: a world-record run of the 2,200 mile (3,500km) Appalachian Trail. This film from Red Bull Media House showcases his journey and follows him, step by step, as he makes his third attempt to run the AT in less than 46 days, 8 hours, and 6 minutes. Also check out: 33 Must Watch Documentaries For Trail Runners
Up Next In Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiking:
David is an accomplished mountain endurance athlete who has completed over 25 ultra marathon races (follow on Strava). He is most proud of his finish at The Drift 100 – a high elevation, 100 mile winter foot race that zigzags along the Continental Divide in Wyoming. In the future he hopes to compete in the ITI 350 and ultimately the full 1,000 mile Iditarod Trail Invitational that follows the same path as the historic dog sled race.