The 12 Best Books and Movies About Thru-Hiking

Thinking of hiking a long trail or just love dreaming about it? Curl up with one of these dozen stories.

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Want in-depth, expert help planning your thru-hike? Sign up for our upcoming Thru-Hiking 101 class with professional hiker Liz “Snorkel” Thomas. This six-week online class covers everything you need to know to plan and finish the long-distance hike of your dreams. The course begins January 12, 2016. In the meantime, start dreaming with twelve of Thomas’s favorite films and books about long hikes.

Flip, Flop, Flippin’


This film chronicles Scott Herriott’s journey on the Appalachian Trail and the colorful characters he encountered along the way.

Embrace the Brutality


If you want to grasp the grind of thru-hiking the Colorado Divide Trail, check out this documentary of Team Bad Wizard’s 2012 journey.

Appalachian Impressions: Hiking the Appalachian Trail


Featured on PBS since 2004, this Flagler film is clearly narrated with stunning visuals and an in-depth look at the history of the Appalachian Trail.

The Walkumentary


Filmed by thru-hikers for thru-hikers, this is the first documentary that details a southbound journey on the Colorado Divide Trail.

Tell It On the Mountain


Director Lisa Diener follows a half dozen thru-hikers as they travel from all over the world to tackle the Pacific Crest Trail.

Mile, Mile and a Half


This feature-length documentary tells the story of five friends who conquer the 211-mile John Muir Trail in a 25-day adventure full of gorgeous scenery.



Cheryl Strayed recounts her emotionally-charged Pacific Crest Trail voyage in this wildly popular non-fiction book turned movie.

A Walk in the Woods


After 20 years in England, author Bill Bryson chose to reacquaint himself with the USA by attempting to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. What followed was pure hilarity.

The Way


A father travels to Spain to hike the Camino del Santiago in an effort to overcome the grief from his son’s death in the movie starring Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez.

Appalachian Trials: The Psychological and Emotional Guide to Successfully Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail


When it comes to the mental grit needed to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, author Zach Davis tells it like it is in this need-to-know guide.

Zero Days: The Real Life Adventure of Captain Bligh, Nellie Bly and 10-Year-Old Scrambler on the Pacific Crest


Barbara Egbert regales readers with tidbits of information throughout this story, which chronicles how she and her husband hiked the PCT with their 10-year-old daughter.

Hiking the Continental Divide Trail: One Woman’s Journey


Jennifer Hanson and her husband Greg set together out to thru-hike the Continental Divide Trail, but Jennifer has to finish it solo when her husband drops out.