The Best Outdoor Movies and Documentaries 2020

We all have more time on our hands than we know what to do with right now. Movies are a great escape from the real-world madness that’s going on, and there are lots of inspiring films and documentaries about the great outdoors to keep you dreaming about the day we’re free to explore again.

In no particular order, here are the best adventure and outdoor movies you can stream right now:

Treeline

Patagonia’s own movie about a group of skiers, snowboarders, scientists, and healers who explore the connection between humans and trees.

Stream for free from Patagonia’s website.

Dear Mother Nature

An REI film starring Pattie Gonia, this documentary follows Wyn Wiley (aka Pattie Gonia) as he travels the world experiencing firsthand the impacts of plastic and “careless consumption” on Mother Nature. 

Watch the full film on YouTube.

Free Solo

This one’s been getting a lot of attention lately—including an Oscar for best documentary feature—so if you haven’t seen it, sit down and buckle up. The film follows Alex Honnold as he attempts to free solo El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. 

Now streaming on various sites.

The Dawn Wall

The other great climbing video of late, following Tommy Caldwell and climbing partner Kevin Jorgeson as they attempt to free-climb El Capitan.

Streaming on Netflix.

Into the Wild

An oldie but goodie. We all know the true story of Christopher McCandless who set off from his east coast home and family for a great adventure, which brought him to Alaska, where his story tragically ends. It’s a spirited story about chasing a life that feels true to you. 

Available for rent on Prime Video.

Meru

If we’re talking about the best mountain / climbing movies, we cannot leave out Meru. This documentary follows three of today’s best mountaineers as they attempt to summit “Shark’s Fin” route on this Himalayan behemoth. 

Available for rent on Prime Video.

Icarus

If you’re curious about high-performance cycling doping, look no further. Another Oscar winner for best documentary, this film pulls back the curtain on the scandals surrounding performance-enhancing drugs on the professional cycling scene.

Streaming on Netflix.

Iron Cowboy

This is as crazy as it sounds: a movie following James Lawrence as he attempts to complete 50 Ironman races in 50 consecutive days through all 50 states. That’s a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run… every day for 50 days. WHAT.

Streaming on Netflix.

Lhotse

This new movie presented by The North Face follows the historic expedition by Hilaree Nelson and Jim Morrison as they ski down the Lhotse’s summit, the world’s fourth-tallest mountain.

Watch the full film on YouTube.

A Conversation with Cheryl Strayed + Oprah

Not technically a film, but we’ve all seen Wild—the 2014 film where Reese Witherspoon plays Cheryl Strayed based off her book by the same name—by now, so listen to this interview with the author, where she and Oprah discuss equity, race, art, and creating a better world through action.

Available to stream on Mountainfilm’s website.

Everest: Beyond the Limit

Three seasons worthy of binging straight through, this series followers a group of climbers as they attempt to summit Mt. Everest. It’s a collection of personalities from all over, who’ve paid a lot to be there and are giving it their all to complete the mission.

Streaming on Prime Video.

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