We’d all rather go out and live the outdoors than watch someone else do it, but there’s nothing wrong with getting a little inspiration every now and then.
With streaming video services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, getting a virtual stoke is just a click away. Here, in random order, are eight of our favorites — a few of the best outdoor documentaries streaming on Netflix now. (This article was last updated on Jan. 18, 2021.)
It’s worth noting that Netflix has slimmer outdoor documentary pickings these days. If you have Amazon Prime, be sure to check out our list of the best documentaries on Amazon.
Climbing nuts will love this movie. And so will everyone else. It chronicles Tommy Caldwell’s obsessive quest to successfully climb the Dawn Wall of El Capitan. This film will leave you anxious at each fall and cheering with every chalky success.
And while much of the film focuses on Caldwell, you’ll quickly become a superfan of his climbing partner and friend Kevin Jorgeson.
Ultrasensitive cameras let us see wild animals’ nighttime behavior like never before. Filmed at wildlife film mainstays like the African savanna and jungle canopy, “Night on Earth” reveals unexpected nighttime activity and views that will leave you in awe. It’s amazing what happens after the sun goes down!
At just 27 minutes long, you can easily squeeze this one in. Prepare to be inspired as war veterans find new meaning and passion in the waves.
This doc starts innocently enough with a Colorado cyclist determined to win a race. What unfolds is a shocking and mesmerizing tale of Olympic doping and Putin’s most-wanted whistleblower. It’s no wonder this won an Oscar for best documentary.
If you’re stuck at home dreaming of the day you can hit the road and travel, “Expedition Happiness” is a good getaway. Join a young German couple as they build out a school bus and hit the road to explore North America. After this, you’ll be ready to plan your next road trip!
From the highest mountains to the desert extremes, this series explores the beauty and wonder of our natural world. Each episode is around 50 minutes long and features some truly amazing footage.
Featuring gorgeous footage of big, steep, snowy lines, huge waves, and gnarly terrain, this is the movie you watch for inspiration. Athletes from around the world perform some of the most extreme feats of outdoor adventure.
Originally released in IMAX theaters, this documentary features some truly breathtaking footage of America’s natural wonders. Come along as a trio of adventurers revisits the camping trip that inspired the creation of the national park system.
It’s an enjoyable mix of history and beautiful wild places.