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 11 of our favorites — a few of the best outdoor documentaries streaming on Netflix now. (This article was last updated on March 16, 2020.)
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!
Think one IRONMAN race — a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run — sounds difficult? Try doing 50 IRONMANs in 50 days in 50 states.
“Fishpeople” explores the unique and powerful relationship humans have with the sea. Told through the eyes of six people from varying backgrounds, you’ll get to explore everything from diving deep spearfishing for food to hanging the waves capturing the perfect image.
With a runtime of less than one hour and chock full of beautiful footage, this is the perfect evening treat.
The plot is simple: Four brave women set out to row across the Pacific Ocean from America to Australia. The details, however, are anything but ordinary, as the crew spends 9 months at sea overcoming extreme challenges. It’s history in the making.
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.
From BASE jumping to highlining, some people find happiness living on the edge. An Olympic freestyle skier takes to the skies to learn a new sport and find freedom.
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.
This is the next best thing to being out in the mountains. This beautifully shot film takes you to some of the highest peaks in the world. Incredible work from some of the best high-altitude cinematographers and a delightful orchestral score make this a doc worth watching.
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.