The Best Outdoor Documentaries on Amazon

We scoured Amazon Prime for the best documentaries for outdoor-loving folks. From hiking big miles to surviving on the mountain, these are sure to entertain and inspire.

Sure, we’d rather be outside. But when that’s not possible, watching one of these true tales of adventure on Amazon is the next best thing.

Best Documentaries on Amazon Prime

Enjoy the perks of an Amazon Prime membership by streaming these films free of charge.

The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young

You don’t need to be a runner to enjoy this doc. It chronicles the cult-like race and its enigmatic founder. Inspired by a prison escape, this race is like no other. There have been only 10 finishers in 25 years. It’s challenging, it’s weird, and it’s spellbinding to watch.

Sherpa

More than just an alpine adventure, this documentary unveils the reality of life as a Sherpa. Filmed in 2014, it chronicles how the Sherpa community had to reevaluate their livelihood and ultimately unite following the avalanche that claimed 16 of their own. This film is compelling and beautifully shot.

Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey

It’s hard to think about climbing without thinking of Fred Beckey. He made hundreds of first ascents and wrote several definitive climbing guides. This film explores his impressive achievements, unconventional life, and wacky yet lovable persona.

Heavy Water

Take the plunge into big-wave surfing with this impressive film from Red Bull Media House. Nathan Fletcher comes from a long line of cutting-edge surfers — and it shows. Try not to shudder as he jumps from a helicopter into unfathomably huge waves.

Charged: The Eduardo Garcia Story

Part outdoor adventure, part survival epic, this documentary will leave you feeling inspired. Chef and outdoorsman Eduardo Garcia’s life is changed during a regular Montana hike. Shocked with 2,400 volts of electricity, he lost an arm and nearly lost his life. But he manages to rebuild an even better life.

Meru

This doc will have you on the edge of your seat. Elite alpinists Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk head to India to take on the massive (and dangerous) Mount Meru. Along the way, they must battle inner demons, face mortality, and work together no matter what.

A Deeper Shade of Blue

More than just a surf movie, this film explores the deeper roots of surfing and man’s quest to ride big waves. Some of the sound editing and narration can float toward cheesy. But if you can get past that, the ocean footage and hang-ten history make for an interesting documentary.

Art of Freedom: The Himalayas

For more than 20 years, Poles held the record for summiting some of the highest mountaintops in the world. Watch as Jerzy Kukuczka becomes the first Pole to conquer the crown of the Himalayas — all 8,000 meters. Be forewarned: You’ll need the subtitles to enjoy this story of alpine climbing in the ’80s.

Birdmen: The Original Dream of Human Flight

This adrenaline-filled flick dives into the world of BASE jumping and wingsuit flying. Many of these athletes have gone on to revolutionize the sport, but this is where it all began.

DamNation

Dams have changed the outdoor places we love. This film looks at the repercussions of damming America’s waterways and the possibilities that abound when we remove them. With excellent storytelling and videography, you’ll never look at a dam the same way again.

Africa Fusion

Join free-climbers Alex Honnold and Hazel Findlay as they travel across Africa tackling some of the most challenging rock faces the continent has to offer. It lacks a strong story arc but makes up for it in impressive climbing footage and a chance to see master climbers at work.

Desert Runners

Follow along as non-professional runners attempt to complete some of the most difficult ultramarathons in the world. Each race is 250 km of brutal, beautiful desert adventure.

Jumbo Wild

This film from Patagonia chronicles the iconic struggle between construction and land preservation. It tells the story of the decades-long fight over the future of British Columbia’s Jumbo Valley. And at only an hour long, it’s great for a weekday movie night.

Mile… Mile and a Half

Step by step, this group conquers the John Muir Trail and builds a likable camaraderie, covering 219 miles in 25 days.

Unbranded

No, it’s not the type of outdoor adventure we normally dream about, but this true-life cowboy tale is worth considering. Following four men and 16 mustangs on an unbelievable 3,000-mile journey from Mexico to Canada, “Unbranded” shows some of the most beautiful and rugged places the U.S. has to offer.

Top Documentaries on Amazon

These adventure documentaries aren’t currently available on Amazon Prime. But if you’re willing to shell out a few bucks, they’re worth the time and money.

Free Solo

If you somehow haven’t yet seen this Oscar-winning documentary, you need to drop what you’re doing, shell out the $4, and watch it right now. Elite climber Alex Honnold prepares for his lifelong dream — climbing the 3,200-foot El Capitan without a rope.

Winterland

Not only is this ski and snowboard flick packed with top talent and epic views, but it digs even deeper. The film celebrates the athletes’ connection to the roots of skiing and snowboarding. It showcases the pure joy and adventure associated with these sports.

By exploring the history, places, and people in the world of skiing and snowboarding, viewers will learn how intimately connected the athletes are with those who came before.

Safety to Nome

Each February, 50 athletes are invited to tackle an incredible feat: a 1,000-mile journey across Alaska. This documentary chronicles The Iditarod Trail Invitational, one of the toughest races around.


Need more digital stoke? Check out these adventure docs and movies:

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Mallory Paige
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Gear Editor Mallory Paige credits a childhood exploring the Rocky Mountains for her love of the outdoors. She recently spent a memorable year motorcycle camping across North America (with her dog!) and is now enjoying introducing her baby girl to all manner of adventure.

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