There’s nothing more inspiring than a good story — and here at Cloudline, we’re partial to those involving the great outdoors. There’s something about learning from others’ adventures, experiences, and tips from the backcountry that make listening to outdoorsy podcasts one of our favorite pastimes.
If you’ve yet to dive into the world of outdoorsy podcasts, we encourage you to give it a go. Whether you’re planning your next big expedition, reliving a glorious weekend hike, or simply stuck indoors on a stormy day, these podcasts will give you the perfect dose of the outdoors until you’re back outside.
Our favorite shows touch on everything from near-miss outdoor accidents to the spookiest trail stories — and everything in between. No matter what kind of outdoor enthusiast you are, these 10 outdoorsy podcasts have something for you.
1. The Dirtbag Diaries
Since 2007, The Dirtbag Diaries has been bringing listeners stories of epic adventures, dangerous climbs, and lessons learned in the mountains. Listen with caution: Many episodes may inspire feelings of wanderlust… and a strong desire to quit your job, sell your belongings, buy a van, and head outside. The Dirtbag Diaries is well-written, beautifully produced, and — as an added bonus — it features awesome music.
2. National Park After Dark
True crime podcasts are popular for a reason — and while National Park After Dark doesn’t quite fall within the genre, it does feature spine-tingling, thrilling, and puzzling true stories about mysterious happenings outside. Better yet, the stories take place in national parks across the world. Settle in for lighthearted ghost stories, or buckle up for a cautionary tale. And be sure to tune into Trail Tales episodes, which highlight listeners’ own spooky experiences in nature.
3. Backpacker Radio
If you’re an avid hiker — especially a thru-hiker — you’ll love Backpacker Radio. Each episode features a unique guest who shares their own outdoor stories, tips, and experiences. These stories cover a lot of ground, from a family who backpacks with young kids to a horseback rider who takes on the country’s longest trails by hoof. But they all have one thing in common — the love of the trail.
4. Mountain & Prairie
If you’ve ever been awed by the staggering peaks and endless vistas of the American West, Mountain & Prairie is for you. Each episode highlights a passionate guest with a connection to this region, but it’s not just hikers who take the stage. Conservations, artists, ranchers, and mountain athletes all join host Ed Roberson at the mic. Every story shines a little light on the complex, stark, and beautiful landscape that is the West.
5. The Fine Line
No one wants to think about getting lost or hurt in the backcountry. But there’s a lot to learn from stories of close calls — from both the injured and their rescuers’ perspectives. The Fine Line’s goal is to educate outdoor enthusiasts on the risks of recreating in the backcountry. This podcast shares firsthand accounts of harrowing experiences that take place in and around Jackson, Wyoming — from climbing accidents to mountain bike crashes to avalanche disasters. You’ll be on the edge of your seat from the moment you press play.
6. The Sharp End
Like The Fine Line, The Sharp End details nail-biting stories of outdoor accidents on the trail and in the backcountry. But the stories on The Sharp End take place all over the world. Listen in to hear about a BASE jumping accident in Colorado, a climbing disaster in North Carolina, and a winter camping scare in Canada — and how these storytellers made it through these distressing situations. The hope is that by sharing stories of accidents in the mountains, listeners can learn from others’ mistakes — and prevent their own.
7. Wild Ideas Worth Living
Produced by REI Co-op, Wild Ideas Worth Living shares stories from all kinds of outdoor adventures — like athletes, entrepreneurs, scientists, and those who simply dedicate their lives to exploring outside. If you’re looking for inspiration to put your own wild idea into action — no matter who you are or what your biggest dreams are — these stories are for you.
Bonus: Retired Shows Worth Listening To
Even though these final three podcasts aren’t currently airing new episodes, don’t write them off — they’re definitely worth a listen. Trust us, once you dig back into the archives, you’ll want to binge these shows from start to finish.
8. The First 40 Miles
If you’re new(ish) to backpacking, give this show a listen. The First 40 Miles teaches newbie backpackers everything they need to know to have a safe and fun trip. Hosts Heather and Josh cover everything from choosing the best hiking socks to packing your backpack correctly. Even if you’re a seasoned backpacker, listening in will likely uncover a new tip or two. Episodes are brief but informative, coming in at under half an hour. This is also a great show to share with friends you want to introduce to backpacking — so tune in, and share it widely!
9. Sounds of the Trail
With a catchy little theme song to kick off each episode, Sounds of the Trail heavily features the stories, adventures, and characters that make the thru-hiking community special. Hosted by Gizmo, a thru-hiker herself, Sounds of the Trail features regular contributors like Kimchi, Homework, and Par 3 (trail names, of course). These hikers call in and guest on the show as they navigate their own thru-hikes on the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and beyond. If you’re at all interested in thru-hiking and trail life, this one’s for you.
10. She Explores
If you want a podcast that’s relatable, makes you think, and digs a little deeper than the average outdoor show, listen to She Explores. With each episode, host Gale Straub and her guests explore the intersection of the outdoors with other relevant daily-life topics: equity, aging, illness, raising children, entrepreneurship, and climate change, to name a few. Reviewers report feeling heard, empowered, and inspired after listening.
Listen In, Then Get Outside
We hope these podcasts fuel both your imagination and your next adventure. Next time you’re driving to the trailhead, taking a cross-country road trip, or doing chores around the house, turn on one of these 10 outdoorsy podcasts and let your mind wander outside. But before grabbing your headphones and tuning in to a show, let us know: What’s your favorite outdoor podcast? Add your recommendations in the comments below!