If your drive to the mountains is like mine, you have some time to kill and usually very few radio stations that come in clear along your route. Podcasts have been a great way to mix up a long ride and often are both entertaining and informative. There are many to choose from! Here are my top 10 favorites that cover all things trail and beyond:
The Dirtbag Diaries
One of the more well known and longest running outdoor podcasts, you can enjoy episodes dating back to 2007! If you enjoy hearing about all types of outdoor adventures from rock climbing to ski mountaineering, this one is for you. Sponsored by REI and Patagonia, this is the most professional podcasts out of all those on this list. Enjoy two types of episodes- “Shorts”, which are short essays written and read by listeners and “Features”, which are longer episodes done in a more traditional narration mixed with interview format.
The Trail Show
I’ve had the opportunity to be on an episode of The Trail Show talking about hiking in some of Utah’s national parks. If you are equally a beer lover and long distance hiking enthusiast, this one will hit the sweet spot. Each episode the hosts and often an in-house guest review a beer (or multiple beers) of the month, often courtesy of podcast listeners who send them from all over the US and beyond. The show includes a more detailed and candid discussion of a trail as well as trail news. It’s a great mix of personalities that will inspire you to explore more long distance trails, especially some of the lesser known ones! The hosts of The Trail Show are extremely experienced long distance hikers with a slogan of “less gear, more beer!” so expect to learn a bit about hiker trash culture and lightweight backpacking too!
Granite Gals Podcast
Another podcast I’ve had the pleasure of taking part in! If you live in or have a love for New Hampshire, this is a great podcast to check out! Alex and Sage are two young women who interview fellow female hikers who have a passion for the mountains of New England and beyond! Each episode features a unique story and focus on an accomplished New England female hiker.
Also a New Hampshire based podcast, this one is produced by New Hampshire Public Radio. Host Sam Evans-Brown takes a look at “the outside world and how we use it”. What exactly does this mean? Episodes range from a focus on renewable energy to an interesting look at animals including one on the history and conflict of beavers and people. Episodes are often presented with a bit of storytelling mixed in with a more straightforward reporting delivery.
Listen to the Outside Podcast
If you’re a fan of Outside Magazine, you’ll like the audio version they’ve put together. The podcast features three different types of episodes. The first include the Science of Survival episodes which recount remarkable feats of human endurance in extreme situations. The second type is the Outside Interview which, as you’ll guess, is an interview style episode with Christopher Keyes (Outside’s Editor) speaking with some of the biggest names in sports, adventure, and politics. The final episode type is called Dispatches which covers powerful stories and newsworthy topics.
If you like a good adventure story, give this podcast a listen! The episodes feature short stories from backpackers to fly fishermen all told by adventurers at Boldly Went live events. This is, by far, the most uniquely created podcast of its kind.
The Firn Line
If you’re drawn to rugged Alaskan mountaineering stories, you’ll enjoy this podcast. Evan Phillips, the creator of The Firn Line, interviews some of the most renowned alpinists in Alaska about their daily lives, overcoming set backs, and why they climb. This podcast gives a unique perspective to those who climb the most difficult mountains in the world.
The She Explores podcast is full of inspiring women in the outdoors. There is a trend of interviewing and featuring creative women who are outdoor influencers. This podcast also has a website which gives a visual look at the women and their passions featured in each episode.
The First 40 Miles
Many of these podcasts feature long distance hikers and more “elite” outdoors-people. This podcast is really designed for beginner hikers and backpackers. Topics range from the ten essentials to hiking as a couple. It is straightforward and informative, with close to 200 episodes to listen to. You can start from the beginning or skip around listening to topics you need more information on to hit the trail yourself!
The newest podcast of the bunch, but one with a bright future. This podcast is like the audio version of the popular site The Trek. In fact, it is co-hosted by Zach Davis. So far, each episode in chock full of thru hiker topics including the interviewee’s favorite gear, Leave No Trace, inspiration and information great for those looking to hike a long distance trail, and more! This podcast is new for 2018 and there are already four episodes (at this time of writing). We’ll see if they keep up this publishing pace!
Sounds of the Trail
This podcast focuses on daily life of a long distance hiker. There are different correspondents that you’ll get to know hiking the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Continental Divide Trail. These hikers also interview others they meet along the way. Unfortunately there are only two seasons of this podcast (2015 and 2016) and it looks like they will not be making any new episodes.
Trailside Radio is another podcast that went MIA. They’ve made a new website so there is hope this one will come back to life. Host Ratatouille recorded, edited, and published 21 episodes while hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail. I am hoping she’ll be back with more PCT focused episodes very soon!
Last modified: March 14, 2018