Main content

Into The Canyon

In 2016, filmmaker/photographer Pete McBride and writer Kevin Fedarko set out on a 750-mile journey on foot through the entire length of the Grand Canyon. From the outset, the challenge was far more than they bargained for. More people have stood on the moon than have completed a continuous through hike of the Canyon. McBride and Fedarko took a sectional approach, achieving a feat that many adventurers have taken decades to complete. Others have lost their lives trying. But their quest was more than just an endurance test - it was also a way to draw attention to the unprecedented threats facing one of our most revered landscapes.

Throughout their passage, McBride and Fedarko encountered an astonishingly diverse and powerful landscape, rich in history, that is now facing perhaps the gravest crisis in the 98-year history of the Grand Canyon National Park.

Directed by Pete McBride and produced by the award-winning team at Insignia Films, INTO THE CANYON is a story of extreme physical hardship that stretches the bonds of friendship and a meditation on the timeless beauty of this sacred place. It is an urgent warning about the environmental dangers that are placing one of America's greatest monuments in peril and a cautionary tale for our complex relationship with the natural world.

'Into the Canyon is more than just a beautiful and breathtaking outdoor adventure film, though it is that. The film raises questions that are critical and fundamental for understanding our place as humans in the world, questions that we all need to sit with.' Michael Paul Nelson, Professor of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy, Oregon State University, Co-editor, Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril

'Engages viewers with mind-blowing images that highlight both the canyon's massive scale - there are expanses of striated redrock stretching to the horizon, the Colorado a narrow ribbon of silver far below the rim - and its micro environment.' Cindy Hirschfeld, Sierra Club Magazine

'A gripping adventure story - But it's so much more than this. Into the Canyon introduces us to the issues that threaten this mighty wilderness: uranium mining, a proposed tramway into the Canyon, proposals for dams, flightseeing, and more. This is a beautiful and engaging film that educates as it entertains.' Bob Manning, Professor Emeritus of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont, Co-author, Walks of a Lifetime in America's National Parks

'A riveting film that takes the viewer into the Grand Canyon as few others have. The hikers are by turns agonized by the heat and test of endurance to walk the Canyon's length, astonished by its beauty and solitude, and confirmed in their determination to protect the Grand Canyon from ruin by tramway developers, miners, and helicopters. Into the Canyon is at once an enchanting wilderness journey and a reminder of the work that remains to protect the lands and waters on which the indigenous Navajo people depend. Not to be missed.' Mark Harvey, Professor of History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies, North Dakota State University, Author, Wilderness Forever: Howard Zahniser and the Path to the Wilderness Act

'This is a genuine and unique portrayal of the power and importance of the Grand Canyon and its ecosystem. Into the Canyon offers a diversity of perspectives including Native and Indigenous populations that are intimately connected to the land and river. The viewer gets to experience the seasons of the Grand Canyon through the raw hardships and beauty experienced by the hikers. The film reminds us of the importance of these places and serves as a call to action to preserve the canyon and river for the future.' Jennifer Thomsen, Associate Professor of Society and Conservation, University of Montana

'Into the Canyon does something hard to imagine after hundreds of years of Euro-American depiction of that sublime landscape: It shows its grandeur, beauty, and terror - as well as the threats to it - in a completely original way. This film is a masterpiece.' James M. Aton, Professor Emeritus of English, Southern Utah University, author, John Wesley Powell: His Life and Legacy and The River Knows Everything: Desolation Canyon and the Green

'Timely...Realistic...I highly recommend this documentary even if you are not a backpacker. The scenery is breathtaking and the message is important. And again I thoroughly enjoyed watching these guys make mistakes, because backpackers can relate.' Greg Smith, The Adventure Continues blog

'Into the Canyon is a beautiful and sometimes terrifying film. Grand Canyon's flaming vertical faces and vertiginous drops are juxtaposed with interviews with callous developers who speak contemptuously of the native peoples fighting to save it. Through 700 miles of lighthearted yet pointed banter, the filmmakers ponder why, more than a century after the creation of the National Park Service, we as a society are still debating whether these spectacular landscapes are worth preserving.' Byron E. Pearson, Professor of American Environmental History, West Texas A&M University, Author, Saving Grand Canyon: Dams, Deals, and a Noble Myth

'Into the Canyon is a rich journey about relationship-building with and within an utterly relational place - humbling, even holy ground. Witness beauty, connection, greed, and commodification paired in storytelling that traverses their confluence and balance.' Jason Anthony Robison, Professor of Law, University of Wyoming, Editor, Vision and Place: John Wesley Powell and Reimagining the Colorado River Basin

'A fun, fast, meaningful and beautiful film. Into the Canyon is one of the best, deeply moving environmental films yet produced on the American Southwest. This film reinforces the words of Teddy Roosevelt when he stood on the South Rim in 1903 and said, 'Leave it as it is.' Threats to the canyon are all human made. This film teaches us why we should preserve, protect, and experience one of the great wonders of the world.' Andrew Gulliford, Professor of History and Environmental Studies, Fort Lewis College, Editor, Outdoors in the Southwest: An Adventure Anthology

'A stunning film with a profound message...Enjoy the beautiful photography as these companionable adventurers seek meaning in this extraordinary landscape by exploring the purpose of our national parks and what it takes to protect them in perpetuity. Given its scope and depth, the film should interest a wide audience concerned about the welfare of our special places, including educators, students, and conservation activists.' Robert B. Keiter, University Distinguished Professor of Law, Director, Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources and the Environment, University of Utah, Author, To Conserve Unimpaired: The Evolution of the National Park Idea

'Into the Canyon is a thrilling adventure story unfolding amid the sublime beauty of the world's greatest canyon. But it is also a defense of a landscape and its Native people against the miners and real estate developers who gaze into the famous abyss and see only money. It's an old story in the Grand Canyon - rapacious development plans draped in pseudo-democratic rhetoric of economic opportunity and equal access - and this film reminds us of the true costs to nature, our national parks, and ourselves.' Dr. Brian Allen Drake, Senior Lecturer, Environmental History, University of Georgia, Author, Loving Nature, Fearing the State


Main credits

McBride, Peter (film producer)
McBride, Peter (film director)
McBride, Peter (director of photography)
Pollack, Amanda (film producer)
Ives, Stephen (film producer)

Other credits

Editor, Tyler H. Walk; music, William Ryan Fritch; cinematography, Pete McBride.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

Environmental Ethics
Native Americans
Natural Resources
Western US


pete mcbride,kevin fedarko,grand canyon,grand canyon national park,national parks,public lands,hiking,nature photography,photography,photographer,; "Into The Canyon"; Bullfrog Films

Related Films


Explores the sea change in national attitude from pride in big dams as…

Chasing Water

Breathtaking photography tells the story of the Colorado River, which…

The Same River Twice

The evolution of a group of river guides from the late 70s to today.