To film, comic book, literature and TV show writers, the wilderness is untamed and unknowable, a place where big adventures happen and which few humans see. The big wilderness is mostly associated with the western coastline of America like Alaska, California, Oregon and Washington where miles of forest still exist in pristine beauty; the same applies to British Columbia, which makes up the Canadian portion of The Other Rainforest. It can also cover places like Germany's Black Forest, the moors of England, 90% of Russia, or any creepy, looming, or deep woodland in the world.
The Wild Wilderness is anything that pertains to big forests, mountains, vast meadows and other land untouched by the hand of man while it also has adventure, some spookiness/mysterious happenings, and/or events unseen by the rest of the world, or at least the general populace. For example, Erin takes a stroll in the Deep South woodlands to search for the source of a mysterious glow she sees every night. She finds a hidden valley and ends up fighting off cannibal swamp pirates, saving an Artifact of Doom, fending off poisonous reptiles, and escaping back to the safety of home, all without anyone in her town noticing what's going on in those same woodlands.
In Real Life this is partly possible in only some of the listed locales as deep woodlands where no one can see what goes on; but in some works of fiction where there are modern or future settings it seems as if the world has had all of its woodlands magically transformed into untouched wilderness. If it takes place in a fantasy or alien world, it's Hand Waved to be uninhabited.
This is not often the case in reality; as anyone looking at Google Maps on satellite view can plainly see, population is sporadic and very well spread out. It's difficult to get lost in the wilderness without running into a road or human settlement, outside of a few famously remote locales such as Alaska or Siberia. Whether this is a good or bad thing is up to interpretation as it can be quite disillusioning to watch the camera pan back on the DVD extras and realize there's a strip mine and a Company Town right behind the "lush, unspoiled wilderness" in your favorite adventure film.
May overlap with River of Insanity and may lead to The Greatest Story Never Told but is not related to Horrible Camping Trip, because these are set in campgrounds and organized hiking trails. Überwald is likely to be right on the doorstep, and may add some supernatural nastiness to the setting.
Compare Ghibli Hills, which is mostly wild but contains much more chance of random encounters with friendly rural inhabitants and their humble settlements; and Arcadia which is a "natural" rural area populated by peaceful shepherds or peasants. Not to be confused with the Enchanted Forest, which is when a forest is explicitly magical or otherworldly. When Trees Attack the protagonist, it probably falls under that trope. A Sinister Deer Skull is a common set piece in these places to add foreboding atmosphere. While there are generally very few inhabitants, there may be a Mountain Man living deep in the forest and living off the land, but they are so good at hiding that you won't see them unless they want you to.
- Robin (1993): When tracking a gun runner Tim befriends a man named Stephen whose powers turn the already desolate seeming woods into something larger and stranger are by causing them to turn into a Extra-Dimensional Shortcut with no clear point of entry or exit as he travels deeper into them. For those Stephen doesn't get along with these are definitely woods to avoid since losing sight of him once in his forest means being lost forever.
- Wonder Woman: The wilds are Artemis' domain, and she's a fierce and deadly goddess of the hunt who takes no issue with hunting mortals should they displease her, which is easy to do without being aware of it.
- Brother Bear: It takes place in some wild and rocky mountains somewhere in North America where no outsider is in a position to notice the supernatural goings-on. Justified by the fact the story appears to be taking place at the tail end of the last Ice Age, where the vast majority of the continent really was uninhabited wilderness.
- The forest in Epic (2013).
- Up the Creek: The whole movie takes place on a river in the middle of the wilderness, the adventures they have there kind of fit this trope.
- Man in the Wilderness is set in the Dawn of the Wild West, so Zach can travel hundreds of miles and only encounter the occasional Indian.
- Almost the entirety of Europe (and the rest of the world) serves as this in Earth's Children, as at this point in history (the Ice Age) humans are nowhere near as populous and outside of villages and settlements, there are no structures of any kind, with the majority of the land consisting of vast forests and open grasslands. You can go for months without seeing other people (in Ayla's case, she goes three years without encountering another human being) and the characters often have to rely entirely on their own skills and knowledge to survive.
- A fae boy is found in one, in An Encounter and an Offer.
- Jane Yellowrock: Louisiana's swamps serve this trope nicely.
- The Last Unicorn: Somehow the Red Bull runs through all of England without being seen by every town in the way.
- It's suggested that the town of Hagsgate, the last town before Haggard's castle, saw the Bull hunting the unicorns but said nothing for fear it would stop and they wouldn't be able to see unicorns again.
- Release That Witch: Beyond the Impassable Mountain Range (which surrounds the lands the story takes place in) is all unexplored wild lands. They're actually the former lands of mankind, that were left to rot as the Demons slowly pushed mankind further and further onto the edge of the continent.
- The Doctor Who episode In The Forest Of The Night, features a literal urban jungle created in London, not to mention the rest of the world, when trees appear out of nowhere.
- Northern Exposure: The whole story is set in a wilderness region of Alaska.
- Twin Peaks: Twin Peaks is somewhere in Washington State, creepy even in Real Life.
- One episode of Highlander: The Series was centered around Tessa being kidnapped by an Immortal mountain man who intended to take her out into the really deep wilderness of the Pacific Northwest. He lampshaded this trope when she was confident Duncan would track her down.
"Where we're goin', no white man's ever been, nor most Indians neither."
- A radio episode of Our Miss Brooks featured an attempt by Mr. Conklin to borrow Mrs. Davis's house trailer and go fishing on an isolated lake, deep in the wilderness. The name of the lake, and the title of the episode? "Oo Oo Me Me Tocoludi Gucci Moo Moo." It's the local Indians' word for "blue."
- Alan Wake: The whole setting is a wild woodland with an old mine, a creepy town, and a dark secret...it fits.
- Deadly Premonition: The setting is in a creepy Twin Peaks-esque town called Greenvale which happens to be nestled in some creepy woods.
- In The Elder Scrolls series, the Hunting Grounds is the realm of Hircine, the Daedric Prince of the Hunt. It is an infinite expanse of thick forests and open plains populated by Hircine's werecreatures. There, the Hunter and the Hunted can switch roles at any time. Hircine is always seeking more worthy prey to add to it.
- Far Cry 5 is set in the cultist-controlled mountain valley of Hope Springs, Montana. It's a weird place.
- Silent Hill 4 has spots of this, but then again it IS Silent Hill...
- At the start of Of Weasels And Chickens, the animals live in the Haven — a gated compound of houses built and inhabited by small woodland creatures. The Haven is surrounded by the dangerous forest, in which predators dwell. In Episode Two, much to his horror and amazement, Marcus the weasel is kicked out of the Haven and into the forest.
- Gravity Falls: A main focus in Gravity Falls is the forest with strange creatures such as gnomes, manotaurs, and gremloblins.
- Over the Garden Wall: The whole series is about a forest that is occupied by the mysterious Beast.