The events of the book "Into The Wild" take place from May 12, 1990 to September 1992. Though the film omits some scenes from the book, it follows the same general timeline.
The first significant event of the story is Chris McCandless's graduation from Emory University in Atlanta on May 12, 1990. He planned to spend the summer traveling and living out of his car.
In July 1990, McCandless traveled to Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Nevada. After his car was damaged, he spent the next four months hiking and hitchhiking throughout the West.
McCandless began his canoe trip down the Colorado River in October 1990. He reached Mexico, then returned to the United States on foot in January 1991. He spent the rest of 1991 traveling through the western states. During this time, he visited the Grand Canyon, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Oregon. He ended 1991 at The Slabs campground in Niland.
From January to March 1992, McCandless wandered from California to South Dakota, where he first planned to make his trip to the wilderness of Alaska. He spent April of that year traveling there, and found the abandoned bus that would be his final home on May 1, 1992. He explored the wilderness until late July, then returned to the bus, where he began to feel the effects of starvation. He survived at the bus until August 18 or 19, 1992, and his body was discovered the following month.