Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just starting out, these books will inspire and educate you as you get ready for your next outdoor adventure.
From the classic A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson to the more recent On Trails: An Exploration by Robert Moor, this list has it all — entertaining travelogues, gripping first-hand accounts of climbing tragedies, part-memoirs, part-self-help journeys, and even comprehensive guidebooks. Whether you’re looking for inspiration or practical advice on gear and camping tips, these top 10 hiking books are sure to take your experience to the next level.
A Walk in the Woods
A humorous journey of discovery on the Appalachian Trail, this classic travelogue chronicles Bill Bryson’s misadventures and musings on every facet of hiking culture. From rural life and American culture to deeper philosophical questions, Bryson’s captivating story provides a unique glimpse into both human nature and nature itself.
AWOL on the Appalachian Trail
In 2003, David Miller embarked on an adventure of a lifetime – to hike the entire 2,172 miles of the Appalachian Trail. In his memoir AWOL on the Appalachian Trail, readers accompany him through all valleys and mountains as he recounts moments of isolation and reverie that propelled him ever forward in pursuit of his dreams. With each page turn comes vivid descriptions that take you from Georgia to Maine – transporting you into life-changing experiences only achievable when one takes a chance on their ambitions.
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Into Thin Air
Walter was the first person to embark on a thru-hike against his wishes. Out of shape, low on morale and now barred from his own home, this is Walter’s only option: hike or else! Unable to come up with an ‘else’, he announced himself into the great Eastern Woods for what would become the most strenuous walk of his life. On their journey northward, Walter encountered a motley crew of hopeful hikers who faced every challenge that America’s premiere hiking trail had in store for them as they pushed forward.
Part memoir, part self-help book, Wild follows Strayed’s 1,100 mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail as she examines her own broken life — from heroin addiction to a shattered marriage — while reflecting on strength and resilience in uncertain times. An uplifting exploration into one woman’s personal journey to heal her heart through nature, Wild’s powerful message will stay with you forever.
Did you know that Cheryl Strayed’s book Wild was adapted into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon? With stunning visuals and an inspiring soundtrack, the award-winning film brings the journey of self-discovery and resilience to life.
On Trails: An Exploration
From animal trails left in ancient muck to high-tech GPS systems embedded in our smartphones, Moor dives into centuries’ worth of exploration and mapping—an exploration of history and philosophy as much as physical geography itself that will leave you longing for your next big adventure. On Trails broadens our understanding of what it means to explore through compelling storytelling and thoughtful connections between people, animals, technology, nature, and time.
Walking the Appalachian Trail
Larry has a long history of involvement with the Appalachian Trail. Thirty years ago, he thru-hiked it on his very first backpacking trip. Soon after, in 1994, he started working on “Walking the Appalachian Trail,” where he interviewed 200 people deeply connected to the A.T. and combined their stories into a novel account of the trail.
The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide
Are you ready to hit the trails but don’t know where to start when it comes to gear? Look no further than The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide. Written by renowned hiker and outdoorsman, Andrew Skurka, this guide provides in-depth information on the essential knowledge and gear that any hiker needs in order to have a safe and enjoyable outdoor adventure. Through clear explanations of the fundamentals — from food ideas and packing lists to tent setup tips, hiking footwear and clothing guides and best practices for hiking with children — Skurka takes the guesswork out of hiking.
Author Zach Davis has uncovered the secret to success when thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail–it’s all in the “gear between one’s ears”. After thru-hiking the AT himself in five months with no prior backpacking experience, he knows what he is talking about. Rather than stressing out over physical preparations such as owning the most advanced sleeping bag or counting every calorie in advance, aspiring hikers must be sure to spend time preparing mentally and emotionally for the challenges that await them on their journey.
In his groundbreaking book, Appalachian Trials, Zach offers first hand accounts of other hikers’ experiences and encourages readers to conquer their emotional obstacles. This is a must-read for anyone planning an AT hike as it provides a mental road map to guide them from Springer Mountain to Mt. Katahdin.
Backpacker Long Trails: Mastering The Art Of The Thru-Hike
Have you been dreaming of exploring some of America’s longest trails this summer? Look no further than Backpacker’s Long Trails by Liz “Snorkel” Thomas, the former women’s speed record holder for the AT and veteran of twenty long trails. With her trail-proven advice on selecting gear, stocking resupplies and managing your budget and schedule, you will have all the tools to make your dream a reality. Not to mention the amazing photographs that capture life on the trail! From the Triple Crown trails, to lesser-known routes across North America, Backpacker’s Long Trails will help you discover hidden gems and unearth incredible adventures.
From gritty memoirs to comprehensive guidebooks, these hiking books are for aspiring and experienced hikers alike. Take your hike to the next level with a new perspective on the outdoors. Whether you’re looking for tips and advice or just want to be inspired, there is something here to make your journey even more enjoyable.