The Best Appalachian Trail Books For Hikers
As one of the most renowned long-distance hiking trails in the world, the Appalachian Trail captivates many adventurous spirits. I have read some truly amazing books about this trail and highly recommend them to all those seeking a thrilling journey.
It’s been on my hiking checklist for quite some time and I hope that one day I will find the courage to go an conquer this trail. Meanwhile, as an added incentive, like many other places I aspire to go see, I make it a point to read up about the area in order gain further insight into what could be awaiting me while exploring and becoming inspired by its beauty.
These are some of the best books about the Appalachian Trail – overflowing with empowering, amusing and encouraging stories as well as several helpful hints and tricks to make your journey a success. Whether you’re just beginning or have been hiking for years, each one of these volumes will be sure to inspire you on this incredible adventure!
A Walk in the Woods
From the lush greenery of Georgia to the majestic mountains of Maine, embark on a journey through some of America’s most astonishing scenery with Bill Bryson as your guide in his timeless classic “A Walk in the Woods”. Along this unforgettable hike you’ll be privy to an enriching history and ecology lesson while encountering fellow adventurers and even one or two bears.
AWOL on the Applachian 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.
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.
Just Passin’ Thru
In the same way a riveting stage play captivates an audience, Just Passin’ Thru delivers one suspenseful scene after another – though this time with real characters present in the historic setting of Mountain Crossings on the Appalachian Trail.
They are the heart and soul of the author’s journey into a life full of endless possibilities. Backpack purging, canteen selling, hostel running, bandage taping – you name it! Not to mention his incredible gifts for finding lost children and settling arguments with ease. When it comes to fixing romances or making spicy chili there is no one quite like him. From the good guys (and gals) to those unique weirdos – this drama has something for everyone!
Regardless of their background, each individual is held together by the author’s unique talent for capturing a story and something that compels them all to attempt (or complete) an arduous 2,200-mile trail. Some appear just once while others are seen more often; some may be friendly faces while others can be perilous. All in all, they form part of this captivating tale and remain united through it.
The Barefoot Sisters: Southbound
Lucy Letcher, Susan Letcher
Armed with nothing but pure grit and determination, Lucy (25) and Susan Letcher (21) set out to do the impossible: thru-hike the entire 2175 miles of the Appalachian Trail…barefoot. Thus earning them their name -The Barefoot Sisters-, this daring duo began at Mount Katahdin in Maine and walked for 8 months until reaching Springer Mountain in Georgia.
As they hike, their story of cunningness and resolve is woven throughout the 100-mile Wilderness, Pennsylvania’s rocky landscape, and snowfall in the Great Smoky Mountains. By reading this tale filled with wit, you’ll get as close to actually hiking on the Appalachian Trail without strapping a heavypack around your shoulders!
Grandma Gatewood’s Walk
At the remarkable age of 65, Emma Gatewood became a pioneering force when she set out alone to conquer the entire Appalachian Trail. Not only did she achieve this impressive feat once, but twice and eventually three times over! This is an inspiring account of Grandma Gatewood’s life – who quickly gained fame amongst reporters in the 1950s and 60s due to her incredible achievements. It serves as a testament to how with determination and fortitude anyone can take on their dreams no matter what obstacle may stand in their way. She was also the first woman to hike the Appalachian Trail alone.
Jennifer Phar Davis
After moments of self-reflection, Jennifer can’t seem to decide which path her life should take next. With curiosity and determination, she sets out alone on the Appalachian Trail— a 2175 mile footpath that meanders from Georgia all the way up to Maine — despite protests from her family and friends who think it’s a wild idea.
For four months, she embarks upon an adventure full of physical adversity coupled with internal soul searching; these are some of the most difficult yet rewarding times in her entire life! As she takes each step, Jennifer transitions from a confident college graduate to an apprentice of the trail. Despite all the situations she never expected before her thru-hike, surprisingly there is a lot of generosity and humor that comes along with it.
When tragedy strikes during her journey, Jennifer learns how important it is for people to be able to rely on one another in times of need.
Walking with Spring
In April 1948, Earl Shaffer had just returned home from his tour at war in the Pacific. To help him cope with what he’d experienced and seen overseas, he decided to embark on a journey through nature – all while using primitive supplies – walking along the Appalachian Trail. In four months’ time, he was able to traverse it completely alone; being one of the first individuals ever to report success after completing a single hike along its entirety!
A Walk for Sunshine
Join Jeff Alt on his incredible 2,160-mile journey along the Appalachian Trail as he braves bears, bugs, blisters and skunk bed mates while recounting humorous, frightening and inspiring stories. As he hikes through freezing temperatures, torrential downpours and bright sunshine alike – all in honour of his brother with cerebral palsy -Jeff will be sure to leave you captivated by this epic outdoor adventure!
Skywalker: Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail
What drove a middle-aged, urban businessman who had never spent the night outside to make an attempt to traverse the entire 2175 mile Appalachian Trail in only one year? Bill Walker, formerly a commodities trader from Chicago and London with an enthusiasm for walking, was so taken by his dream of thru-hiking AT that he set off in Spring 2005 determined not to be stopped by winter. His near seven foot height earned him the nickname Skywalker among other avid hikers on the trail and brought admiration from those around him. Immediately upon setting out he discovered that something else entirely awaited – a whole new world!
After Paul Stutzman experienced the sorrow of losing his wife to breast cancer, he deeply felt an inner call – a request for him to take on a challenge and follow through with his dreams. Consequently, he boldly left behind all stability in order to embark upon the Appalachian Trail from Georgia. His journey changed his life drastically over those four-and-a half months; it will touch your heart too as you read about it!
Three Hundred Zeros
Growing up near the Appalachian Trail, Dennis was constantly pulled towards its alluring lure. In the sixties he made a promise to his brother that lingered in his mind for forty years – until he could no longer make excuses and set off on the trail in 2007 to finally keep his word.