These are some of the best books about hiking you can read.
As well as long-term around the world travel (backpacking) I am an avid hiker and have hiked some of the best trails in the world.
However, there are still many to be done and what better way to get inspired and understand the trails better than to read up on them!
That’s what I’ve done with reading these books. At turns funny, inspiring, informative, they will get you up and hiking for sure.
A Walk in the Woods
The Appalachian Trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrains in America—majestic mountains, silent forests, sparkling lakes.
If you’re going to take a hike, it’s probably the place to go. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaining guide you’ll find.
He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy (or just foolhardy) folks he meets along the way—and a couple of bears.
Bill Bryson is one of my favourite travel writers and this is one funny book about hiking in the wilderness!
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed.
Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State — and she would do it alone.
Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humour, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.
The Man Who Walked Through Time
The Man Who Walked Through Time is a remarkable classic of nature writing, an account of a journey both physical and spiritual.
A detour from U.S. 66 to visit the Grand Canyon on a June morning in 1963 inspired Fletcher to walk the length of the Canyon below the rim. It is also a record of the Grand Canyon as it was before the massive influx of tourism.
Fletcher’s descriptions of the spectacular geography, the wildlife, and the remnants of much older cultures serve to remind us that the Grand Canyon has been around longer than humankind and may well outlast us.
The Last Hillwalker
This book takes you on a journey of discovery from early beginnings, as a school boy in the Lake District, John travelled on to make an early walk along the Pennine Way only a handful of years after this long-distance path was opened.
From there he began exploring the hills in winter and journeyed north to the Scottish Highlands where he discovered a new world to explore.
There are encounters with ferocious ice climbs on the north face of Ben Nevis. There is an ascent of the highest mountain in Europe and accounts of his time in the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue team.
There are also hilarious accounts of New Year’s Eve riotous celebrations in Highland villages where time ceased to have any meaning.
Now John travels the remotest parts of the Highlands where he enjoys the tranquillity of bothies in the wildest areas of Britain.
This book will appeal to anyone with an interest in the outdoors. It is the history of a whole generation’s exploration of the hills.
The Backpackers Field Manual
When it was first published in 1998, The Backpacker’s Field Manual set the standard for comprehensive backpacking books.
Now exhaustively updated to offer a more complete view of backpacking today, it covers the latest developments in gear—such as Global Positioning Systems and ultralight hiking equipment—first aid, and Leave No Trace comping, and includes a chapter devoted to outdoor leadership resources and basics.
Beginners and experienced hikers alike will find this book indispensable for trip planning strategies and also as a quick reference on the trail.
A Million Steps
Kurt Koontz thought he was well prepared for his 490-mile walking trip on the historic Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain.
He was fit and strong. He had a good guidebook and all the right equipment. His pilgrim passport would grant him access to the shelter of hostels along the way. But all that, however helpful, did not begin to encompass the grandeur of his external or internal adventure.
A Million Steps climbs over the high meadows of the Pyrenees, quests through the unceasing wind of the Meseta, and dances in the rains of Galicia. While following the yellow arrows that mark the route, Koontz also navigates through his personal history of addiction, recovery, and love.
With outgoing humour and friendliness, he embraces the beauty of the countryside and joyful connections to other pilgrims from around the world. Part diary, part travelogue, A Million Steps is a journey within a journey all the way to the Cathedral de Santiago de Compostela and beyond.
The Last Englishman
Born wanderer Keith Foskett had thousands of miles of thru-hiking experience when he prepared for his toughest challenge yet: a punishing 2,640-mile hike from Mexico to Canada. In a six-month journey along America’s Pacific Crest Trail, he battled the arid expanses of California’s deserts, the towering peaks of Oregon’s volcanic landscape, and the dense forests of Washington.
Battling phobias of bears, snakes, critters and camping in the woods after dark, can Foskett find new ways to achieve his ultimate goal when the worst winter in years bears down?
Shortlisted for The Great Outdoors magazine Outdoor Personality of the Year and Book of the Year multiple times, veteran storyteller Keith Foskett invites you for a trek across the greatest long-distance hiking trail on Earth. With astute observations, wit, and a delightful cast of characters, you’ll discover a compelling narrative that turns the travelogue formula on its head.
The Last Englishman is an extraordinary travel memoir by an experienced long-distance hiker. If you believe there’s more to life than work, yearn for new horizons and challenges, and believe in overcoming adversity, then you’ll love Keith Foskett’s tale of exploration.
A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf
Here is the adventure that started John Muir on a lifetime of discovery. Taken from his earliest journals, this book records Muir’s walk in 1867 from Indiana across Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida to the Gulf Coast.
In his distinct and wonderful style, Muir shows us the wilderness, as well as the towns and people, of the South immediately after the Civil War.
On Foot Through Africa
When Ffyona Campbell vowed to walk around the world, she was only sixteen. By far the hardest stage of this incredible journey was Africa which she completed in September 1993.
This personal account of her achievement tells of her relationship with the women of the villages she passed through, how she learnt their traditions and skills; how she was nearly murdered, almost raped, taken for a cannibal spirit, stoned and mobbed when they suspected she was a slave merchant.
And it tells how her anger turned to contentment as she found peace within herself and how each evening her campsite became a home when she fell in love with one of her drivers.
This is the book I read that inspired me to travel across Africa and for adventure in general.
After a close friend died of cancer, middle-aged, overweight, acrophobic newspaperman Tom Ryan decided to pay tribute to her in a most unorthodox manner.
Ryan and his friend, miniature schnauzer Atticus M. Finch, would attempt to climb all forty-eight of New Hampshire’s four-thousand-foot peaks twice in one winter while raising money for charity.
It was an adventure of a lifetime, leading them across hundreds of miles and deep into an enchanting but dangerous winter wonderland.
At the heart of the amazing journey was the extraordinary relationship they shared, one that blurred the line between man and dog.
Hiking is one of the best activities for mind and body. Get inspired! Get hiking!
Make sure you have some medical insurance before going into the wilderness as you never know if things go wrong! I have a friend who saved thousands of dollars on medical bills when he had to be evacuated in the wild after injuring himself. I recommend taking WorldNomads Insurance, especially for the backpacker!
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