Hikers pay attention! Do you like to read? I’ve got some good news because, in this article, I’ll share the best books about hiking.
Books to get inspired
Are you in the mood for hiking inspiration? These books contain overviews of the most beautiful hikes in the world.
Epic Hikes of the World
I love Lonely Planet’s best of books and Epic Hikes of the World is one of my favorites. It’s a beautiful book filled with pictures and descriptions of some of the best and most beautiful hiking trails in the world.
Wanderlust: the most legendary hiking trails in the world
Are you curious about the scariest hiking trails in the world? Then you should read Wanderlust: the world’s most legendary hiking trails from Gestalten publishers. The hikes are not only described, but there are also beautiful photos and handy maps.
100 Hikes of a Lifetime: The World’s Ultimate Scenic Trails
In 100 Hikes of a Lifetime: The World’s Ultimate Scenic Trails, you will read all about the most amazing hikes in the world, from exciting short hikes to multi-day and long-distance hikes. Accompanied with gorgeous National Geographic photography.
The Hidden Tracks: Wanderlust – Hiking Adventures off the Beaten Path
Do you want to read a book about hiking that is not about the most famous hiking trails? Then The Hidden Tracks: Wanderlust – Hiking Adventures off the Beaten Path is the book you need. This book takes you to the most beautiful hiking trails that are not so well known yet. It’s about discovering places where you can only get when you hike for days, but also about unexplored hikes in your own neighborhood.
Hiking in the United States
As you might know, I love exploring the United States on foot. Besides hiking a large section of the Pacific Crest Trail, I also went on many great day hikes in the USA. These are some interesting books about hiking in the United States.
Walks of a Lifetime in America’s National Parks: Extraordinary Hikes in Exceptional Places
Do you love to explore the best trails in the National Parks? Get this book: Walks of a Lifetime in America’s National Parks: Extraordinary Hikes in Exceptional Places. This book describes all the US National Parks, and you’ll learn about the best hikes and viewpoints.
TIP: would you like to keep track of all the great National Park hikes? Get this amazing 100 Hikes of the National Parks Scratch Off Travel Print.
America’s Best Day Hikes: Spectacular Single-Day Hikes Across the States
Are you only interested in doing day hikes? America’s Best Day Hikes: Spectacular Single-Day Hikes Across the States might be the perfect book for you! No camping needed, because you can do all these hikes during day light. Every hike is explained really well, including difficulty and duration.
America’s Great Mountain Trails: 100 Highcountry Hikes of a Lifetime
Hiking in the mountains is amazing and it feels like one big adventure. If you’d like to discover the best mountain trails in the USA, you’ll want to add this book to your collection: America’s Great Mountain Trails: 100 Highcountry Hikes of a Lifetime.
America’s Great Hiking Trails
Are you interested in exploring one of the great long-distance trails in the US? America’s Great Hiking Trails is a must-read. It will tell you all about America’s most iconic trails, including the Appalachian Trail, the Florida Trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail.
Books about long-distance hikes
Do you dream of ever going on a long-distance hike? Or do you just want to know what it is like to hike a long-distance trail? Many hikers share their memories of hiking a long-distance trail in a book. These are some of my favorites:
The Great Alone: Walking the Pacific Crest Trail
I read The Great Alone: Walking the Pacific Crest Trail by Tim Voors (a fellow Dutch PCT hiker) with a big smile on my face, what a feast of recognition! He clearly describes what it is like to leave his wife and children behind for six months to walk the Pacific Crest Trail (from Mexico to Canada). What I found especially recognizable, is that during a hike like this, that you’ll make friends with people you would never meet in your everyday life.
Journeys North: The Pacific Crest Trail
I know, Journeys North: The Pacific Crest Trail is another book about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. It’s written by Barney Scout Mann, a well-known hiker in the PCT community. He and his wife welcomed hundreds (or maybe even thousands!) of PCT hikers in their home in San Diego. Preparing them for the hike that will change their lives. His book is about the hike of six completely different people that all have a different view on their hike. A very interesting read!
A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
One of the most famous long-distance hikes in the United States of America is the Appalachian Trail (from Georgia to Maine) and this trail is central to Bill Bryson’s book A Walk in the Woods. He really describes his hike on the Appalachian Trail in a very funny way and it was even made into a film in 2015 with the likes of Robert Redford and Emma Thompson.
Six Months With Three Pairs Of Undies: The Pacific Crest Trail
Yes, there are a lot of books about the PCT, but Six Months With Three Pairs Of Undies: The Pacific Crest Trail by André de Jel and Lian de Jel is another one to add to your reading list. This Dutch couple walked the entire trail and tells their story in this book. It is an emotional rollercoaster and it is refreshing that the story is described from both André’s point of view and from Lian’s point of view.
The Salt Path: A Memoir
After a few dramatic events, Raynor Winn and her husband, in desperation, decide to hike the ancient South West Coast Path along the south coast of England. She shares her feelings about the hike and herself in the book The Salt Path. It’s a very inspiring book and you learn a lot about the healing power of nature.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
I promise this is the last one about the PCT. But I just have to add Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed to this list, since it’s the most famous one. Cheryl goes out on the trail completely untrained and ignorant and that results in hilarious and moving situations. The book was made into a movie in 2014 with award-winning actress Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl.
Two Steps Forward: A Novel
Unlike most other books about hiking a long-distance trail, this is not a true story, but a humorous novel about the Camino in Spain. You may know writer Graeme Simsion from his book The Rosie Project and Two Steps Forward is written in the same style. It’s funny, light-hearted, and moving.
Practical tips & health
Would you like to read books about the practical things and how hiking benefits your health? A few recommendations:
How to Survive Your First Trip in the Wild: Backpacking for Beginners
If you’d like to go backpacking someday, but don’t know where to start, How to Survive Your First Trip in the Wild: Backpacking for Beginners is a great guide. It tells you what to pack, how to plan and how to navigate.
How to Walk (Mindfulness Essentials)
For many people, walking is more than just being outside. It can also be very healthy for your mind. In the book How to walk, Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh teaches you how to combine walking with meditation and mindfulness. This way you learn to enjoy every step you take.
Walking: One Step At a Time
Walking is fun and can take you further in life. How? Norwegian explorer Erling Kagge explains this to you in his book Walking: One Step At a Time. For him, there is nothing more important in life than walking, because you learn to live more slowly and look at things better.
Walks In The Wild
Do you like to hike in the woods? Then the book Walks In The Wild by forest ranger Wohlleben is a must-read. Not only do you learn which trees and animals you see during your hike, but also practical matters such as where to hide if there’s an unexpected storm.
Afoot and Lighthearted: A Journal for Mindful Walking
Do you also want to learn to be more mindful during your hikes and do you need some practical tips? Then Afoot and Lighthearted: A Journal for Mindful Walking is a great resource. In this book, you will learn, among other things, about how to take a break from your digital life and tap into your creativity.
What are your favorite books about hiking?
Are you anxious to read more about hiking? I also wrote these articles: