The best books on hiking, adventuring, and the outdoors

Who am I?

Keith Foskett has hiked around 15,000 miles on classic hiking trails including the Pacific Crest Trail, El Camino de Santiago, and the Appalachian Trail. He has written four books, and contributes to various outdoor publications. Having once been described as an anomaly (it was apparently a compliment), he now divides his time between walking, cycling, and delving into the merits of woollen underwear.


I wrote...

The Journey in Between

By Keith Foskett,

Book cover of The Journey in Between

What is my book about?

Keith Foskett was the definition of restless. Drifting aimlessly, he knew a piece was missing from his life. But when a stranger in a Greek bar tells him about a world-famous pilgrim's trail, the chance encounter sets Foskett's life in a new 1,000-mile direction. On El Camino de Santiago, the hiker copes with extreme temperatures, fake faith healers, and kleptomaniacs. Threatened with arrest for 'not sleeping' and suffering with excruciating blisters, Foskett pushes himself to new limits. Can he find what he's looking for and reach the finish in Santiago de Compostela?

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Clear Waters Rising: A Mountain Walk Across Europe

Keith Foskett Why did I love this book?

I followed Nick’s adventures from a young age, and he’s partially responsible for my wanderlust. I learned I didn’t have to conform to society’s expectations, that is was OK to follow my dreams, and to pursue what I wanted from life, not what others wanted for me. Nick’s book takes him on an epic hike across Europe, including walking through winter. He is a master storyteller. 

By Nick Crane,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Clear Waters Rising as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the story of a journey of 10,000 kilometres across Europe from the Atlantic coast of Spain to Istanbul. Nick Crane completed this adventure entirely on foot. It took him 17 months crossing Europe's uplands from the Cantabrian mountains of Spain via the Alps and the Carpathians to the Balkans and finally the Black Sea. His aim was to find for himself Europe's last mountain wildernesses and to record the lives of its people living at the periphery of the modern world. The journey was also to become a test of his own physical and mental determination. Most of…


Book cover of Ghost Riders: Travels with American Nomads

Keith Foskett Why did I love this book?

The first line of the description roused my curiosity with this one: "Richard Grant has never spent more than twenty-two consecutive nights under the same roof." Curious about his own wanderlust, and theorising that America is full of wanderers, he went out to prove it. Delving into the whys of nomads and travellers, I now understand my own nomadic tendencies.

By Richard Grant,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ghost Riders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Richard Grant has never spent more than 22 consecutive nights under the same roof. Motivated partly by his own wanderlust and partly by his realisation that America is a land populated by wanderers, he set out to test his theory and this book is the result. Grant follows the trails of the first European to wander across the American West (a failed conquistador); joins a group of rodeo-competing cowboys (and gets thrown by a mechanical bull); tells the story of the vanishing nomadic Indians and links up with 300,000 "gerito gypsies" - old people who live and travel in their…


Book cover of Through Sand & Snow: a man, a bicycle, and a 43,000-mile journey to adulthood via the ends of the Earth

Keith Foskett Why did I love this book?

I’m not all about thru-hiking, my other love is cycling. I devour hiking and cycle-adventuring in equal measures and this is a classic. As with any decent travelling book, it’s not so much about the mode of transport, whether that is wheels, boots, or whatever. It’s about the adventure, finding yourself, exploring, meeting others, surviving on a budget, and, my favourite, purely escapism.

By Charlie Walker,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Through Sand & Snow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A genuinely remarkable adventure. True grit and rabid perseverance." - Sir Ranulph Fiennes

★★★★★ "Excellent, gritty travel at its humid best"

★★★★★ "Fast paced, humble, fascinating, eloquently written. 100% recommend"

★★★★★ "Gripping from start to finish. I read it in just one sitting!"

★★★★★ "An amazing and wonderfully written adventure...I'm not sure what will ever follow it"

★★★★★ "Factual, funny, interesting and gripping. A must read"

★★★★★ "So articulately written with real humility and honesty. I can’t wait to read more!!!"

★★★★★ "A romping true adventure with struggle, strife, love and loss. Topped off with a glorious sense of achievement"…


Book cover of The Cactus Eaters: How I Lost My Mind—and Almost Found Myself—on the Pacific Crest Trail

Keith Foskett Why did I love this book?

I’d just finished the Camino de Santiago, and my hiking addiction was borderline dangerous. I read everything I could get my hands on, especially about the Pacific Crest Trail, which was next on my list. This is a simple, well-told story of a guy and his girlfriend who decide to hike a long-distance trail. It’s a familiar tale which happens every year. White tells it well, speckles it with humour, and gives a fun-filled insight into one of the greatest long-distance trails on earth.

By Dan White,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Cactus Eaters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Dan and his girlfriend set out to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, his parents wondered how two people who had never shared an apartment could survive in a four-by-six foot tent in the desert. Not to mention the fact that the trail stretches from Mexico to Canada, through boiling desert and snowcapped mountain passes. Despite the warnings of their loved ones, and even some naysaying strangers, Dan and Melissa set out into the wilderness. They are dubbed "The Lois and Clark Expedition" by their long-limbed, loping guru "The Gingerbread Man" after covering the requisite number of miles to be…


Book cover of As Far As The Eye Can See: Reflections Of An Appalachian Trail Hiker

Keith Foskett Why did I love this book?

One of the first thru-hiking books I read, and the first about the Appalachian Trail. Chronicling Brill’s 1979 hike of the Appalachian Trail, it doesn’t show its age, but reveals that the reasons we hike, and the adventure never really change. It’s poignant, honestly written, and a classic.

By David Brill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked As Far As The Eye Can See as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When David Brill's now-classic account of his 1979 thru-hike of the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail was released in 1990, it immediately struck a chord with veterans and aspirants of one of the world's longest continuously marked footpaths. Over the years, the book has continued to sell through multiple printings.

As Far as the Eye Can See: Reflections of an Appalachian Trail Hiker, now in its fifth (thirtieth-anniversary) edition and eighth printing, was recently released by the University of Tennessee Press. The new edition features a new preface on Brill's 2019 40th-anniversary reunion in Maine with his AT buddies, as well as…


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Diary of a Citizen Scientist: Chasing Tiger Beetles and Other New Ways of Engaging the World

By Sharman Apt Russell,

Book cover of Diary of a Citizen Scientist: Chasing Tiger Beetles and Other New Ways of Engaging the World

Sharman Apt Russell Author Of Diary of a Citizen Scientist: Chasing Tiger Beetles and Other New Ways of Engaging the World

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Explorer Runner Mother

Sharman's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Citizen Scientist begins with this extraordinary statement by the Keeper of Entomology at the London Museum of Natural History, “Study any obscure insect for a week and you will then know more than anyone else on the planet.”

As the author chases the obscure Western red-bellied tiger beetle across New Mexico, where she lives, she explores a dozen other citizen science programs with lyrical prose, humor, and a profound sense of connection to place. Diary of a Citizen Scientist celebrates a renewed optimism in the mysteries of the world and a renewed faith in how ordinary people can contribute to science and environmental activism.

Diary of a Citizen Scientist: Chasing Tiger Beetles and Other New Ways of Engaging the World

By Sharman Apt Russell,

What is this book about?

A critically acclaimed nature writer explores the citizen scientist movement through the lens of entomological field research in the American Southwest.

Award-winning nature writer Sharman Apt Russell felt pressed by the current environmental crisis to pick up her pen yet again. Encouraged by the phenomenon of citizen science, she decided to turn her attention to the Western red-bellied tiger beetle, an insect found widely around the world and near her home in the Gila River Valley of New Mexico.

In a lyrical, often humorous voice, Russell shares her journey across a wild, rural landscape tracking this little-known species, an insect…


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Interested in hiking, the American West, and cycling?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about hiking, the American West, and cycling.

Hiking Explore 39 books about hiking
The American West Explore 122 books about the American West
Cycling Explore 21 books about cycling