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: Thru-Hiking El Camino de Santiago

By Keith Foskett,

Book cover of The Journey in Between: Thru-Hiking El Camino de Santiago

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?

The books I picked & why

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Clear Waters Rising: A Mountain Walk Across Europe

By Nick Crane,

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

Why 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. 


Ghost Riders: Travels with American Nomads

By Richard Grant,

Book cover of Ghost Riders: Travels with American Nomads

Why 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.


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

By Charlie Walker,

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

Why 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.


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

By Dan White,

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

Why 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.


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

By David Brill,

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

Why 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.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in hiking, the American West, and adventure?

5,888 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 adventure.

Hiking Explore 28 books about hiking
The American West Explore 93 books about the American West
Adventure Explore 95 books about adventure

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Moods of Future Joys, Africa Solo, and Llama Drama if you like this list.