The best hiking books 📚

Browse the best books on hiking as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

Coming Fall 2022: The ability to sort this list by genre (signup here to follow our story as we build a better way to discover books).

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

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

By Dan White

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.

From the list:

The best books on hiking, adventuring, and the outdoors

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Book cover of Gorge: My Journey Up Kilimanjaro at 300 Pounds

Gorge: My Journey Up Kilimanjaro at 300 Pounds

By Kara Richardson Whitely

Why this book?

Hikers come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. Kara proves that the summit does not belong to people who look like Patagonia models, but to anyone who is willing to carry their weight and offload their burdens. An inspiring read for anyone who wants to climb Kilimanjaro and individuals who have dealt with eating disorders.

From the list:

The best books for women who love the outdoors

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Book cover of Mud, Rocks, Blazes: Letting Go on the Appalachian Trail Heather Anderson

Mud, Rocks, Blazes: Letting Go on the Appalachian Trail Heather Anderson

By Heather Anderson

Why this book?

This is the story of Heather’s Fastest Known Time on the Appalachian Trail, but it is also the story of a woman learning to dig deeper and find confidence and contentment off the trail. It will make you realize that you have reserves that you have not yet tapped.

From the list:

The best books for women who love the outdoors

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Book cover of Wanderlust: A History of Walking

Wanderlust: A History of Walking

By Rebecca Solnit

Why this book?

Like Solnit’s A Field Guide to Getting Lost, this book is about what it means to be open to serendipity, to take “subversive detours,” and to travel without a checklist, shopping list, or itinerary. Neither of these are traditional travel books, but instead offer a sense of travel that includes our own backyards and dreamscapes as well as foreign terrain. Solnit is one of the great and one of the most versatile writers of our time, with a roving intelligence that enlivens whatever she looks at, be it medieval maps or downtrodden city streets, and that, finally, is what…

From the list:

The best travel books for wanderers

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Book cover of The Unlikely Thru-Hiker: An Appalachian Trail Journey

The Unlikely Thru-Hiker: An Appalachian Trail Journey

By Derick Lugo

Why this book?

All aspiring hikertrash have to start somewhere and Derick relates this journey with great honesty and humor. I started my vagabond life on the Appalachian Trail a decade before Derick did, but I found myself laughing in commiseration with his escapades as he learned what it means to walk across the country. Unlikely captures not only the highlights of hikertrash life, but also the lows, the drudgery, and the beautiful camaraderie that forms between people on journeys. Whether you hike or wander a different path, these themes connect for us all.

From the list:

The best books for hikertrash and other vagabonds

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Book cover of The Hike

The Hike

By Drew Magary

Why this book?

The Hike is a completely bizarre, surrealist masterpiece by former Deadspin Columnist Drew Magary. While it’s impossible to describe the plot, I personally recommend this book if you don’t mind being taken on a strange, strange journey filled with fantastical creatures, a bit of horror, and some mind-bending introspection. You might not know where you’re going to end up, but part of the fun is strapping in and enjoying the crazy ride. Fans of animation like Infinity Train or Adventure Time might enjoy this if they’re looking for something with a grittier, adult edge to it.

From the list:

The best comedic fantasy/sci-fi to fill the void of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett

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