The most recommended hiking books

Who picked these books? Meet our 76 experts.

76 authors created a book list connected to hiking, and here are their favorite hiking books.
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Book cover of The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain

Sean Prentiss Author Of Crosscut: Poems

From my list on trail building and traildogs.

Why am I passionate about this?

In 1997, I was hired by the Northwest Youth Corps as a trail crew leader. That season, and across five more seasons, I built trails across the Pacific Northwest and Desert Southwest, including in many national parks. Since then, I have been in love with backpacking trails (including hiking the Long Trail and Colorado Trail), building trails, and writing about trails (Crosscut: Poems). I now live in Vermont with my wife and daughter. We have a trail we built that weaves through our woods.

Sean's book list on trail building and traildogs

Sean Prentiss Why did Sean love this book?

While I could list many great books on backpacking and hiking trails, there are few books devoted to trail building. I’ll leave behind trail building and focus on a poet, Cold Mountain, who, like those of us who were trail builders, lived in the woods. Cold Mountain, an ancient Chinese poet, wrote his poems on rocks and bark and scattered them across his Tiantai Mountains. These poems are beautiful meditations on landscapes, wildness, Taoism/Buddhism, and politics.

By Red Pine (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This authoritative, bilingual edition represents the first time the entirety of Cold Mountain's poetry has been translated into English.

These translations were originally published by Copper Canyon Press nearly twenty years ago. Now, significantly revised and expanded, the collection also includes a new preface by the translator, Red Pine, whose accompanying notes are at once scholarly, accessible, and entertaining. Also included for the first time are poems by two of Cold Mountain's colleagues.

Legendary for his clarity, directness, and lack of pretension, the eight-century hermit-poet Cold Mountain (Han Shan) is a major figure in the history of Chinese literature and…


Book cover of The Last London: True Fictions from an Unreal City

Matthew Beaumont Author Of Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London

From my list on the city at night.

Why am I passionate about this?

I first started walking in cities at night in my late teens – mainly London but also the Italian cities I travelled through alone when I went interrailing after leaving school. I discovered that cities have a quite different character at night, and that you cannot know the streets of one intimately if you don’t explore it – safely! – after dark. In my professional career as a scholar and lecturer, I have for decades almost unconsciously been drawn to those writers who themselves discovered, to their horror or delight, that the city at night is a foreign country. The books I’ve listed, fictional or non-fictional, are postcards from this foreign land. 

Matthew's book list on the city at night

Matthew Beaumont Why did Matthew love this book?

Iain Sinclair is London’s finest London poet, even though he hasn’t published poetry for decades, and The Last London is his elegy to a lost London – a London that is being buried beneath the concrete, glass, and steel of private housing developments. As ever, Sinclair conducts his archaeological excursions into the city and its forgotten precincts by tramping its streets relentlessly – in this book, principally after dark. He records his observations and reconstructs his encounters with others in a hypnotic, poetic prose. Here is a city fading into the night because it is erasing its history… 

By Iain Sinclair,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A New Statesman Book of the Year

London. A city apart. Inimitable. Or so it once seemed.

Spiralling from the outer limits of the Overground to the pinnacle of the Shard, Iain Sinclair encounters a metropolis stretched beyond recognition. The vestiges of secret tunnels, the ghosts of saints and lost poets lie buried by developments, the cycling revolution and Brexit. An electrifying final odyssey, The Last London is an unforgettable vision of the Big Smoke before it disappears into the air of memory.


Book cover of Scraping Heaven: A Family's Journey Along the Continental Divide

Andrea Lani Author Of Uphill Both Ways: Hiking toward Happiness on the Colorado Trail

From my list on women in the wild.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Colorado gal living in Maine, where I make the most of the long winters and gloomy springs by spending as much time as I can outside in our 20 acres of woods and fields. I hiked the Colorado Trail twice, in 1996 with my husband and in 2016 with my husband and three kids. My book tells the story of this second hike, as well as the natural and environmental history of Colorado. I’m a Maine Master Naturalist, and I’m passionate about connecting people to the natural world through nature journaling and nature writing workshops.

Andrea's book list on women in the wild

Andrea Lani Why did Andrea love this book?

A friend gave me a copy of this book when my kids were small, and it was my first indication that there is life after kids, my first glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Over the course of the book and several years of their lives, Ross, her husband, and their two kids hiked the Continental Divide Trail, beginning with the Colorado Trail portion when the kids were one and three years old.

Reading this book planted the first seed in my mind that, one day, my husband and I would revisit the Colorado Trail, which we’d hiked five years before our first son was born, with our three kids in tow. It took us until they were 11 and 15, but we did it!

By Cindy Ross,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Beginning when their children were one and three years old - barely old enough to walk across their living room rug - Cindy Ross and her husband spent five extraordinary summers hiking the length of the 3,100-mile Continental Divide Trail from Canada to Mexico. Ross undertook the challenge to teach her children that any worthwhile experience comes with its own set of challenges. Scraping Heaven is a revealing, touching account of one family's metamorphosis - an appealing adventure in a setting few will ever encounter. It is both an entertaining narrative of the trek and a heartfelt record of one…


Book cover of Try Not to Laugh Challenge Camping Joke Book: for Kids!

Joni Hilton Author Of Family Funbook

From my list on family activity books.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love playing with my kids. When my eldest was eight and we were sitting on the porch together he said, “On my last day of being playful, I want to play with you the whole day. I sure hope it’s on a Saturday.” My kids know that I turn most things into a game, that I’ll screech and stop for a tarantula on the road because it’s educational, that I'll get them to sing their quiz answers, and that I’ll sculpt a cake into almost anything for a school project. I believe learning should be fun, so we would drink lemonade out of measuring cups, guess how many hops from the bed to the closet, and have Whipped Cream Spray Wars every summer (outside, thank you). I also think families would spend more time together if they had a great collection of cool—and easy—stuff to do together. As a writer I’m creative, and never run out of fun ideas. Why not share them with the world?

Joni's book list on family activity books

Joni Hilton Why did Joni love this book?

This is the book that’ll definitely get ‘em laughing. I like the idea of camping at home—in your living room or in your back yard—as well as in the wilderness. And this book is fun to bring along. Camping and nature-themed riddles, silly jokes, games, and lots of interactive laughs. Good for all ages, too.

By Howling Moon Books, C.S. Adams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Try Not to Laugh Challenge Camping Joke Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hilarious Camp Joke Book for Kids!!
Hike right into the Wilderness with these LOL Camper-Approved Jokes that the Whole Family will Enjoy!
Funny Outdoor Jokes, Silly Nature Riddles & Punny Knock-knocks about Camping, Hiking, Backpacking, Bigfoot, Bugs, Wildlife, & Glamping!
Play the Popular Try Not to Laugh Challenge Joke Game!
A Really Fun Interactive Game for Kids, Teens & Adults!
OR
Read Jokes to Each Other While you Travel or Read This Book for Lots of Campfire Chuckles!
Great Activity for Summertime, Summer Camp & Camping Trips!
Put this Joke Book on your Packing List for Your Next Outdoor Adventure!…


Book cover of The Ritual

Alan Baxter Author Of Blood Covenant

From my list on novels set outside of America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a horror fan since I first read The Fog by James Herbert at much too young an age. Being British-born and now Australian, the horror I write is almost always set outside America (and the UK more and more often), and I’m always on the lookout for good horror fiction set in different places. I’m fascinated by cultural folklore and mythology and how people create stories to understand the world. For three years, I was President of the Australasian Horror Writers Association.

Alan's book list on novels set outside of America

Alan Baxter Why did Alan love this book?

This is one of the few novels that genuinely scared me. I was so tense during the first half of the book when the friends were hiking in a remote Swedish wilderness and being hunted by… something. Nevill does an amazing job of keeping the tension through this part of the book pulled so taut that I was mesmerized.

Then I was completely caught out by the turn the novel takes around the middle and it started to appeal to everything I love about folk horror and the supernatural, and it appealed to my love of heavy music. One of my all-time favourite books, I didn’t want it to end.

By Adam Nevill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Now a Netflix Original Movie!

The Ritual is Adam Nevill's horror novel depicting a group of friends lost in a remote wilderness in Sweden where something supernatural lurks.

When four old University friends set off into the Scandinavian wilderness of the Arctic Circle, they aim to briefly escape the problems of their lives and reconnect with one another. But when Luke, the only man still single and living a precarious existence, finds he has little left in common with his well-heeled friends, tensions rise. With limited experience between them, a shortcut meant to ease their hike turns into a nightmare…


Book cover of One Year on a Bike: From Amsterdam to Singapore

Tim Voors Author Of The Great Alone: Walking the Pacific Crest Trail

From my list on adventure, hiking, and survival.

Why am I passionate about this?

Tim Voors has walked across countries and continents on adventures taking him into the unknown: across America on the Pacific Crest Trail (2678 miles), across New Zealand on the Te Araroa Trail (1881 miles), around Shikoku Japan on the ancient ’88 Temples Trail’ (815 miles) and through Spain to Santiago de Compostela on the famous Camino the Santiago. He lives near Amsterdam and works as a speaker and creative director, giving keynote speeches for global companies and conferences, and inspiring audiences with tales of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. In 2021 Tim’s second book Not Alone will be published about his hike through New Zealand’s Te Araroa Trail.

Tim's book list on adventure, hiking, and survival

Tim Voors Why did Tim love this book?

I love it when words and photos enhance each other in a book. Martijn Doolaard wrote and photographed his epic solo journey on his bike from Amsterdam, through Europe, through the middle east, and into the far east. It is one of the rare coffee table books that I actually read and love revisiting frequently to look at the beautiful photos.

By Gestalten, Martijn Doolaard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One Year on a Bike as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The title says it all: one man, one bike, one long ride, the adventure, the pleasure, and the pain. It is simultaneouslya travelogue and visual journey. Martijn Doolaard traded the convenience of a car and the distractions of daily life for a cross-continental cycling journey: a biped adventure that would take him from Amsterdam to Singapore. Leaving behind repetitive routines, One Year on a Bike indulges in slow travel, the subtlety of a gradually changing landscape, and the lessons learned through traveling. Venturing through Eastern European fields of yellow rapeseed to the intimate hosting culture and community in Iran, One…


Book cover of Outside in

Miri Leshem-Pelly Author Of A Feather, a Pebble, a Shell

From my list on picture books about hiking in nature.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a family of nature lovers and went with my parents and my brother on numerous nature hikes. These are my most precious childhood memories. I learned as a child to appreciate nature, I was fascinated by wild animals and inspired by the beauty of the natural world. As I grew up, I became more and more aware of how fragile the natural world is today and how important it is to protect it. This is one of the main motivators for me to create books for kids that will inspire them to love and respect nature.

Miri's book list on picture books about hiking in nature

Miri Leshem-Pelly Why did Miri love this book?

What drew me first to this book were Cindy Derby's spectacular and unusual illustrations that are truly a celebration of wild nature. When I started reading, I was also drawn to the magic of Deborah Underwood's words and the perfect combination between words and pictures.

I identified with the feeling in the book that even when I'm inside, I can feel the outside. The outside in the book is constantly peeking in, when the main character of the story is inside–inside the house, inside school, inside the car. When I finished reading the book I couldn't wait to go outside, to the adventures that await me out there.

By Deborah Underwood, Cindy Derby (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Outside in as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

A 2020 Caldecott Honor Book

From the New York Times best-selling author behind The Quiet Book comes a mindful contemplation on the many ways nature affects our everyday lives, even when we're stuck inside. Five starred reviews!

Perfect for fans of Joyce Sidman and Julie Fogliano, Outside In reminds emerging readers of the ways nature creates and touches our lives in homes, apartments, and cars, and is the perfect homeschooling tool to reflect on the world's connectedness.

Outside is waiting, the most patient playmate of all. The most generous friend. The most miraculous inventor. This thought-provoking picture book poetically underscores…


Book cover of Top Walks in Australia

Lee Mylne Author Of Frommer's Australia

From my list on discovering Australia, specifically guide books..

Why am I passionate about this?

As a full-time travel writer for 30 years, I’ve travelled all over Australia and am still constantly surprised and thrilled by new places. Ask me what my favourite place is, and it’s impossible to choose! From the grandeur of Western Australia’s Kimberley and the red ochre colours of the Outback to the deep blue of the oceans and lush rainforests...I love it all and I love sharing my discoveries – both in cities and on the long and winding roads – with readers. When I’m not travelling or writing about it, I’m usually planning the next trip!

Lee's book list on discovering Australia, specifically guide books.

Lee Mylne Why did Lee love this book?

Melanie is passionate about the great outdoors and has hiked all over Australia. Her book (a second edition is due out in early 2022) covers an incredible 66 walks and her love of the landscape shines through. Some of the walks are well known, such as Tasmania’s Overland Track, while others are lesser-known. Designed for all abilities and time constraints, there’s really something for everyone, whether you want to walk in tropical rainforests or rocky ancient escarpments. It makes me want to pull on my hiking boots and go!

By Melanie Ball,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Top Walks in Australia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Australia is mecca for bushwalkers - there are walks crossing every sort of landscape, from rocky deserts to the tropical coast, craggy mountains to verdant rainforest, as well as some shaped by colourful human history. Experienced travel writer Melanie Ball has hiked every track in this book for walkers of all levels of experience. Included are some of Australia's most famous walks, including the Larapinta Trail and Overland Track, plus some undiscovered gems. Most of the tracks can be completed in a few hours, but there are some more difficult multi-day walks for those wanting more of a challenge. For…


Book cover of Girl in the Woods: A Memoir

Tammy Leitner Author Of Don't Say a Thing: A Predator, a Pursuit, and the Women Who Persevered

From my list on journey from sexual assault to survivor.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an investigative journalist, I’ve spent my career interviewing and trying to understand the worst of humanity: murderers, child molesters and rapists. They are all predators, but rape is personal for me. I was a young journalist starting my career when a serial rapist assaulted my neighbor. He entered many things uninvited—homes, bedrooms, and my mind. For twenty years, I was obsessed—learning everything I could about him and sexual assault. I read these books to understand why the justice system and society sometimes fail survivors. Yet these remarkable survivors still manage to heal their trauma–at least, that’s what I found in each of these books. 

Tammy's book list on journey from sexual assault to survivor

Tammy Leitner Why did Tammy love this book?

I devoured this book in one sitting. On her second night away at college, Aspen Matis was sexually assaulted by another student. She dealt with it the only way she knew how—by dropping out of school and hiking the Pacific Crest Trail—2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada.

Most of us would probably not deal with such a trauma this way. I’m right there with her every painful step as she takes us along on that grueling journey—both physical and emotional. What a testament to her incredible strength and the power of healing. Every woman should read this book!

By Aspen Matis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Girl in the Woods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Girl in the Woods is Aspen Matis's exhilarating true-life adventure of hiking from Mexico to Canada-a coming-of-age story, a survival story, and a triumphant story of overcoming emotional devastation. On her second night of college, Aspen was raped by a fellow student. Overprotected by her parents who discouraged her from speaking of the attack, Aspen was confused and ashamed. Dealing with a problem that has sadly become all too common on college campuses around the country, she stumbled through her first semester-a challenging time made even harder by the coldness of her college's "conflict mediation" process. Her desperation growing, she…


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

Keith Foskett Author Of The Journey in Between

From my list on hiking, adventuring, and the outdoors.

Why am I passionate about this?

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.

Keith's book list on hiking, adventuring, and the outdoors

Keith Foskett Why did Keith 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…