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Books About Hiking: 25 Wonderful Trail Tales


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Donni Deans



Embarking on a hiking adventure is not just a physical activity but a spiritual journey that allows you to connect with nature and challenge yourself. Whether you are a seasoned hiker or a novice looking to explore the great outdoors, there is something truly magical about the experience of being on the trails. And what better way to dive deeper into the world of hiking than through the pages of a good book?


In this article, we have compiled a list of 25 wonderful trail tales that will transport you to breathtaking landscapes, inspire you with stories of perseverance and adventure, and provide valuable insights and tips for your own hiking endeavors. These books cover a wide range of genres, from classic hiking tales to gripping survival stories and informative hiking guides. Whether you’re looking for inspiration, entertainment, or practical advice, you’re bound to find a book that resonates with your hiking spirit.


As you delve into these captivating stories, you’ll discover the power of the human spirit in the face of challenges, the beauty of the natural world, and the profound impact that hiking can have on our lives. So, pack your backpack, lace up your hiking boots, and let’s dive into these amazing books that will ignite your passion for the trails!


Section 1: Classic Hiking Tales

Classic hiking tales are timeless stories that have paved the way for the modern outdoor adventure genre. These books capture the essence of hiking, exploring the uncharted wilderness, and the indomitable spirit of those who dare to venture into the unknown.


1. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed: This memoir chronicles Strayed’s journey along the Pacific Crest Trail, where she confronts her personal demons and finds redemption amidst the breathtaking landscapes of the American West.


2. A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson: Join Bryson on his hilarious and insightful journey along the Appalachian Trail as he encounters quirky characters, wildlife, and the challenges of long-distance hiking.


3. The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac: Part novel, part autobiography, this classic work explores the spiritual and existential quest of two friends as they hike through the rugged mountains of the American West.


4. The Mountains of My Life by Walter Bonatti: Bonatti, a legendary mountaineer, shares his gripping tales of climbing some of the world’s most challenging peaks, including the Matterhorn and the North Face of the Grandes Jorasses.


These books offer a glimpse into the rich history of hiking, showcasing the transformative power of the wilderness and the resilience of the human spirit. Allow yourself to be transported into the heart of adventure through these captivating classic hiking tales.


Choose one or more of these books to embark on a literary hiking journey that will inspire and ignite your passion for the trails. Whether you’re curled up by the fireplace or relaxing in a hammock surrounded by nature, these classic hiking tales will take you on an unforgettable adventure, even if you aren’t able to venture into the wilderness at the moment.


Section 2: Adventure Hiking Stories

Adventure hiking stories encapsulate thrilling and heart-pounding tales of expeditions, extreme challenges, and remarkable journeys that push the limits of human endurance. These books immerse readers in gripping narratives, where adrenaline rushes and the pursuit of the unknown take center stage.


1. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer: Join the gripping firsthand account of Krakauer’s ill-fated 1996 Mount Everest expedition, a harrowing tale of tragedy and survival in the unforgiving Himalayas.


2. Touching the Void by Joe Simpson: This gripping memoir recounts Simpson’s incredible survival story after a climbing accident leaves him stranded on a perilous Andean mountain, fighting for his life in treacherous conditions.


3. Grandma Gatewood’s Walk by Ben Montgomery: Follow the inspiring journey of Emma Gatewood, an unlikely hiker who, in 1955, became the first woman to hike the entire Appalachian Trail alone at the age of 67.


4. Walking the Amazon by Ed Stafford: Join Ed Stafford as he takes on an audacious and record-breaking adventure to walk the entire length of the Amazon River, facing danger, wildlife, and the vast challenges of the rainforest.


These gripping adventure hiking stories will transport you to the edge of your seat, immersing you in the thrill of extreme challenges, life-and-death situations, and the triumph of the human spirit. Through these captivating narratives, you’ll gain a newfound appreciation for the strength and resilience that can be found within us when we push ourselves to our limits in the pursuit of adventure.


So, if you’re seeking adrenaline-fueled tales that will ignite your sense of adventure and leave you in awe of the human spirit, these adventure hiking stories are a must-read for any hiking enthusiast or lover of gripping non-fiction narratives.


Section 3: Memoirs of Hiking Journeys

Memoirs of hiking journeys offer a personal and introspective look into the lives and experiences of individuals who have embarked on transformative hikes. These books delve into the emotional and spiritual aspects of hiking, providing readers with a deeper understanding of the profound impact that the trails can have on one’s life.


1. Wilderness Essays by John Muir: Muir’s timeless collection of essays explores the beauty and spirituality of the natural world, offering profound insights into the connection between humans and nature.


2. Walking Home: A Poet’s Journey by Simon Armitage: Join Armitage on his poetic pilgrimage along the Pennine Way, as he explores the landscapes, encounters the locals, and reflects on the transformative power of walking.


3. Tracks by Robyn Davidson: Follow Davidson’s extraordinary journey across the harsh Australian outback, where she treks 1,700 miles accompanied only by her dog and four camels, testifying to the resilience of the human spirit.


4. Hiking Through: One Man’s Journey to Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail by Paul Stutzman: This memoir tells the touching story of Stutzman’s healing journey after the loss of his wife, as he embarks on a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail and finds solace and purpose in the wilderness.


These memoirs of hiking journeys offer a glimpse into the transformative power of the trails, highlighting the healing, self-discovery, and personal growth that can be found on a long-distance hike. Through the intimate narratives of these authors, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the connection between the human spirit and the natural world, and perhaps even find inspiration for your own hiking journey.


Whether you’re seeking introspection, inspiration, or a deep dive into the human experience, these memoirs of hiking journeys are a treasure trove of wisdom and reflection, inviting you to embark on a transformative adventure through the pages of their stories.


Section 4: Tales of Survival on the Trails

Tales of survival on the trails depict harrowing accounts of individuals who find themselves facing life-or-death situations in the wilderness. These gripping stories of resilience and determination will keep you on the edge of your seat as you read about the incredible measures people take to survive against all odds.


1. 127 Hours: Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston: Ralston’s memoir recounts his extraordinary story of survival after being trapped alone in a remote Utah canyon, forced to make an unthinkable decision to save his own life.


2. Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors by Piers Paul Read: This gripping true story tells of the Uruguayan rugby team who, after a plane crash in the Andes, must overcome freezing temperatures, hunger, and unimaginable circumstances to stay alive.


3. Adrift: Seventy-Six Days Lost at Sea by Steven Callahan: Join Callahan as he shares his incredible ordeal of being adrift at sea for over two months after his sailboat sinks, battling hunger, thirst, and the elements in a fight for his life.


4. The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom by Slavomir Rawicz: This remarkable memoir follows Rawicz’s escape from a Siberian labor camp during World War II, as he and a group of prisoners trek across thousands of miles, facing extreme weather conditions and hostile landscapes.


These tales of survival on the trails provide a stark reminder of the unpredictable nature of the wilderness and the strength of the human spirit. Through these gripping narratives of courage, endurance, and determination, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the resilient nature of the human spirit and the will to survive in the most adverse conditions.


So, if you’re in search of captivating stories of survival against all odds, these tales are sure to leave you in awe and inspire you to cherish every moment you spend on the trails.


Section 5: Hiking Guides and Tips

When it comes to hiking, knowledge is key. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, having access to reliable hiking guides and tips can make all the difference in planning and executing a successful and enjoyable hike. These books provide valuable insights, practical advice, and expert tips to enhance your hiking experience.


1. The Backpacker’s Field Manual by Rick Curtis: This comprehensive guide covers everything from gear selection to navigation techniques, wilderness first aid, and campsite selection, making it an essential resource for backpackers of all levels.


2. Hiking the Appalachian Trail by Rodale’s Outdoor Adventure Guides: A go-to resource for those planning to tackle the iconic Appalachian Trail, this guide offers detailed trail information, advice on gear, food planning, and tips for navigating challenges along the way.


3. The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide by Andrew Skurka: Skurka, an accomplished long-distance hiker, shares his expertise on gear selection, packing strategies, and optimizing your hiking experience in this informative and practical guide.


4. How to Hike the Pacific Crest Trail by Ellen Russell and Kathy Douglas: For those dreaming of thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, this guide provides a wealth of knowledge, including trail planning, resupply strategies, gear recommendations, and tips for staying safe on the trail.


These hiking guides and tips are invaluable resources for both novice hikers and seasoned adventurers. Whether you’re looking to prepare for a specific trail, learn new skills, or fine-tune your hiking techniques, these books offer the guidance and know-how to make the most of your hiking adventures.


So, before you set out on your next trek, make sure to consult these trusted hiking guides and tips to ensure a safe, enjoyable, and rewarding experience on the trails.



Hiking is more than just a physical activity; it’s a journey that allows us to reconnect with nature, challenge ourselves, and find solace in the beauty of the world around us. The books featured in this collection offer a range of captivating perspectives on hiking, from classic tales of adventure and survival to inspiring memoirs and practical guides.


Through the pages of these books, you can explore the breathtaking landscapes of the Pacific Crest Trail with Cheryl Strayed, conquer the Appalachian Trail with Bill Bryson, or immerse yourself in the introspective journey of hikers like Simon Armitage and Robyn Davidson. These stories of triumph, resilience, and personal growth remind us of the transformative power that hiking can have on our lives.


Whether you are seeking inspiration, entertainment, or practical advice, these books will ignite your passion for the trails and provide valuable insights into the art of hiking. From the classic tales that laid the foundation for the genre to gripping accounts of survival and memoirs that delve into the spiritual aspects of hiking, these books cater to a wide range of interests and preferences.


So, whether you’re curled up by the fireplace, lounging in a hammock, or planning your next adventure, dive into these wonderful trail tales and let them transport you to majestic mountains, unspoiled wilderness, and the incredible feats of those who have set foot on the trails before. Allow yourself to be inspired, educated, and entertained as you embark on these literary journeys that bring the magic of hiking to life.


Remember, the trails await, and these books will serve as your companions and guides, helping you discover the wonders of nature, the strength of the human spirit, and the joy of embarking on your own hiking adventures. Happy reading and happy hiking!