Best Hiking Books

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Hiking Rocky Mountain National Park
Test Winner: Hiking Rocky Mountain National Park
Amazon Link
Is there anything more captivating than a well-written book or novel? This is subjective. But, if you have come here today, it can only be assumed that you have an interest in reading. And, due to the title, you probably have a keen interest in hiking.

But why would you want a full-fledged hiking book? Could you not just research what you need on the juggernaut known as the internet? Sure, but that may not work for everyone. In fact, some hiking books can provide you with the tools you will need to survive in the wild.

Then again, others will be illustrated happenings through an author’s perspective. What you desire all depends on what you are looking for, quite frankly. This will vary from person to person, but, let’s provide some in-depth insight on how you should look for the best hiking books.

Standout Picks

Hiking Rocky Mountain National Park Hiking Book
For the record, the top choice here is only going to be relevant if you are going to or want to learn more about Rocky Mountain National Park. This is essentially a guide detailing the beauty and allure of this park.
Amazon Link
$24.90
She Explores Hiking Book
As the name of this book indicates, this really is tailored toward women. For all women out there, though, the layout of it is literally phenomenal and there is also wonderful photography to uncover.
Amazon Link
$12.99
Dancing with the Sun Hiking Book
Not all of you will want hiking books for strictly practical reasons and that is fair. With Dancing with the Sun, you get a great tale about a mother and her daughter who are forced to survive in the wilderness.
Amazon Link
$8.76
The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs Hiking Books
If you are looking to really learn and become a more knowledgeable outdoor adventurer then this may be the hiking book for you. Then again, some of you may think this is a boring read and that is fair.
Amazon Link
$13.59
America’s Great Hiking Trails Hiking Books
This right here is not a fictional piece and instead focuses its time on the National Scenic Trails. And, even though some of the analytics are wrong, this is a very good read from start to finish.
Amazon Link
$29.49
Lost on the Appalachian Trail Hiking Books
To say that this is a captivating piece of storytelling is an understatement. From a first-person perspective, this is just a joy to read (if you can tolerate the grammatical errors throughout).
Amazon Link
$14.99
The Backpacker’s Field Manual Hiking Books
For the record, this is the revised and updated version of The Backpacker’s Field Manual. It is a wonderful learning piece for beginning hikers out there but may be too basic for advanced journeymen.
Amazon Link
$14.99
Bushcraft 101 Hiking Books
As many other people have alluded to, this hiking book that details the ins and outs of bushcraft has its ups and downs. It is not going to be for everyone as it does take a broader approach to the concept at hand.
Amazon Link
$11.91
Take the Path of Most Resistance Hiking Books
In short, this memoir is one that covers the trials and tribulations of one man through the Appalachian Trail. It really is an excellent read but you will have to sit through some long and unnecessary explanations.
Amazon Link
$14.95
Wild: From Lost to Found Hiking books
If you enjoy “journey of self-discovery” books and movies then you will probably like this option. Then again, there are other hiking books that have better storytelling.
Amazon Link
$8.99

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Use

Some of you may be looking to find a book that you can get practical value out of.

If it is important to you that you buy a hiking book that is practical in its use, then you need to prioritize those that are. But, what you need to know is hiking books can be broken down into multiple sections of practicality. First and foremost, some will not be intended for practical use at all and will instead be created to share a story.

However, not all of them will be like this. Some options will act as motivators for you. These types of books may not document all the ins and outs of hiking and backpacking, but they may inspire you. They may deliver the motivation you need to get off of the couch and explore the wilderness.

Then again, you may also see some hiking books act as illustrated guides of specific iconic trails and parks. You will see a lot of these books, and many of them are very good. But, if you have little to no interest in the specific area, then you may not get practical use out of the book itself.

Lastly, there are books about hiking that act as manuals or in-depth guides about the activity itself. These can often be the most practical styles that you can pick up and read.

Bottom Line

The "bottom line" is really all about the general synopsis of the book you are looking for.

If you are familiar with the literature, then you already know what the synopsis is of a hiking book or a novel. If you are not sure what it is, then you need to pay close attention to this section as it is crucial.

Here is the deal; the synopsis of a book (or anything) is a summary of what you can expect from the book itself. It will not give away any important details, but it will also inform you of what you can expect going in. And, this is important for both novels and illustrated guides.

For novels about hiking, you will probably want to know what the main story or plot is about. Not all hiking books need to educate you about the activity as some will be written to entertain you purely. But, if you have little interest in the themes and story of a particular hiking book, you may not want to read it.

The same goes for hiking guides, quite frankly. But, with these, the synopses should detail what kinds of tips, pointers, and lessons will be found within. Again, this will give you a better understanding of what you can expect.

Effectiveness

How well a book is written and executed will play a large role here.

This section is all about execution, and boy is it necessary. This all starts with two vast areas of assessment. The first being how well the book flows and the second is the style of writing. And, once again, both of these factors play a role in both hiking novels and hiking guides.

For novels, the manners in which the story and character development flow are essential. Reading non-cohesive stories that jump around randomly can be tough (and the same goes for characters that have weak growth). No matter if you are reading a romance novel or a hiking book, keep this stuff in mind.

And, as for guides or so-called manuals, this is just as vital. After all, reading a hiking book that only has random pointers and tips everywhere can feel like a jumbled mess. Instead, look for hiking books that educate you in a manner that make sense and in a progressive way.

Regarding the style of writing, this is all about what you prefer (darker tones, more significant words, etc.). Also, do not forget that you can look at the execution of a hiking boot in a literal sense. Some hiking books may be filled with inaccuracies and grammatical errors. Some of you will be able to put up with this while others will not.

Value

Quite honestly, the value of a hiking book comes down to how much you enjoy reading it.

Let’s just come out and say it; please buy a hiking book that you will read. What is the point otherwise? Do not buy a book merely because everyone else recommends it or says it is phenomenal. You need to buy what you want to read, period.

Now, with that said, certain books you may have an interest in can still come across as bland and boring. This is why implemented photography can be so nice. Especially in regard to hiking, some authors will include professional-quality photos that depict the true joy of the wilderness.

Then again, this also comes back down to the writing style. If you prefer humor over darker themes, then shoot for that style of a hiking book. Of course, if you just want to be educated about backpacking and hiking, then look for literature that does an admirable job of doing so.

Style

This is all about the physical style that you prefer to get. For example, if you prefer digital or physical versions.

For the record, this section has nothing to do with the contents of the book you buy. Instead, this is all about the physical style of the book itself. Hiking books these days are often offered in both digital and physical forms for ultimate convenience and versatility.

Two of the most popular digital forms will be audiobooks and eBooks. Audiobooks are physical recordings of the books, and they are read out loud to you. Meanwhile, eBooks are merely electronic copies of physical books. Both are incredibly convenient, especially if you have compatible devices (such as Kindle devices).

Now, if you are a fan of old-school literature, most hiking books will also be offered in paperback, hardcover, or either version. Each style has its advantages and disadvantages, quite frankly.

Hardcover books are known to last longer because they offer superior protection and durability. However, if you plan to hike with them, they can be bulkier and more cumbersome. As for paperbacks, they can be a little too easy to bend and deform. At the same time, they can be easier to pack.

Our Top Picks for the Best Hiking Books

1. Hiking Rocky Mountain National Park

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$24.90
Hiking Rocky Mountain National Park Hiking Book
Amazon Link

For the record, the top choice here is only going to be relevant if you are going to or want to learn more about Rocky Mountain National Park. This is essentially a guide detailing the beauty and allure of this park.

Read more

Practicality

The practicality of this hiking book all comes down to your interest in visiting Rocky Mountain National Park. That is literally what this piece of literature is all about. So, in that sense, it is very practical.

General Synopsis

Essentially, this is a guide of Rocky Mountain National Park and it has been written by an avid outdoorsman who has spent years hiking it.

Execution

In addition to the fact that the actual content of this hiking book has been expertly written, the included photography is arguably even better. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words and it definitely shows here.

Enjoyment

Yes, the photos are a joy to look at but this “guide” is incredibly informative and it makes it a good read. It is also ideal to read for families and hiking experts alike.

Design Style

If you do not want to go with the paperback option then this is also available for Kindle devices.

Overall

Again, this is one of the best hiking books that have ever been written but it may or may not pertain to you. It all comes down to your interest in Rocky Mountain National Park, period.

Amazon Link
$24.90

2. She Explores

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$12.99
She Explores Hiking Book
Amazon Link

As the name of this book indicates, this really is tailored toward women. For all women out there, though, the layout of it is literally phenomenal and there is also wonderful photography to uncover.

Read more

Practicality

While this is not going to inform you of countless survival hacks, it should inspire you to get out and explore. Then again, it is only practical for women readers.

General Synopsis

This is pretty much just a collection of stories from several different diverse women. It offers a fantastic blend of storytelling and adventure, though, to keep it entertaining throughout.

Execution

Even though this book could have been a jumbled mess, it is not. Each of the stories is diverse enough to stand out but, at the same time, flow together nicely.

Enjoyment

In addition to the physical content, the implemented photography is also world class. This combination of imagery and well-written detail creates a real masterpiece.

Design Style

There is both a hardcover option available and also a digital version available for Kindle devices.

Overall

While this is not much of a show stealer for men, it is the opposite for women. Most of you will find yourself never wanting to put this book down, which is always a good sign.

Amazon Link
$12.99

3. Dancing with the Sun

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$8.76
Dancing with the Sun Hiking Book
Amazon Link

Not all of you will want hiking books for strictly practical reasons and that is fair. With Dancing with the Sun, you get a great tale about a mother and her daughter who are forced to survive in the wilderness.

Read more

Practicality

Yep, this is not tailored toward practicality. While there are lessons to learn here, this book is not loaded with hiking tips or anything like that.

General Synopsis

In short, this is an emotional story of a mother and her daughter, who must rely on each other to survive the treacherous nature of the wilderness. All in the meanwhile, they learn to let go of the grief that they have experienced between one another.

Execution

Overall, this is well-written and a master craft of storytelling. However, nitpicking a little bit, some of the “scenes” are too drawn out. This makes the book drag on in some spots.

Enjoyment

If you enjoy emotional storytelling, then you will love this. There are some fictional aspects, as pointed out by some reviewers, though, that are incredibly inaccurate.

Design Style

All sorts of different styles are available for this hiking book. This includes MP3 CD, audiobook, paperback, and Kindle.

Overall

If you are looking for a guide about hiking, more or less, then this is not for you. But, who said you could not just enjoy a good old-fashioned, well-written book on your hike?

Amazon Link
$8.76

4. The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$13.59
The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs Hiking Books
Amazon Link

If you are looking to really learn and become a more knowledgeable outdoor adventurer then this may be the hiking book for you. Then again, some of you may think this is a boring read and that is fair.

Read more

Practicality

Told from someone who has had decades of experience, this book provides you over 850 tips for tracking, forecasting, and more. But, it is not very practical for those of you in the United States (as it focuses on British forests).

General Synopsis

As opposed to other hiking books, this does not tell a story. Instead, it is more of a guide or resource manual that can be used to help you learn specific outdoorsman skills.

Execution

Based on user feedback, it seems that the author knows his stuff. But, it also appears that he is not the best at portraying this knowledge into words. As such, this sometimes comes off as wordy, lengthy, and boring.

Enjoyment

In spite of what was just said, the investigating mentality of this hiking book is probably its greatest asset. It is the main reason why it remains enjoyable to read in spite of the wording issues.

Design Style

For physical copies, you can choose both hardback and paperback options. Additionally, this can be bought for Kindle devices.

Overall

In a way, the title of this hiking book provides too much hype. It is on this list so, clearly, it is still a recommended read as it does provide a ton of useful information for hikers.

Amazon Link
$13.59

5. America’s Great Hiking Trails

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$29.49
America’s Great Hiking Trails Hiking Books
Amazon Link

This right here is not a fictional piece and instead focuses its time on the National Scenic Trails. And, even though some of the analytics are wrong, this is a very good read from start to finish.

Read more

Practicality

For all you hikers out there, this is a very informative piece of literature. The photographer has personally trekked all miles of the 11 National Scenic Trails and the author offers great insight and worthwhile information.

General Synopsis

While this is not so much a guide of the 11 National Scenic Trails, it does cover all 11 of them. Overall, this piece includes maps, a plethora of photos, and plenty of useful information.

Execution

As noted by some reviewers, there are actually some inaccuracies in the text. This is well-written, overall, but these factual discrepancies should have been addressed.

Enjoyment

A hiking book like this could have been extremely boring to read. Instead, through the addition of brilliant photography, this remains readable from start to finish.

Design Style

This comes in a hardcover style and it is actually a little costly, so be aware of that.

Overall

If you can forgive some of the inaccuracies then you can enjoy one of the best hiking books out there. It is particularly useful if you plan to hike one of the National Scenic Trails.

Amazon Link
$29.49

6. Lost on the Appalachian Trail

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$14.99
Lost on the Appalachian Trail Hiking Books
Amazon Link

To say that this is a captivating piece of storytelling is an understatement. From a first-person perspective, this is just a joy to read (if you can tolerate the grammatical errors throughout).

Read more

Practicality

Honestly, you could get something out of this hiking book especially if you want to trek the Appalachian Trail. It is not a guide, though, so do be aware of that.

General Synopsis

Written in the first-person perspective, you will join Kyle and his dog on their long and grueling adventure on the Appalachian Trail. Its goal is to inspire you, entertain you, and also humor you.

Execution

Several reviewers have heavily criticized the author of this hiking book for his consistent grammatical errors throughout. Outside of misspellings, there is also a lot of redundancy in his writing.

Enjoyment

Looking past the errors, the storytelling is just fantastic. This alone will keep you coming back for more, granted you are not anal about grammar.

Design Style

There are both digital and physical options available in this hiking book, and this is a nice touch.

Overall

Even if you never want to hike any part of the Appalachian Trail, you can still have a great time reading this novel. Who knows, you may even be ready to go on a similar adventure.

Amazon Link
$14.99

7. The Backpacker’s Field Manual

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$14.99
The Backpacker’s Field Manual Hiking Books
Amazon Link

For the record, this is the revised and updated version of The Backpacker’s Field Manual. It is a wonderful learning piece for beginning hikers out there but may be too basic for advanced journeymen.

Read more

Practicality

As the title suggests, this is a hiking book that details the ins and outs of backpacking. But, as noted by several users, it nails the basics and glosses over specific details.

General Synopsis

As noted, this is an updated version of the original manual. It offers brand new insights, strategies and resources needed for all types of backpackers out there.

Execution

All in all, this is basically a manual and is written as such. It certainly is not poorly written but you need to understand that it is laid out and executed as a manual.

Enjoyment

This is better to be called a useful read than an entertaining one. Let’s just say that this is not one of those hiking books that is going to enthrall you. Instead, it is merely going to teach you.

Design Style

There are both Kindle and paperback options of this manual available on Amazon.

Overall

To learn some of the hiking essentials and basics of the activity, this is a great buy. It can be a dry read at times but, hey, it does get the point and points across very well.

Amazon Link
$14.99

8. Bushcraft 101

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$11.91
Bushcraft 101 Hiking Books
Amazon Link

As many other people have alluded to, this hiking book that details the ins and outs of bushcraft has its ups and downs. It is not going to be for everyone as it does take a broader approach to the concept at hand.

Read more

Practicality

This is certainly a hiking book that details the guide to wilderness survival that much is for sure. However, though there is a ton of useful information, this book still does not provide enough detail to inform novices on how to perform certain tasks.

General Synopsis

As noted, this is basically a field guide to bushcraft. It covers everything from collecting food to creating tools and supplies to protecting yourself from the elements.

Execution

In regard to how well this is written, it is fine but comes off as broad. Also, there is a lot of filler that has been implemented.

Enjoyment

If you have no interest in bushcraft then you would probably rather watch grass grow than read this. But, for those who do have at least somewhat of an interest, it is enjoyable to read through.

Design Style

A really good variety of styles are available such as paperback, audiobook, audio CD and Kindle.

Overall

For a field guide, this is good but not great. It provides plenty of useful information about hiking but fails to go into enough detail to be really, really good.

Amazon Link
$11.91

9. Take the Path of Most Resistance

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$14.95
Take the Path of Most Resistance Hiking Books
Amazon Link

In short, this memoir is one that covers the trials and tribulations of one man through the Appalachian Trail. It really is an excellent read but you will have to sit through some long and unnecessary explanations.

Read more

Practicality

Yes, this can provide practical value but it is also not the most practical option on this list. It is mainly due to the author’s tone as he takes a more literal approach to how the Appalachian Trail saved him.

General Synopsis

This is a prime example of a hiking book that gives away its premise with its title. What do you think this is about (the title is Take the Path of Most Resistance: How the Appalachian Trail Saved Me from the Sixties)?

Execution

While some of you will admire the fact that this is not watered down to suit a less educated demographic, some of the explanations are simply too extensive for their own good.

Enjoyment

No matter if you are a hiker or not, this is an entertaining read. However, one reviewer noted that the injection of the author’s personal politics was a bit unnecessary.

Design Style

As with so many other hiking books on this list, this is available via Kindle. Additionally, a paperback version is also available.

Overall

This is a really good book about one of the most iconic hiking trails known to man. It has its flaws, sure, but it also can offer practicality and a lot of enjoyment.

Amazon Link
$14.95

10. Wild: From Lost to Found

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$8.99
Wild: From Lost to Found Hiking books
Amazon Link

If you enjoy “journey of self-discovery” books and movies then you will probably like this option. Then again, there are other hiking books that have better storytelling.

Read more

Practicality

For the most part, there is not a ton you are going to take out of this from a practical sense.

General Synopsis

In short, this is a memoir that describes the author’s 1100-mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Execution

You can tell from the writing that this author is skilled in the craft. However, you also need to be prepared as there is a bit of raw language that comes out.

Enjoyment

There are some things to point out here. Firstly, there are a lot of repetitive subplots that are told. Secondly, there is a particular section where the author illustrates a rather unsettling story about animal cruelty.

Design Style

All sorts of design styles are available for this hiking book which is really nice.

Overall

This is a mightily popular hiking book and it is no surprise to see why. Still, while mostly good, there are some issues that may off-put you enough to warrant a pass.

Amazon Link
$8.99