16 Best Hiking Books to Read (Books About Hiking) in 2022

One of the most special experiences of my life has always been walking alone outdoors. enter: my picks for the best hiking books to read this year (the best hiking books of all time).

Spending time in nature has been some of the best therapy I’ve ever received, and I know therapy lol. that’s why hikers like me often feel the call to get back outdoors when we need to be grounded. And whether it’s a short hike in Yosemite or a backpacking hike to the edge, the end result is always the same for me: a deep sense of fulfillment and reconnection with myself.

You are reading: Best hiking guide books

Whether you’re a beginning hiker, a seasoned adventurer, or just shopping for hiking gifts for your favorite hiker, hiking books are a great way to supplement the real-world hiking experience. Hiking books have several benefits for hikers of all kinds, including:

  • educate you on the best practices for hiking in a particular region
  • inspire you for your next adventure (choose a destination)
  • entertain you with stories on a topic you you love

These benefits (and more) are why I’ve compiled this list of my picks for the best hiking books to read in 2022. So without further ado, let’s quickly dive into our list of the best hiking books, Shall we go?

16 best hiking books to read (books about hiking) in 2022

  1. into the wild by jon krakauer
  2. hiking will break your heart by carrot quinn
  3. into thin air by jon krakauer
  4. wild by cheryl strayed
  5. on trails: an exploration by robert moore
  6. how to suffer outdoors: a beginners guide to hiking and backpacking by diana helmuth
  7. she explores by gale straub
  8. hiking in the wild: a guide through the woods by peter wohlleben
  9. medicine for the outdoors: the essential guide to first aid and medical emergencies by paul s. auerback
  10. wilderness navigation: how to find your way with the map, compass, altimeter & gps by bob and mike burns
  11. the backpacking field manual by rick curtis
  12. the ultimate hiking gear guide by andrew skurka
  13. camping hound by m.e. nash
  14. a walk in the woods by bill bryson
  15. neon pilgrim by lisa dempster
  16. a million steps by kurt koontz

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission. know that I only recommend hiking gear that I personally endorse. When you use one of my affiliate links, you help me run this blog and keep all of this content free of charge to readers (like you).

and this is where I have a recommendation for you

Since I launched this blog, I’ve been reading a lot of hiking books lately, thanks to my new gift: an audible subscription, so I can listen to books during my long drives from Los Angeles to Los Angeles. beautiful utah national parks.

If you want to try Audible for yourself, I couldn’t recommend it more highly. Right now, they have a free trial offer that includes access to the entire Audible Originals catalog and 1 free audiobook for all new members to try for 30 days. you can register right here.

Because I’ve been waiting for so many hiking books lately, I already need more recommendations, so please comment below with your favorite hiking books that I should add to this list.

Now, without further ado, let’s dive in. Are you looking for a hiking book to motivate you on your next hike and awaken the adventurer in you?

These are some of the best hiking books to help you do just that. With a mix of preparation tips, wisdom from experienced trail runners, and more, you can’t go wrong with these classic hiking books.

1. in nature by jon krakauer

Into the Wild is hands down at the top of my list of the best hiking books of all time, for good reason. It is the tragic story of 24-year-old adventurer Christopher McCandless. The story follows his journey after giving up all his worldly possessions and disappearing down a snowy road in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 1992. All he had with him was a lightweight backpack and scant gear.

Sadly, his remains were discovered in an abandoned school bus in Alaska five months later.

into nature is jon krakauer’s eulogy to young chris. Pieced together from Chris’ journal, family testimonials, and eyewitness accounts, this hiking book highlights the challenges of surviving in the harsh wilderness of Alaska. This hiking book was also adapted into a 2007 fantasy film of the same name, starring Emile Hirsch. however, more than anything else, the most important lessons to be drawn from this gripping and chilling tale of a naïve adventurer are the importance of proper preparation for each hike and knowing your limits, whether you’re on a fast hike a day in Yosemite, or trekking for weeks in the Himalayas.

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2. hiking will break your heart by carrot quinn

Whether you’re planning a hike up the Pacific Ridge Trail or just looking for a book that shares first-hand experiences on the trail, then this book is for you.

in thru-hiking will break your heart, carrot shares his journey while hiking the famous trail from mexico to canada. Unlike most hiking books written in novel format, this one reads more like a journal, sharing the author’s daily experiences on the trail.

The book offers readers a look at the physical and mental challenges the author went through. From loneliness to dehydration to blisters to the people he meets along the way and everything else to be expected from such a long walk, the carrot reveals it all. Fortunately, the book is written with humor, which makes it a fun read.

3. in the air by jon krakauer

This is another classic hiking book from renowned author Jon Krakauer. Into Thin Air tells the personal story of Krakauer’s Mount Everest summit attempt gone terribly wrong.

This true-life story adventure takes place in 1996 and tells the story of a group of hikers who are stranded high up when a storm hits. Jon Krakauer happened to be part of that group and documented the events during and after the storm, which sadly included the deaths of eight climbers, the largest loss of life in a single day on Mount Everest.

Perhaps the most important thing about this exciting hiking book is how much can go wrong on a hike. however, it also outlines the importance of the determination, courage, and creativity required to ensure that every walk, even those that go wrong, can be recovered.

into thin air will appeal to hikers of all kinds, but lovers of strenuous mountain trails will especially love this epic hiking book.

4. savage by cheryl strayed

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Hailed as one of the most popular hiking books of the last decade, Cheryl Strayed’s Wild is a personal account of her journey hiking the Pacific Coast Trail a thousand miles alone at age 22. funny and deeply personal exploration of her life after the death of her mother and the end of her marriage.

he embarked on his trek with no experience or training on one of the most legendary (and strenuous) hiking trails in the united states, the pacific coast route, detouring to cover more than a thousand miles from the desert from mojave in california all the way through oregon and into washington.

Full of the terrors and delights of how Strayed pushed herself through a challenging adventure that sometimes drove her insane, this hiking book is special to me, because it ends with how she was finally strengthened and healed through of the inner journey that came along the way. To top it off, this book also earned a major movie adaptation in 2014 with Reese Witherspoon.

5. on trails: an exploration of robert moore

On Trails: An Exploration is a best-selling hiking book that should be on every avid hiker’s shelf (or kindle). It’s a beautiful culmination of Moore’s experience riding different trails over the decades. however, surprisingly, it doesn’t just focus on the trails themselves.

Instead, Moore takes a different approach, focusing on the history of trails, why each one is so appealing, and how they connect us to the natural world. this is more of a hiking book about the psychology, philosophy, and science behind the world of hiking.

Please note that this hiking book does not follow a linear route as many readers expect. instead, it winds through different ideas, questions, and lessons…like the trails it uses as a vehicle for exploration. however, this hiking book is a fascinating read with one central theme: how trails are a great way to relax and build a closer relationship with nature.

6. how to suffer outdoors: a beginners guide to hiking and backpacking by diana helmuth

If you are looking for an easy to read beginner’s guide to hiking, then this is one of the best hiking books for you. how to suffer outdoors explores modern hiking culture and its foibles as it guides beginning hikers on how to enjoy their newfound love, without burning a hole in their pockets.

diana offers practical, real-world advice based on her experiences on various trails. Like an open book, he fearlessly (and humorously) shares his mistakes, victories, and opinions on all things hiking. With equally fun illustrations, this is a light read that is truly worth its weight in gold thanks to the valuable insights contained in this very special book for hikers of all ages and experience levels.

7. she explores by gale straub

Although this hiking book is designed more for female hikers, anyone will enjoy their adventures, trust me. she explores presents the stories of 40 different women and their experiences in nature. the stories are as diverse as the women themselves, with some walking in the wild, others living in vans & vintage trailers and some sleeping under the stars.

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Often described as “beautiful, exciting, and empowering,” this makes my list of the best hiking books because it’s a worthy celebration of female bravery that shares each contributor’s personal narratives, all accompanied by stunning photos. In addition to personal narratives, Explora also offers practical tips and advice for women planning their own solo nature trips.

8. nature walks: a guide through the forest by peter wohlleben

A list of the best hiking books for hikers of all kinds cannot be complete without this gem by Peter Wohlleben.

walks in the wild is a short hiking book for anyone who wants to learn more about navigating the woods. The book offers many short tips including:

  • making the most of your time in the woods
  • how to navigate the woods
  • tips on how to spot wild animals (and what to do in an encounter)
  • the relationship between flora, fauna and humans walking in the woods

Nature Walks is packed with interesting short stories, insights, and interesting facts. The tips and inspiration in this hiking book are designed to give beginning hikers something to think about as they prepare for their wilderness adventure.

the best hiking books to equip you to be a better hiker

For the avid hiker who wants to be better equipped for any situation on the trail, here are some of the best hiking books you can read to prepare (mentally).

9. medicine for the outdoors: the essential guide to first aid and medical emergencies by paul s. auerbach

First published in 1986, Medicine for the Outdoor is one of those essential hiking books that has been a staple in many hiking backpacks around the world.

This book is one of the best manuals on first aid in nature. however, don’t be put off by the earlier publication date. the updated version is packed with step-by-step instructions for today’s hiker to respond to most medical emergencies you’re likely to encounter in the wild.

With lots of illustrations to make it easy to follow procedures, this hiking book will show you that saving a life in the wild doesn’t have to be complicated. This is definitely a top book to add to your library, especially if you love backpacking and will be doing extended stays on the trail.

10. Wilderness Navigation: Find your way using the map, compass, altimeter & gps by bob and mike burns

Navigation is an essential skill that all hikers should at least take the time to learn the basics. That’s why no list of the best hiking books could be complete without a seminal book on navigation. and there is nothing better than sailing in nature.

wilderness navigation is one of the best-selling navigation hiking books of all time. It is even used as a textbook in outdoor education courses in the United States.

This book teaches map, compass, altimeter, and GPS skills to help readers travel safely in the wilderness. it also lists recommended websites, apps, and other resources that provide useful navigation information. Nature Navigation is regularly updated to ensure up-to-date declination maps for the United States. With helpful features like mini-quizzes, practice problems, and more, you’ll be a navigation pro with this hiking book in no time. And it will help you better judge your own limits, taking into account crucial information like the best time to visit Yosemite National Park if you’re planning a big hike and the weather seems questionable.

11. the backpacking field manual by rick curtis

The Backpacking Field Manual is a thoroughly researched yet easy-to-read guide for backpackers of all levels. This hiking book explores everything from planning a trip, selecting the right gear (like the best hiking boots for your hike), to emergency procedures and first aid care in the field.

Hailed as one of the most comprehensive backpacking manuals, the Backpacking Field Manual is an indispensable guide to travel planning. also works as a quick reference on the go for various situations, including:

  • Tips for packing light (I always have a hard time)
  • Outdoor skills like forecasting the weather, protecting your camp from bears and more
  • Tips for a living safe and satisfying hiking from an experienced backpacker

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Packed with so much knowledge and practical advice, this is one of those few hiking books you should take with you every time you go on an adventure.

12. the ultimate gear guide for hikers by andrew skurka

every hiker knows that the gear you take on a hike can make or break the experience. the right gear can even save your life (I’ve learned that myself). therefore, knowing exactly what gear to bring for a hike is crucial.

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And that’s why you should add The Ultimate Hiking Gear Guide to your library of the best hiking books ASAP.

Written by a renowned adventurer, this hiking book is the ultimate guide to help you know what to pack on different types of adventures. Whether you’re a novice hiker, seasoned hiker, long-distance hiker, or weekend warrior, you’ll definitely find this hiking book a valuable resource. By using the book as a checklist to pack for your next adventure, you’ll be sure to be well-equipped for any eventuality.

13. camping hound by m.e. nash

If you love backpacking and spending days in nature, this light-hearted read is well worth taking with you to enjoy during your downtime.

The Hound of Camp may be one of the most fun-to-read hiking books on this list, but it’s also packed with lots of practical advice for making the most of your time on the trail. The book explores some of the common challenges of camping and highlights nine effective types of smart camping for backpackers. the chapters dive into different aspects of life outdoors, such as:

  • backpacking
  • bushcrafting
  • packing the right gear
  • first aid best practices
  • cooking tips and recipes for outdoor activities
  • nature conservation principles for backpackers

Equal parts inspirational and educational, Campground Hound is definitely a hiking book you’ll enjoy reading by the campfire, either alone or out loud with a circle of friends.

the best hiking books to entertain you

If you’re looking for a little more levity than an uncompromising prep manual, consider these lighter hiking books that will still give you something to learn, through a vehicle of fun and entertainment. stimulating stories.

14. a walk in the woods by bill bryson

A Walk in the Woods is the autobiographical account of Bill Bryson’s adventures along the Appalachian Trail.

In his trademark humorous style throughout this hiking book, Bryson describes the strange situations he found himself in while hiking in the wilderness with his partner. reading like a real-life movie, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more entertaining guide telling her what she can expect to find and experience along the way.

However, don’t be fooled by the levity. A Walk in the Woods is not just a funny hiking book about the authors’ personal experiences. it also offers historical insights into the different places he visited, as well as making readers think deeply about the complexities of friendship, personal limitations, and how they are tested along the way.

If you’re looking for an entertaining yet educational hiking book, a walk in the woods might fit the bill.

15. lisa dempster neon pilgrim

everyone loves to read about the personal adventures and stories of people who have gone against all odds and come through the other side. neon pilgrim is one of the best hiking books in this genre.

neon pilgrim is an autobiographical story that shows that everyone can start hiking from anywhere and do it with different motivations. The author, Lisa Dempster, highlights her own story as an overweight and depressed Australian woman who embarked on a 750-mile pilgrimage to Japan. This is a witty account of the author’s personal adventures and struggles, many of which she will be able to identify with.

16. a million steps by kurt koontz

A Million Steps is another classic that deserves its place on this list of the best hiking books.

This hiking book is part journal, part travelogue, and part journey into the author’s soul. They are the compelling memoirs of Kurt Koontz’s walk along Spain’s historic Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route.

Told with humor and candor, the book highlights the beauty of the Spanish countryside and the connections it makes with other pilgrims along the way. Kurt also takes us through her soul-searching journey, where she recounts her personal story of addiction, recovery, and love.

best hiking books: pack a couple for your next adventure

Combining your two loves is a beautiful thing, especially if you love walking and reading (or listening to audio). nothing better than enjoying the outdoors while relaxing with a good hiking book. so if you’re looking for your next read or a gift for an avid hiker, this list is a great starting point.

My advice is to grab a couple of these hiking books and pack them up for your next adventure. They’ll make a great mental stop while you take a break by a stream, or read by lighthouse light at night with the stars as your backdrop.

what did I miss? Share your favorite hiking books with me below!

I’m always looking for more hiking books to add to my reading list.

Contact me in the comments section below with your picks of the best hiking books I should add to this list!

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