Unleash Your Wanderlust: Best Hiking Books for Nature Lovers

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Hiking and Nature travel accounts that will transport you.

Hiking books offer a unique perspective on the natural world, combining the adventure and excitement of outdoor exploration with a deeper understanding of the environment and the culture of the regions they traverse.

best hiking books

The best hiking books take readers on a journey through some of the most beautiful and remote landscapes on earth, providing a sense of inspiration and wonder for the natural world. From memoirs about hiking the Appalachian Trail and travelogues in Europe to Australia, hiking books offer a wide range of perspectives and styles, making them appealing to a wide range of readers.

Whether you’re an experienced hiker or simply someone who loves the outdoors, hiking books offer an exciting and immersive way to explore the world around us.

Read until the end where you’ll find the best hiking memoirs.

Quick Verdict Best Hiking Book

Wild

Thru Hike Memoir 

American Author
Vulnerable
Made into a Feature Film

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And this is where I have a recommendation for you…

Since launching this site, I’ve been making my way through a lot of hiking books lately, thanks to my new gift to myself—an Audible Subscription, so that I can listen to books during my long drives in the car Germany to the beautiful Alps.

If you want to try out Audible for yourself, I recommend it highly. Right now, they have a free trial offer going on that includes access to the entire catalog of Audible originals and 1 free audiobook for all new members to try out for 30 days.

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Summary of the Best Hiking Books

BookTitleStyle & HighlightsBuy Now
Wild

Wild

Thru Hike Memoir 

  • American Author
  • Vulnerable
  • Made into a Feature Film
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To Shake the Sleeping Self

To Shake the Sleeping Self

Seasoned Person Memoir

  • Evocative
  • Life with No Regret
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Honey From a Weed

Honey From a Weed

Mediterranean Lifestyle Travel

  • Foraging
  • Nomadic Travel
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The Camino de Santiago: One Wanderful Walk

The Camino de Santiago: One Wanderful Walk

Spiritual Long Distance Walk

  • Spain
  • Mystical 
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Grandma Gatewood's Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail

Grandma Gatewood's Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail

Appalachian Trail History

  • Trail Journal
  • Appalachian Trail 
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Clear Water Rising - A Mountain Walk Across Europe

Clear Water Rising - A Mountain Walk Across Europe

Trans-Europe Trek

  • Walking across Europe through the mountains
  • Culture focused
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Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World

Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World

Mid-life Discovery Memoir

  • Starting Over
  • Mystical Healing
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Woman in the Wilderness: My Story of Love, Survival and Self-Discovery

Woman in the Wilderness: My Story of Love, Survival and Self-Discovery

Nomad Wilderness Memoir

  • Dutch Author
  • Evocative
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Braver than You Think

Braver than You Think

Backpacking Travel

  • Not sugar coated
  • travelogue 
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The Snow Leopard

The Snow Leopard

Masculine Memoir

  • Natural history
  • Travel in Asia by foot
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Best Hiking Books

1. Wild

Best Overall Hiking Book

“Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed is a powerful and compelling memoir about the author’s journey of self-discovery and healing as she hikes the Pacific Crest Trail. The book is a raw and honest account of Strayed’s struggles with grief, addiction, and personal loss, and how the journey on the trail helped her to find a sense of peace and purpose in her life.

Strayed’s writing is incredibly honest and vulnerable, making it easy for readers to connect with her on a personal level. She writes with a sense of urgency, capturing the highs and lows of her journey with vivid detail. The book is also an exploration of the natural beauty and the power of the wilderness to heal and transform us.

One of the most striking things about the book is the author’s ability to reflect on her past experiences and find meaning in them. The book is a reflection on the power of nature, the resilience of the human spirit, and the importance of self-discovery.

Overall, “Wild” is a deeply personal and inspiring memoir that is sure to resonate with readers who have struggled with loss, grief, and difficult life transitions. Strayed’s writing is honest, raw and evocative, making it a must-read for anyone who has ever felt lost and in need of a little guidance.

By Cheryl Strayed

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2. Woman in the Wilderness: My Story of Love, Survival and Self-Discovery

Wilderness Memoir

“Woman in the Wilderness: My Story of Love, Survival, and Self-Discovery” by Samantha Gash is a powerful and inspiring memoir about the author’s journey of self-discovery and survival in the wilderness. The book is a travelogue, a memoir, and an exploration of the meaning of life. Gash recounts her journey on foot and on bike through some of the most remote and inhospitable places on Earth, sharing her personal experiences, reflections, and the lessons she learned along the way.

Gash’s writing is honest and evocative, she writes with a sense of vulnerability that makes it easy for readers to connect with her on a personal level. She reflects on the importance of living a life with purpose, and how the journey in the wilderness helped her to find a sense of meaning and clarity in her life. The book is also an exploration of the beauty and power of nature, the impact of human activities on the environment, and the importance of living sustainably.

One of the standout qualities of the book is Gash’s ability to weave together personal reflections, philosophy, and current events in a way that is both engaging and enlightening. The book is well-researched and provides a unique perspective on the regions she travels through.

Overall, “Woman in the Wilderness” is a powerful and inspiring memoir that will appeal to readers who are interested in outdoor adventure, self-discovery, and the meaning of life. Gash’s writing is honest, raw and evocative, making it a must-read for anyone who has ever felt lost and in need of a little guidance.

by Samantha Gash

3. Tales of a Female Nomad : Living at Large in the World

Best Hiking Books for Women

What’s not to love about traveling alongside a middle aged woman starting off on an adventure of her own?  Years of work and marriage over, our author Rita Goldman Gelman starts to spread her wings after a middle aged divorce by travelling to places she’s never been. This story is inspiring to so many women in the same situation with her enchanting and fun tales of exploring other cultures by backpacking, eating and cooking like the locals. 

By Rita Goldman Gelman

4. Honey From a Weed

Foraging Travel
Hiking books Barnes and Noble

This unconventional book by Patience Gray is a beautifully written and insightful look at moving through life on your feet, foraging food on hikes and on the art of foraging and using wild plants in cooking. Gray’s writing is evocative and poetic, transporting the reader to the Mediterranean countryside where she spent many years studying and gathering wild plants.

The book is not only a cookbook but also a memoir, as Gray shares her personal experiences and the stories behind the recipes. The recipes themselves are simple and easy to follow, but they are also creative and delicious, showcasing the unique flavors and textures of wild plants.

Overall, “Honey from a Weed” is a must-read for anyone interested in foraging, cooking, and the connection between food and the natural world.

By Patience Gray

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5. To Shake the Sleeping Self

Memoir

To Shake the Sleeping Self: A Journey from Oregon to Patagonia, and a Quest for a Life with No Regret” by Jedidiah Jenkins is a thought-provoking and inspiring memoir about the author’s journey of self-discovery. The book is a travelogue, a memoir and an exploration of the meaning of life. Jenkins recounts his journey from Oregon to Patagonia on a bike, sharing his personal experiences, reflections, and the lessons he learned along the way.

Jenkins’s writing is honest and evocative, he writes with a sense of vulnerability that makes it easy for readers to connect with him on a personal level. He reflects on the importance of living a life with no regret, and how the journey on the bike helped him to find a sense of purpose and clarity in his life. The book is also an exploration of the beauty and power of nature, the impact of human activities on the environment and the importance of living sustainably.

Related:
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Best Hiking Quotes for Your Instagram

One of the standout qualities of the book is Jenkins’s ability to weave together personal reflections, philosophy, and current events in a way that is both engaging and enlightening. The book is well-researched and provides a unique perspective on the regions it passes through.

Overall, “To Shake the Sleeping Self” is a powerful and inspiring memoir that will appeal to readers who are interested in travel, self-discovery, and the meaning of life. Jenkins’s writing is honest, raw and evocative, making it a must-read for anyone who has ever felt lost and in need of a little guidance.

by Jedidiah Jenkins

6. Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail

Books Hiking the AT
hiking books for beginners

“Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail” by Ben Montgomery is a well-researched and inspiring biography about Emma “Grandma” Gatewood, the first woman to hike the entire Appalachian Trail alone. The book tells the story of Emma’s life, her hike, and the impact that her journey had on the trail and the outdoor community.

Montgomery’s writing is engaging and informative, he tells the story of Emma’s life with great detail and compassion. He also provides historical context, exploring the rise of the outdoor movement and the challenges faced by women in the 1950s. The book also covers the impact of Emma’s hike on the trail and how it helped to bring attention to the need for trail maintenance and conservation.

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One of the standout qualities of the book is Montgomery’s ability to humanize Emma, showing her as a determined, resilient and adventurous woman who defied societal expectations and pave the way for other women to follow. He also delves into the impact of Emma’s hike and how it helped to transform the trail and the outdoor community.

Overall, “Grandma Gatewood’s Walk” is a compelling and inspiring biography that will appeal to readers who are interested in outdoor adventure, the history of the trail and the impact of one person’s journey on a community. Montgomery’s writing is informative and engaging, making it a must-read for anyone who has ever been inspired by the beauty and power of nature.

By Ben Montgomery

7. Braver than You Think

Best Books About Thru Hiking
hiking books kids. Hiking books non-fiction

This is a classic lady-travelogue, but with a twist.  Her journey starts off as her mother’s, not her own.  As her mother suffers from dementia, our author remembers her mother’s dreams and makes them her own. 

Quite the opposite of the glossy “Eat, Love Pray” solo female travel book, Maggie Downs doesn’t sugarcoat what a backpacking adventure can be like dealing with frustration and unknown places.  Will she find herself on the road in exotic places?

By Maggie Downs

8. The Snow Leopard

Spiritual Hiking Books Non-fiction

“The Snow Leopard” by Peter Matthiessen is a beautifully written and thought-provoking book about the author’s journey to the remote region of the Himalayas in search of the elusive snow leopard. The book is part travelogue, part natural history, and part spiritual journey, as Matthiessen reflects on the natural world, the people he meets, and his own inner search for meaning and understanding.

Matthiessen’s writing is poetic and evocative, capturing the beauty and power of the Himalayas and the people who call it home. He writes with a sense of wonder and reverence for the natural world and its inhabitants, and he has a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of the natural history of the region. The book is also an exploration of the relationship between man and nature, and how the natural world can inspire a deeper sense of self-awareness and spiritual connection.

One of the standout qualities of the book is Matthiessen’s ability to weave together natural history, personal reflection, and spiritual inquiry in a way that is both engaging and enlightening. The book is well-researched and provides a unique perspective on the region and its people.

Overall, “The Snow Leopard” is a compelling and thought-provoking book that will appeal to readers who are interested in natural history, travel, and the spiritual dimensions of the natural world. Matthiessen’s writing is beautiful and evocative, making it a true pleasure to read.

9. Clear Water Rising – A Mountain Walk Across Europe

Non-Fiction Hiking Book Reflection

“Clear Water Rising: A Walk Across Europe” by Nick Crane is a beautifully written and inspiring book about the author’s journey on foot across Europe. The book is a travelogue and a memoir, as Crane recounts his journey from the source of the Danube in Germany to the Black Sea, sharing his personal experiences, reflections, and the lessons he learned along the way.

Crane’s writing is honest and evocative, he writes with a sense of vulnerability that makes it easy for readers to connect with him on a personal level. He reflects on the importance of living a life with purpose, and how the journey on foot helped him to find a sense of meaning and clarity in his life. The book is also an exploration of the beauty and power of nature, the impact of human activities on the environment, and the importance of living sustainably.

One of the standout qualities of the book is Crane’s ability to weave together personal reflections, philosophy, and current events in a way that is both engaging and enlightening. One of the best funny hiking books and it is well-researched and provides a unique perspective on the regions he travels through and the people he meets along the way.

Overall, “Clear Water Rising” is a powerful and inspiring book that will appeal to readers who are interested in travel, self-discovery, and the meaning of life. Crane’s writing is honest, raw and evocative, making it a must-read for anyone who has ever felt lost and in need of a little guidance.

10. For a Pagan Song

Hiking Books Australia

“For a Pagan Song” by James Cowan is a beautifully written and evocative book about the author’s journey through the wild landscapes of Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands. The book is a travelogue and a memoir, as Cowan recounts his journey and shares his personal experiences, reflections, and the lessons he learned along the way.

Cowan’s writing is poetic and evocative, capturing the beauty and power of the wild landscapes he travels through and the people who call it home. He writes with a sense of wonder and reverence for the natural world and its inhabitants, and he has a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of the culture and history of the region. The book is also an exploration of the relationship between man and nature, and how the natural world can inspire a deeper sense of self-awareness and spiritual connection.

Best hiking books NZ

One of the standout qualities of the book is Cowan’s ability to weave together natural history, personal reflection, and spiritual inquiry in a way that is both engaging and enlightening. The book is well-researched and provides a unique perspective on the region and its people.

Overall, “For a Pagan Song” is a compelling and thought-provoking book that will appeal to readers who are interested in travel, natural history, and the spiritual dimensions of the natural world. Cowan’s writing is beautiful and evocative, making it a true pleasure to read.

11. The Camino de Santiago: One Wanderful Walk

Hiking Books for Beginners

“The Camino de Santiago: One Wanderful Walk” by Karen Karschnik is a beautifully written and inspiring book about the author’s journey on the Camino de Santiago, a famous pilgrimage route in Spain. The book is a travelogue, a memoir, and an exploration of the meaning of life. Karschnik recounts her journey on the Camino, sharing her personal experiences, reflections, and the lessons she learned along the way.

Karschnik’s writing is honest and evocative, she writes with a sense of vulnerability that makes it easy for readers to connect with her on a personal level. She reflects on the importance of living a life with purpose, and how the journey on the Camino helped her to find a sense of meaning and clarity in her life. The book is also an exploration of the beauty and power of nature, the impact of human activities on the environment, and the importance of living sustainably.

Overall, “The Camino de Santiago: One Wanderful Walk” is a powerful and inspiring book that will appeal to readers who are interested in travel, self-discovery, and the meaning of life. Karschnik’s writing is honest, raw and evocative, making it a must-read for anyone who has ever felt lost and in need of a little guidance.

FAQ – Best Hiking Books of 2022

What are the best hiking books of all time?

best hiking books

Wild
Woman in the Wilderness: My Story of Love, Survival and Self-Discovery
Honey from a Weed
Braver Than You Think 
Tales of a Female Nomad
To Shake the Sleeping Self
Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail
The Snow Leapord 
For a Pagan Song
Clear water rising – A Mountain Walk Across Europe

What are the best hiking memoirs?

Wild
For a Pagan Song
Clear Water Rising – A Mountain Walk Across Europe

Hiking Books for Beginners

Most people start with the book Wild because it is so popular and well-written.


Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a passionate hiker and writer, physical therapist, and photographer. She is living near Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany and featured giving science-based hiking tips and advice.

​When not out exploring the mountains or sea, she’s writing articles and gear reviews to empower Outdoor Journeys that include family and good food.

With 💞, Crave the Planet

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