Are you looking for some hiking inspiration, camp recipes, in-depth tips or enthralling adventure stories? Whether your choosing a thoughtful gift for an outdoor lover or want to treat yourself, here’s 51 of the best hiking books to get you in the mood to hit the trails.
These books about hiking provide everything from recommendations by hiking experts to the best gear and descriptions of epic trails. We’ve organized them by categories so you can quickly find your next great read.
America’s Great Hiking Trails: A superbly illustrated hiking book celebrating more than 50,000 miles of trails in 49 U.S. states and eight national parks.
Fifty Places To Hike Before You Die: Part of the Fifty Places series, this book tackles the world’s fifty best hiking destinations, from the gorilla forests in Rwanda to Italy’s Amalfi Coast and mountains in Tibet.
Walking Distance: Offering firsthand descriptions of and tips on the world’s thirty greatest long-distance hikes. Covering six continents and a variety of trails, this book features each region’s cultural and natural history, personal anecdotes and useful advice.
Classic Hikes Of The World: Inspiration and information to help you plan your next big adventure. This wonderfully illustrated book includes many of the world’s best treks, whether it’s weekend hikes, week-long hut trips or epic long-distance journeys.
Classic Treks: The 30 Most Spectacular Hikes In The World: Detailed information about how to plan, execute and survive treks through the world’s greatest landscapes. Includes everything from maps and trail features to health and safety advice, local customs and info on wildlife and plants.
The World’s Great Adventure Treks: A guide to twenty of the most exciting long-distance hikes in the world, from the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain to the mountains of New Zealand.
Classic Hikes Of North America: Beautifully photographed and detailed accounts of the greatest backcountry hikes in Canada and the United. Featuring more than 200 photographs and a wealth of information, this is one of the best hiking books covering North America.
2. EDUCATION & REFERENCE
Hiking: Hiking And Backpacking Guide For Your Ultimate Trail Experience: A great book to have if you’re just getting into the backpacking life, it features countless tips about hiking food, ultralight gear, safety and other essentials.
Get Out And Hike!: A Beginners Guide To Hiking: Offers tips and advice to expand your horizon, explore the world’s landscapes, widen your comfort zone and develop your outdoor skills.
Backpacking: The Essential Guide To Hiking And Backpacking For Beginners: This book aimed at backpacking beginners and newbies offers advice on how to plan a hiking trip, choose the proper gear and much more.
Backpacking: For Beginners: An informative and to-the-point guide providing tried-and-tested planning advice and useful hiking hacks. Tips include everything from picking a destination to how to stay safe on the trail.
The Backpacker’s Handbook: A practical guide that’s useful for everyone from absolute beginners to weathered experts, this book includes important techniques such as map and compass reading, but also tips on electronic devices, camping gear and clothing.
A Woman’s Guide To The Wild: Written specifically for adventurous women, this is an information-packed guide covering things such as “feminine functions” in the wilderness, how to deal with condescending men as well as setting up camp and building a fire.
The Backpacker’s Field Manual: One of the flagship outdoor books, this backpacking book features the latest developments in gear, leave-no-trace tips, outdoor leadership basics and first aid techniques. Recommended for beginning and experienced hikers alike.
The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Backpacking And Hiking: Provides an abundance of information on basically everything related to hiking, from overnight camping to the outdoor kitchen, dealing with wildlife and tips on first aid.
The Beginner’s Guide To Hiking Gear: Our gear guide specifically written for beginners. Lear what gear you actually need and what’s simply nice to have, so you can start hiking without breaking the bank.
The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide: The go-to guide when it comes to choosing and using hiking gear.
4. ULTRALIGHT HIKING
Ultralight Backpackin’ Tips: A short yet detailed and humorously illustrated guide with no fewer than 153 tips on how to stay safe, comfortable and well-fed while carrying a lightweight backpack.
Trail Tested: A Thru-Hiker’s Guide To Ultralight Hiking And Backpacking: A comprehensive guide featuring hundreds of tips on how to pick lightweight gear, learn outdoor skills and low-impact camping.
The Ultimate Hang: A celebrated book providing everything you need to know about hammock camping. Includes 200 illustrations and numerous useful tips.
5. ADVENTURE STORIES
Trespassing Across America: A superb account of a man’s extraordinary journey along the Keystone XL pipeline, reflecting on climate change, the world’s natural beauty and pushing yourself beyond your limits.
Lost On The Appalachian Trail: A humorous and exciting account of a hike on the Appalachian Trail. A book that tells a story as much as it teaches, motivates and inspires.
Hiking Through: The author of this book about hiking the Appalachian Trail reveals how he immersed himself in the wilds of Eastern America and how making friends on the trail helped him overcome a great loss.
Small Feet Big Land: Following in the footsteps of a family of four that treks along Alaska’s coastlines and through its wildest corners, this book reflects on climate change and life in remote Arctic villages. From grizzly bear encounters to eating whale blubber, the experiences of this adventurous family will keep you entertained until the last page.
Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart: This story is about a young women whose internet-centered city life made her numb and caused her to break away from everything she knows and immerse herself in nature. A great account of an epic hike along the Pacific Crest Trail.
A Walk In The Woods: Bill Bryson’s classic hiking book is hilarious and filled with fun facts. It takes on everything from the history and ecology of the Appalachian Trail to the hardships every thru-hiker will eventually face.
Becoming Odyssa: Written by a record-breaking thru-hiker, this book tells the story of a hike on the Appalachian Trail, of a transition from an overconfident female college graduate to a women hardened by a life outdoors braving situations she could never have imagined before.
Wild: A story told in style and with suspense, filled with humor and warmth, Wild is an account of a young woman’s hike on the Pacific Crest Trail after her mother’s death and a failed marriage.
Tracks: This book features one of the most epic desert journeys ever recorded. A powerful memoir of a woman’s dangerous 1,700-mile trek across the Australian desert.
Following Atticus: A memorable true tale of a man attempting to climb all of New Hampshire’s 4,000-foot peaks with his dog Atticus.
The Old Ways: Combining literature, geology, natural history and cartography, this is a hiking book featuring hikes on the ancient routes and trails that crisscross various places on earth, from Great Britain to the Himalayas and Spain.
6. SURVIVAL & SAFETY
Bushcraft 101: Based on the 5 Cs of survival—covering, cutting tools, containers, combustion devices and cordages—this is a valuable guide for everyone looking to improve their survival skills and knowledge.
Advanced Bushcraft: This book goes beyond the bushcraft basics featured in the book above and shows you how you can completely immerse yourself in the wilderness using woodcraft techniques and crafting medicines from plants.
The Total Outdoorsman Manual: The ultimate guidebook for outdoor enthusiasts, filled with countless tips and techniques that will improve your fishing, camping, hunting and survival skills.
SAS Survival Handbook: A classic and best-selling outdoor manual that tackles every possible disaster scenario.
Survival Hacks: Covering small-scale hacks to large tricks, this rough guide features more than 200 ways to use everyday items for wilderness survival.
Be Expert With Map & Compass: Provides clear explanations of how to use map and compass to find your way. Ideal for beginners.
Wilderness Medicine: A useful guide that will help you recognize, assess and treat many medical emergencies.
Wilderness Navigation: Offers a wealth of information about navigating in the wilderness, including the use of map and compass, but also modern equipment such as altimeters and GPS.
The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: A potentially life-saving resource, this in-depth book talks about harvesting, treating and preserving water after a disaster.
Trail Food: Drying And Cooking Food For Backpacking And Paddling: This book is chock-full with great tips on how to remove water from food, planning meals and packing food.
Recipes For Adventure: Includes 75 backpacking recipes with step-by-step instructions and helpful images.
The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook: A best-selling cookbook specifically about dehydrating food, including tips on picking a dehydrator and almost 400 recipes.
8. EXPEDITION HIKING
Turn Right At Machu Picchu: This adventure book retraces the journey of Hiram Bingham III’s discovery of Machu Picchu. A modern, fascinating, funny and informative account of a walk in the footsteps of historically controversial explorer.
Walking The Amazon: An account of a bold 860-day journey along the entire length of the Amazon, the first time anyone had ever attempted such a feat.
Walking The Nile: This journey takes the author from a tiny spring in Rwanda to the Egyptian delta, an unprecedented adventure along arguably the world’s most legendary river.
Wild By Nature: An epic journey on foot from Siberia to Australia, this book tells the story of a woman who hiked 10,000 miles over three years.
There Are Other Rivers: From the Coromandel Coast to the Malabar Coast, Alastair Humphreys takes you on a journey across India, along a holy river.
9. OTHER HIKING ACTIVITIES
The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Geocaching: A beginners guide to geocaching, an increasingly popular outdoor activity involving GPS that’s accessible to pretty much everyone.
Paracord Outdoor Gear Projects: This wonderful book shows you how you can use parachute cord to make survival bracelets and other useful outdoor gear.
AMC Guide To Outdoor Digital Photography: A comprehensive photography guide that addresses basic photography techniques, packing and carrying gear, setting up cameras, processing photos and much more.
Photography Night Sky: If you’re looking to improve your night photography skills, this is the book you need. It offers tips on shooting everything from moonrises to the Milky Way, shooting stars and the northern lights.
For more of our top hiking & backpacking gear recommendations, check out these popular buyer's guides:
Best Backpacking Sleeping Bags
Best Backpacking Sleeping Pads
Best Hiking Boots For Men (and Women)
Your forgot to add Ray Jardine’s book, “Trail Life” to your list. it is the updated version of the bible that introduced and began the lightweight backpacking revolution. http://www.rayjardine.com/ray-way/Books/Trail-Life/index.htm