The Best Hiking Books

7 Great Books to Take on Your Hike

A good book is always worth the weight in your backpack, whether you are going to hike for one day or two months.

Rest stops and evenings by the fire give you time to read, and long walks are perfect for the processing of information. While hiking clears your mind, a good book fills it with wisdom.

Therefore, an opportunity to catch up with their reading lists is one of the reasons why some people challenge themselves with a hike in the first place.

We picked some of our favorite reads, which will keep you inspired and motivated while hiking.

The book which inspired thousands of women around the world to hike had to appear first on this list. Touching, yet powerful bestselling memoir tells a story about Cheryl Strayed walking 1,000-plus miles along the Pacific Crest Trail all by herself, with no hiking experience or training. A more important side of the story, however, is her finding the strength and will to heal. Written with humor and style, it is worth reading even if you’ve seen the captivating film adaptation.

by Meredith Hall

This book may not give you professional hiking advice, but it will be so moving you won’t be able to put it down until the last page. Same as Wild, the memoir tells a story about a young woman finding her way through wondering. A teenage mom, kicked out of the house by her own mother, places her baby up for adoption before starting to walk across Europe and the Middle East with almost no money in her pocket. The thrilling true story full of unexpected turns will ignite your motivation to keep going forward.

If you feel like reading something about actual hiking, Walk in the Woods is the book for you. Bill Bryson walks via Appalachian Trail to rediscover his home country after living abroad. As a talented travel writer, he gives you some knowledge of nature and history and adds some humor to turn his trip into an entertaining story. The hiking classic will walk you through some of the most beautiful landscapes in America, and bears will not be the only ones you will encounter on the way!

A winner of numerous awards, On Trails: An Exploration, will take you on a philosophical journey of looking at the meaning of paths. Robert Moor traveled the globe for seven years, exploring trails of all kinds - from the Appalachian Trail to the origins of our road networks and the Internet. On his journey, the author looks at the world’s history, nature, and human behavior, while also posing metaphysical questions. The book is easy to read, but it will surely make you look deeper into the path under your feet.

Based on historical sources, Old Path White Clouds introduces you to the life and teachings of Buddha by telling his story through the eyes of a buffalo boy and the Buddha himself. Since the teacher spent most of his life traveling on foot and meditating, this book allows you to get a feeling of walking with him. Undoubtedly, you will gain a lot of wisdom on the way!

by Kurt Koontz

A Million Steps will help you discover the beauty of Europe’s nature and its countryside. It is an engaging memoir of walking the historic Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain. Kurt Koontz shares his journey of making connections with pilgrims from all around the world, while slowly overcoming his inner issues. If you haven’t dreamt of the Camino yet, you are going to after reading this story.

As the name suggests, the book is not exactly about hiking. Extensive walking and running, however, require the same thing - persistence. One of the greatest modern Japanese writers Haruki Murakami discloses his personal relationship with running and some thoughts on life. In addition to the insights about ageing and other insecurities, readers, especially on-foot travellers, can relate to the beautifully shown satisfaction of going the distance.

Many people found these books inspiring on their outdoor trips. Pick one to enrich your hike with extra layers of ideas and emotions!