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Best thru-hiking books

Looking for your next read? Check out this list of thru-hiking books through the years that have made the top of our list.


Cheryl Strayed

At rock bottom, Cheryl Strayed picked up a metal-framed backpack and some brand-new hiking boots with the intention of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. However, what she found along the way was much more than just the beauty of the American West, she found answers to the questions she’d been asking her whole life.

The Great Alone

Tim Voors

Tim Voors, trail name Van Gogh, brings the Pacific Crest Trail to life with his brilliant watercolor paintings of the trail in this retelling of his experience. His view of the adventure is relatable to many wanderers. Well loved in the Netherlands, the book has finally been translated to English for more of the world to discover.

The Alchemist

Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist is a must-read, even for non-thru-hikers. The book’s protagonist, Santiago, traverses through what is now known as Spain and Northern Africa in search of riches of the material and spiritual world. It’s a proper epic adventure book, written with long-distance wanderers in mind.

On Trails

Robert Moor

Inspired by his thru hike of the Appalachian Trail, Moor began to study how trails have formed in the world. The book zooms in to microscopic levels and back out to understand our own personal paths in life. This is a great read for while on trail, and speaks to the many questions we ask ourselves as we plod along.

A Walk in the Woods

Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson decided to walk the Appalachian Trail in his 60’s. What came next is a hilarious and heartfelt tale of knowing when to push on, where to take a break, and how to prepare for seemingly imminent bear attacks on one of the most popular thru-hikes in the United States. This book made our movie list, too!

The Salt Path

Raynor Winn

Suddenly finding themselves broke, homeless and terminally ill in their 50’s, Moth and Ray must decide what to do. Their solution? Sell their belongings, buy sleeping bags, and set out to walk the Coastal Path in the United Kingdom. Life isn’t always fair, but it does have some beautiful trails for walking out the pain.


Robyn Davidson

It’s 1977, you’re 27, and have decided to hike 2.700 kilometers across the Australian outback. Motivated by a deep need for the isolation of the desert, Robyn Davidson bought four camels and headed West with her beloved dog, Diggity, on the adventure of a lifetime. Pro-tip, look up the National Geographic archives about this trek after finishing the book!

Walking the Amazon

Ed Stafford

This is a proper adventure through and through. Ed Stafford set out to walk the Amazon from source to sea in 2008, and finished 860 days later. Walking the Amazon is a story of undeterred grit and amazing feats, accomplished with the help of indigenous people along the way. Beware, this tale will leave you sweating!

The Old Ways

Robert Macfarlane

This collection is for the poets. A renowned nature writer, Macfarlane dives into the way we form paths around the world. He shares the entomology of where our language for walking comes from, and ponders the larger questions of how we connect with the past as we move through landscapes.

Walking to Listen

Andrew Forsthoefel 

Forsthoefel set off to walk across the United States after graduating from university with the goal to meet as many people as he could, and to listen to every one of their stories. In what one could call a post-graduate education in humanity, the journey became what is now known as a must-read coming of age book for adventurers around the world.


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