My top 5 thru-hiking books

While guides and maps may be essential reading during your thru hiking adventures, you’ll likely want a little more entertainment for your off trail reads. What follows is a list of some of my favorite thru-hiking related books.  And before you even ask, no, Wild will not be making an appearance here. Though there may be some controversy over pick number five.

Number 5:

A Walk In The Woods

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Sure, Bill Bryson may have questionable leave no trace ethics and his commitment to the trail is laughable, but the thing is the entire book is laughable and that’s what makes it great. With Bryson’s sharp wit and an incredibly entertaining writing style, this book is hard to put down.


Number 4:

Becoming Odyssa

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Before she was setting speed records on the AT Jennifer Pharr Davis was just thru hiking like everyone else on trail. This book captures her at the beginnings of her hiking career. Lacking the expertise and skills she possesses now. What really makes the book stand out is that, unlike the majority of hiking books, it is written from a female perspective.


Number 3:

AWOL on the AT

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Miller excels in meticulously describing trail life in this book. Though it can be a bit much at times, it is a perfect real-world introduction to thru hiking for the uninitiated. If you’re looking for your first thru-hiking introduction book, this is a good place to start. Bonus: his guide book is the absolute best AT guide available, get it!

Number 2:

Skywalker: Highs and Lows on the PCT

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Skywalker has a collection of books available about his adventures on some of the worlds greatest long trails. Though I was tempted to include them all in this list, as they are all great,  I opted to instead stick with just one. Following this nearly seven foot tall man on his Pacific Crest Trail adventure is both entertaining and thrilling. His combination of humor and hiking makes this book a must read!


Number 1:

Just Passin’ Thru

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Winton Porter does something in this book that perhaps no other thru hiking book has done sufficiently. By documenting the characters and hikers that have passed thru his small outfitter just north of Blood Mountain, Georgia, Porter gives readers a look into the odd but charming world of the trail community. You’ll see hikers old and new, trail legends, and some hilarious encounters between the hiking community and “common people”. After finishing this book, you’ll be left wanting more.

Have some picks of your own? I’d love to hear about some more hiking books to read! Leave some in the comments.


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