Best Books About Hiking the Appalachian Trail

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If you’re planning on hiking the Appalachian Trail, you’re making a great choice. The popular 2,200-mile trail that stretches from Georgia to Maine is one of the most iconic hiking trails in the world. Many people have had unforgettable experiences on the trail and have gained memories on it that they wouldn’t trade for anything.

The truth is that hiking the Appalachian Trail isn’t just a physical journey. It’s a mental and emotional one too. Fortunately, whether you want to prepare yourself for an adventure of your own or you want to live vicariously through some of the trail’s previous hikers, there are a lot of great books that can help.

In this guide, we’ll list 6 of the best books about hiking the Appalachian Trail.

1. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson - A Walk in the Woods

Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods is a classic as far as Appalachian Trail literature goes. The book is a charming, hilarious, and honest account of Bryson’s attempt to hike the trail along with his friend, Stephen Katz.

Bryson’s wit and humor really make this book a fun and engaging read. He doesn’t hold back on sharing his struggles and fears on the trail, so you’re sure to be entertained all the way through.

2. Becoming Odyssa: Adventures on the Appalachian Trail by Jennifer Pharr Davis

Becoming Odyssa - Book About Hiking the Appalachian Trail

In Becoming Odyssa, Jennifer Pharr Davis shares her experiences hiking the Appalachian Trail as a 21-year-old woman. Her journey is inspiring, her storytelling is compelling, and the book is easy to read.

In the book, Davis shares the challenges she faced as a solo female hiker on the trail and discusses the lessons she learned along the way. Overall, “Becoming Odyssa” is a must-read for anyone who wants to be inspired by a powerful female hiker and hear a great story.

3. Appalachian Trials by Zach Davis

Appalachian Trails by Zach Davis

Zach Davis’s Appalachian Trials isn’t just a book about hiking the Appalachian Trail. It’s a guide to preparing for it, both mentally and emotionally.

In this book, Davis shares his own experiences on the trail and offers practical advice on how to stay motivated, overcome obstacles, and deal with the emotional challenges of hiking the AT. “Appalachian Trials” is an excellent resource for anyone planning to embark on this journey, so be sure to check it out if you’re planning to make the hike.

4. Grandma Gatewood’s Walk by Ben Montgomery

Grandma Gatewood's Walk - Ben Montgomery

Emma Gatewood, also known as Grandma Gatewood, was the first woman to hike the entire Appalachian Trail alone. Ben Montgomery’s book, Grandma Gatewood’s Walk, tells her incredible story and does it well.

Gatewood was 67 years old when she began her journey, and she completed the trail three times over the course of her life. Montgomery’s book is a fascinating read and offers insight into the history of the trail and the challenges that early hikers faced.

5. Walking with Spring by Earl Shaffer

Walking With Spring - Book About Hiking the Appalachian Trail

Earl Shaffer was the first person to hike the entire Appalachian Trail in one continuous journey. His book, Walking with Spring, chronicles his 1948 hike of the trail.

Shaffer’s writing is poetic and does a great job of capturing the beauty of the trail. The book chronicles his physical and spiritual journey during his hike.

“Walking with Spring” is a great tribute to the trail and is a must-read for anyone who wants to dig deeper into the spiritual connection that many hikers have with it.

6. The A.T. Guide by David Miller

The A.T. Guide - Book About Hiking the Appalachian Trail
David Miller’s The A.T. Guide is a comprehensive guidebook to the Appalachian Trail that’s also well worth reading. The book includes information on the trail’s history, geography, and natural features, as well as practical information on resupply points, water sources, and campsites.

Miller’s guide is updated every year, so it’s always up to date with the latest information. If you’re planning on hiking the Appalachian Trail, “The A.T. Guide” is an essential resource to have with you.

Experiencing Adventure With These Appalachian Trail Books

While hiking the Appalachian Trail can be a challenging experience, it can also be extremely rewarding and can provide memories to last a lifetime.

These 6 books about hiking the Appalachian Trail offer a lot of insight into the physical, mental, and emotional challenges that come with it. They also provide inspiration, practical advice, and a deep appreciation for the trail’s history, geography, and natural beauty.

Whether you’re planning on hiking the trail yourself or just want to learn more about this iconic hiking destination, it’s well worth reading 1 or more of these books.

Want to learn more about the starting point of the Appalachian Trail and other hiking trails in North GA? Check out our guide on the top North GA hiking trails now.

About Admin

Hey, I'm Harrison! I'm the creator of Southern Portals and the writer of many (but not all) of the posts you'll find here. I'm a native of the North GA mountains, an avid traveler, and a singer-songwriter. This website is one of my passion projects and I hope to share a bit of my expertise with the world through it, so I hope you enjoy the articles that you find here. Thanks for reading!

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