Best Hiking Books to Cozy Up With: Fall Reading List

By Jackie Florman


Let’s face it: summer hiking season is almost over. The warm days of summer adventures are now behind us as the chill of fall laces the air. It’s time to curl up on the couch, sip a pumpkin spice latte, and read a book about the warm adventures of seasons past.

Pick up one of these books about to transport yourself and escape to an incredible outdoor destination. These books also make great presents or bookclub selections.

Top Hiking Books for Fall Cozy Season

Best Multi-Sport Adventure Book

The Sun is a Compass: My 4,000-Mile Journey into the Alaskan Wilds

– Caroline Van Hemert

Best hiking books - The Sun is My Compass

Banff Mountain Book Award winner, The Sun is a Compass, documents author van Hemert and her husband’s 6-month, human-powered journey from northern Washington to the Arctic Circle.

The pair hike, paddle, and ski across the most remote landscapes in the United States and Canada. Read on to follow their adventure across tumultuous seas to grizzly country.

Most Enthralling Hiking Story

The Last Season

– Eric Blehm

Thrilling books about hiking

National Outdoor Book Award winner The Last Season chronicles the search for a long-serving wilderness ranger in Sequoia National Park who disappeared in the remote backcountry of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

If you’re looking for an enthralling adventure narrative focused on the life and search for a missing park ranger, this is the book for you.

“The Book is Better than the Movie”

Into the Wild

– Jon Krakauer

Best hiking books - Into the wild

National bestseller Into the Wild is a classic that should make anyone’s hiking reading list. College graduate Christopher McCandless hitchhikes across the country and walks into the Alaskan wilderness, never to be seen alive again.

Read the book to piece together the incredible life and death of McCandless. The movie is also worth watching.

Best Ultra-Running BooK

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

– Christopher McDougall

Best book about ultra-running - Born to Run

Most people would agree that ultra-running is mostly hiking.

Born to Run will sweep the reader away on a journey to understand the secrets of running longevity in Mexico’s Copper canyons.

Pick up this book if you’re ultra-running curious, or interested in the human history of long-distance foot travel!

The Pacific Crest Trail Classic

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

– Cheryl Strayed

Book about PCT Pacific Crest Trail

#1 New York Times Bestseller, Wild, details a woman’s journey on the Pacific Crest Trail, a long-distance trail that runs border-to-border along the western United States.

Strayed documents her search for herself as she backpacks over 1,000 miles. If you dream of a PCT trip, this is the book for you.

the Most Beautiful Writing

Miracle Country: A Memoir of a Family and a Landscape

– Kendra Atleework

Book about life in California Sierra Nevada - A memoir of family and landscape

While less of a traditional hiking book, Miracle Country should top your list if you have been on a trip to California’s Sierra Nevada.

The memoir explores a family’s connection to place, environment, and water in the rugged eastern Sierra Nevada town of Swall Meadows – just north of Bishop, CA. Read on to see why this book won the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award.

Another Thru-Hiking Book

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

– Bill Bryson

A Walk in the Woods is a light-hearted story about Bryson’s walk on the Appalachian Trail, a long-distance thru-hike on the east coast of the United States.

Read this one if you’re looking for a laugh and some thru-hiking inspiration.

Most Engaging Short Story Collection

Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men And Mountains

– Jon Krakauer

Short stories about outdoors hiking adventures

This Krakauer short-story collection chronicles tales of mountaineering across the globe.

Read on for tent-bound weeks, climbing to the top of the world, and reflection on humans and mountains.

Honorable Mentions: Best Outdoor Adventure Books for the River Rat to the Rock Climber

When you run out of hiking books, pick up a copy of one of these other outdoor adventure books!

For the River Rat

The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon

– Kevin Fedarko

Best books about river rafting Grand Canyon

This gripping story is sure to draw in anyone from the river rat to the everyday explorer.

Fedarko’s The Emerald Mile tells the incredible tale of the fastest journey down the Grand Canyon at the near-break of the Glen Canyon dam.

For the Ski Bum

Powder Days: Ski Bums, Ski Towns and the Future of Chasing Snow

– Heather Hansman

Books for ski bums

Powder Days chronicles the history of ski bums in the United States through a journey across some of the most iconic mountain towns in America.

In tandem, Hansman dives into the dark side of mountain towns: alcohol, housing crisis, and more. Pick up this one if you’re ready to skip fall and jump ahead to ski season.

For the Cyclist

Land of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road

– Kate Harris

Books about cycling women traveling

Land of Lost Borders tells the story of two women and their dream of biking the Silk Road.

Exploring the ends of the earth by bicycle, this book is sure to inspire a long-distance bike tour next summer.


Valley of Giants: Stories from Women at the Heart of Yosemite Climbing

– Lauren DeLaunay Miller

Book about women climbers Yosemite

This incredible short-story collection captures the voices of the women who influenced the future of climbing in Yosemite.

Valley of Giants is an empowering, beautifully written collection that turns the history of Yosemite climbing on its head, centering the women who started it all.

For the Flight-Curious

Learning to Fly: A Memoir of Hanging On and Letting Go

– Steph Davis

Learning to Fly tells the story of Davis’s journey from climber to BASE jumper after a tumultuous break-up and personal life crisis.

For the flight-curious, Learning to Fly is sure to convince you to invest in a pair of wings. As someone who infrequently leaves the ground, this story moved me.

Best Non-Fiction Books About Hiking: Biographies + Autobiographies

Best Outdoors Books

Best non-fiction books about hiking backpacking climbing rafting skiing

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