Top Walking Memoirs and Tales of Long Walks

Walkers who undertake long distance walks share with us their experiences, pains and joys in these books about their walks. These books can inspire your or prepare you for your own dream walk.

A Walk in the Woods

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. Courtesy of Pricegrabber

Bill Bryson is one of my favorite writers. His books are laugh-out-loud funny, yet very insightful, and always a fantastic read. Here he returns to America in the mid-1990's after years in Britain. He sets out to walk the length of the Appalachian Trail. We can all learn much from his mistakes. But in addition to the humor, you learn about environmental issues impacting the trail. Some readers found these passages to a be a bit preachy.
Also available as an audiobook from

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Courtesy of Pricegrabber

The Pacific Crest Trail is the tougher, lonelier counterpart to the Appalachian Trail. In 1995, Cheryl Strayed was a 20-something and was damaged goods, sent into a downward spiral after her mother died of cancer. To find herself again, she decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from southern California to the Bridge of the Gods at the Oregon/Washington border. She takes an unflinching look at who she was, why she took on this quest, and how unprepared she was. Like a pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago, she hoped to find her center again. This was an Oprah book club pick in 2012.
Also available as an audiobook via

A Walk Across America

A Walk Across America - Peter Jenkins
A Walk Across America - Peter Jenkins. Courtesy of Pricegrabber
Peter Jenkins was fed up with his life and struck out to walk across America in the 1970's. His journey taught him a lot about walking, a lot about people, and a lot about himself. A classic walking tale.


Alan Cook's book, Walking the World, takes us along with him on his travels, which include walking throughout the US as well as walks in Europe and Asia. Alan has shared with us his End-to-End through the United Kingdom. He infects us with his joy of walking.


The Thousand Mile Summer

The Thousand Mile Summer
The Thousand Mile Summer. Courtesy of Pricegrabber
Colin Fletcher is the man who taught a generation to be "The Complete Walker." His trek the length of California in 1958 is a great walking tale. Since his passing, the price of this out-of-print book has shot up, but you may be able to locate a used version.

The Man Who Walked Through Time

The Man Who Walked Through Time
The Man Who Walked Through Time. Courtesy of Pricegrabber
Colin Fletcher walks the length of the Grand Canyon in 1968 in one of my husband's favorite books. It may be because of Fletcher's "first rule of aerobic walking."


Robert Sweetgall walked across the USA with a tiny fanny pack, relying on the kindness of strangers, talking in schools to inspire kids to get more physically active. Sweetgall's story is dynamic in person, if you ever get a chance to hear him, do it!


The Walk West: A Walk Across America 2

The Walk West - Peter Jenkins
The Walk West - Peter Jenkins. Courtesy of Pricegrabber
Peter Jenkins once again walks across America, this time with his wife.

Granny D: Walking Across America in my Ninetieth Year

Granny D had a cause - campaign finance reform. She set out to walk from LA to DC at age 89, averaging 10 miles a day. She kept "on message," but we can also be inspired by her endurance.

The Complete Walker IV

The Complete Walker
The Complete Walker. © Pricegrabber
If you are dreaming of or planning a long distance walk, or even a day of hiking, you need to own this book. Colin Fletcher details everything you should know about walking and hiking, exactly what to take with you and what not to take. How to walk and hike and enjoy the experience. Don't even think of leaving home without reading this book!

A Survival Guide to the Camino de Santiago in Galicia

Jeffery Barrera guides you through the last 151 kilometers (100 miles) of the Camino de Santiago on the French route.

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