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The Best Nature Books for your Next Adventure in the Great Outdoors

July 25, 2020
This list of best nature books includes memoirs, biographies, fiction, how-to books and guidebooks. Escape into nature with this list of 38 books about the great outdoors | My Wandering Voyage travel blog #books #GreatOutdoors #Hiking #NatureBooks #Readings

There’s nothing better than kicking back, with your tent set up, campfire going and the stars up above you. Sometimes, though, it’s not always possible to get outside and live the good life. Reading, for me, is a form of escapism, and when life gets tough or stressful, all I want to do is pick up a book and escape to a new world, especially when it’s one of the best nature books.


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This list of best nature books includes memoirs, biographies, fiction, how-to books and guidebooks. Escape into nature with this list of 38 books about the great outdoors | My Wandering Voyage travel blog #books #GreatOutdoors #Hiking #NatureBooks #Readings

This book list of Best outdoors books includes memoirs and biographies of people who have gone outside and done incredible things, fiction books about the outdoor adventurers, how-to books for surviving in the wild, and guidebooks for hiking and camping in North America. These are some of the best nature books.

The best nature books: non-fiction biographies

Have you always wanted to hike the Pacific Crest Trail or explore the wildest places? Well, these people have done it. These best outdoors books are about journeys, usually an excellent hiking journey or a trip to a particular place. These people have done incredible things and are sharing their experiences with us. Here’s a list of best nature books that are memoirs.

Lands of Lost Borders by Kate Harris

Kate Harris always wanted to go to Mars; she even got so far as taking part in a Mars camp before realizing what she craved what exploration. She found that by cycling across Asia on the Silk Road. This book is an incredible mixture of travel narrative, deep reflection and history lesson, perfect for anyone wanting an excuse to start an adventure.

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Many of us know the story of Christopher McCandless, who set off into the wilds of Alaska and lived for 119 in an abandoned bus before succumbing to nature. This book is about his journey, compiled from diaries and research by Jon Krakauer. Was he irresponsible or inspiring? You decide after reading this book.

If you are inspired to visit the bus after reading this book, think again. The Alaskan Army National Guard removed the bus in the summer of 2020 as it was a public safety issue due to the number of people needing rescuing.

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

I couldn’t mention the best nature books without mentioning Wild. Wanting to heal from a life that was thrown into chaos, Cheryl Strayed hit the Pacific Crest Trail, a five-month journey from the Mexican to the Canadian border. Against all odds, it seems, she succeeds, and this is her story.

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

From Source to Sea by Tom Chesshyre

UK Travel writer Tom Chesshyre has written numerous times about trains, but it’s the pull from the Thames River that inspired this book. Walking 200 miles from the source of the Thames to the sea, commenting on the communities on its banks, it’s vibrant history, and, of course, the people who call this place home.

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

Beyond the Trees: A Journey Alone Across Canada’s Arctic by Adam Shoalts

Adventurer Adam Shoalts sets off on a 4,000km journey through Canada’s most wild and remote place: the Arctic. He sets off in spring and has to make to his destination before winter sets in, all alone. Follow his tumultuous journey in the great white north.

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

Northland: A 4,000-Mile Journey Along America’s Forgotten Border by Porter Fox

Did you know that the longest undefended border in the world lies between the US and Canada? Stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, 4,000 miles of borderland touches seven provinces and 11 states. Adventurer Porter Fox explores this border region in his book Northland, diving into the history and culture of this imaginary line.

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

On Trails: An Exploration by Robert Moor

Inspired by his trek through the Appalachian Trail, hiker Robert Moor set out across the globe to discover how trails become, well, trails. Through interviews, research and reflection, he connects trails with human life itself.

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Love him or hate him, there’s no doubt that Henry David Thoreau has influence outdoors culture since writing the book in the late 1800s. “All good things are wild, and free,” and “In wildness is the preservation of the world,” are some of his quotes that make reading this book in the 21st century all that much more enjoyable.

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson is known for his entertaining prose. In his book, A Walk in the Woods, he takes that voice and heads out on the Appalachian Trail, where he discovers the history, the people and the culture of one of the longest treks in the US.

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube by Blair Braverman

What’s it like to live in the arctic? Well, Blair Braverman, a sled-dog driver, glacier tour guide and all-around “tough girl,” spills the beans of her funny but terrifying life in Norway and Alaska. Getting through this book might just make you exhausted!

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

Ranger Confidential by Andrea Lankford

Have you ever wanted to be a park ranger? Get the behind-the-scenes look at the life of a park ranger in some of the coolest US national parks like Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite and more. From having to protect people from the dangers of the park and protecting the park from the risks of people, this book tells all.

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

Called Again: Love and Triumph on the Appalachian Trail by Jennifer Pharr Davis

Normally the Appalachian trail can take months, but Jennifer Davis completed the trail in just 46 days. While she holds the record for the first female to set that mark, this book is more about her reflections of endurance and love that she found on the trail.

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

She Explores: Stories of Life-Changing Adventures on the Road and in the Wild by Gale Straub

This collection of stories from adventure-loving women is the most inspiring book on this list. From advice to inspirational stories and incredible photos, this book has it all, wrapped in a bit a girl power. It’s recommended reading for any adventurous woman!

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors by James Mills

James Mills chronicles his ascent of Denali as the first all-African American group to attempt a summit. He also argues for the importance of Black influence in the adventure-seeking industry as role models for future generations.

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors by Carolyn Finney

Heading out to the great outdoors is a different experience if you are a BIPOC. In this book, Carolyn Finney discusses the history of racism, the impact of whitewashing an industry and how Black adventurers are working to change it for the better.

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback by Robyn Davidson

It takes over 1,700 miles to cross Australia through the desert and rough terrain. Tracks documents one woman’s journey to complete that trek with four camels and a dog. It’s a story you won’t forget.

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Botanist and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, author Robin Kimmerer brings together traditional wisdom and scientific knowledge to celebrate the environment and the place we occupy in it.

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

Girl in the Woods by Aspen Matis

When a disgusting and traumatic even happens to Aspen while in university, she turns to nature to heal. In her 2,000-mile journey from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail, this 19-year-old finds strength and resilience.

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

Leave Only Footprints: My Acadia-to-Zion Journey Through Every National Park by Conor Knighton

Heartbreak leads Conor Knighton out to the US National Parks, but he ended up changing his world view by taking a year to visit every one of America’s national parks from Acadia to Zion.

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon


RELATED: 25 best scenic lookouts in Ontario you have to see for yourself


The best outdoors books: fiction

Woman overlooking Mount Nemo | Hiking the Bruce Trail: 14 side trails to explore | My Wandering Voyage travel blog

Spooky stories, raging wilderness and harrowing stories. That’s what I love about reading fiction books about the great outdoors. This list of best nature books will get you started. Don’t worry; Lord of the Flies is not on this list. That book is terrible, and no one should read it. These best outdoors books are ones you should definitely read while on your own adventure.

The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore by Kim Fu

When a group of young girls head into the woods for an overnight paddle trip, they find themselves stranded and alone. Now the girls are older and are trying to deal with the trauma they faced.

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

The Wildfire Season by Andrew Pyper

This book is about a wildfire fighter who escapes to an end-of-the-road town in the Yukon after a tragic accident leaves him scarred. His former partner and child show up looking for him and turn his life upside down. I read this over a decade ago and again a couple of years ago. It’s an incredible and suspenseful story.

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Amazon

The Mountain Story by Lori Lansens

Four strangers head up a mountain, not all of them make it home. This harrowing tale of survival in the wild will have your skin crawl, not being sure what you can believe. It’s such a wild ride from page one.

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

The Bear by Claire Cameron

Taking place in the wilderness of Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park, a five-year-old girl and her younger brother find themselves without their parents in the shadow of a bear. This short but heart-wrenching story is a must-read, but maybe not while you’re camping.

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

Greenwood by Michael Christie

Following the history of the Greenwood family from future to past, this fictional book talks about the last remaining forest in BC through the environmental protests of the 70s back to the maple syrup farm in the 30s. It’s a book about family, history and, of course, the environment.

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon


RELATED: Hiking the Bruce Trail: 14 incredible side trails to explore


The best how-to outdoors books

Bruce Peninsula National Park viewpoint

Alright, fiction and memoirs are great, but no list of best nature books is complete with a few how-to books to help you learn everything you can before heading out in the wild. Whether you want to learn to read nature’s signs, become a better hiker or camper, or are looking for a better place to hike, this list of best outdoors books is for you.

The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide by National Geographic

If you’re heading out into the wilderness, do what the Scouts do, and be prepared. This guidebook will give you everything you need to be prepared for hiking, camping and even ultralight backpacking.

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

A Woman’s Guide to the Wild: Your Complete Outdoor Handbook by Ruby McConnell

You may be a woman that loves the outdoors, but finding a guide about being a woman in the wild was sorely missing from the bookshelf. Well, this one takes the cake. Read this and be confident about getting out there and tackle the world.

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

The Natural Navigator by Tristan Gooley

Have you ever wondered how people who which way is north, or how to tell if it will start to rain? This guide helps you discover natural cues, diving into the science behind it, all in a fun, stimulating way.

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs by Tristan Gooley

Discover nature’s signs from the stars to the seas to the trees in the book about reading what nature is telling you. Note, this book is based in the UK and so specific species might be different!

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

A History of Canada in Ten Maps: Epic Stories of Charting a Mysterious Land by Adam Shoalts

I love maps, but even cartography has an agenda. This book is all about the history of Canada told through maps, from Vikings to present day, and those who drew them.

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative by Florence Williams

There’s no secret that being outside can improve your mood, but how exactly does it do that, and how can we harness it to improve our lives?

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

The Great Outdoors: A User’s Guide: Everything you Need to Know Before Heading into the Wild by Brendan Leonard

Want to know how to bandage a wound? Fight off a tick invasion? Survive outside? Brendan Leonard has you covered in this guidebook on coming back from the wilderness in one piece.

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon


RELATED: Why you should use a Hiking Log for your Adventures


The best nature guidebooks

Canada's Dark Sky Preserves | Canada Travel Guide | My Wandering Voyage travel blog

Some of the best nature books are actually guidebooks for hikes and camping around the world. These best outdoors books are perfect for any nature-lover’s coffee table. The books also can be a present to yourself if you just LOVE the outdoors.

Fifty Places to Hike Before You Die by Chris Santella

There are so many incredible places to set out on the trail, like in Bhutan, Italy, Rwanda and more. This book serves as inspiration with descriptions and photos, to get your feet itchy to start hiking!

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

America’s Best Day Hikes by Derek Dellinger

Many of the country’s most incredible hikes are generally multi-day hikes. Well, what if you just want to go out for the day? This book helps you find incredible day hikes for many states in the US.

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

50 Hikes in (State) series by Countryman Press

This series of “50 Hikes in (state)” lets you find the best hikes in your state or area. I’m itching to get 50 Hikes in Coastal and Inland Maine and head back to that beautiful state!

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Amazon

100 Hikes of a Lifetime: The World’s Ultimate Scenic Trails by Kate Siber

The ultimate list of hikes you’ll want to take, coupled with beautiful National Geographic photography! Perfect for any hiker’s coffee table.

Get it here: Chapters | Amazon

Great Hiking Trails of the World: 80 Trails, 75,000 Miles, 38 Countries, 6 Continents by Karen Berger

Another beautiful book filled with breathtaking hikes from around the world. These 80 hikes are divided into six sections: pilgrimages, historic hikes, mountain hikes, wilderness trails, trails through diverse environments, and long-distance trails

Get it here: Chapters | Amazon

Lonely Planet’s Epic Hikes of the World

This epic hiking book packs in 200 hike suggestions from 30 countries. It also includes hike planning advice like how to get there, where to stay, what to pack and where to eat, and more.

Get it here: Kobo | Chapters | Kindle | Amazon

Loops and Lattes – Ontario hiking guidebooks

I love hiking in Ontario. It’s one of my goals to hike the Bruce Trail from end to end. But some parts of the trail can get pretty busy! That’s where Loops and Lattes hiking guidebooks come in. They’ve got one for almost every region in southern Ontario! Try starting with Halton Hikes.

Get it here: Direct | Amazon

There you have it. Here are 38 best nature books to fill your shelves and get you excited and prepared for your next hike or camping adventure.

This list of best nature books includes memoirs, biographies, fiction, how-to books and guidebooks. Escape into nature with this list of 38 books about the great outdoors | My Wandering Voyage travel blog #books #GreatOutdoors #Hiking #NatureBooks #Readings
This list of best nature books includes memoirs, biographies, fiction, how-to books and guidebooks. Escape into nature with this list of 38 books about the great outdoors | My Wandering Voyage travel blog #books #GreatOutdoors #Hiking #NatureBooks #Readings

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