The Best Hiking Audiobooks

From gear guides to stories of triumph over nature’s many obstacles, these selections will remind listeners that the only way forward is up.

Summer is here, and for many people, that means taking advantage of the warm weather and spending as much time as possible enjoying the great outdoors. Hiking is a time-honored way to appreciate and learn about nature while improving your physical and mental health. But even if you can't get out on the trail yourself at the moment, these hiking audiobooks will give you a greater appreciation for the sport.

Hiking's broad appeal and long history have formed the basis of many compelling works of nonfiction. Below, you will find some of the best hiking audiobooks available. They run the gamut from intense stories of survival and perseverance to gentle explorations of the healing power of nature. Each of these hiking audiobooks is perfect for whenever the mood strikes, whether you are out on a hike of your own or sitting behind the wheel of your car.

Guidebook to Relative Strangers

Guidebook to Relative Strangers

While hiking narratives are too often dominated by white voices, hiking should be accessible to all. In Guidebook to Relative Strangers, Camille T. Dungy recalls the years she spent traveling the United States and Ghana on foot with her young daughter. As a Black woman, her interactions with people she met on the trail and her overall experience are vastly different from those of white male hikers, which is all the more reason to pay attention to what she has to say.

Walking the Himalayas

Walking the Himalayas

In Levison Wood's award-winning Walking the Himalayas, listeners will follow the author across the full length of the legendary Himalayan Mountains, which includes Mount Everest, the tallest peak in the world. Along the way, you will meet locals and learn about the region's long history, which is just as fantastic as the mountain range itself. Wood, who also narrates the audiobook, brings a place that is inaccessible to most right into your own home. For more hiking audiobooks by Wood, try Walking the Nile and Walking the Americas.

Wild

Wild

After a series of terrible losses, 26-year-old Cheryl Strayed threw caution to the wind, laced up her hiking boots, and set out for the dangerous and difficult Pacific Crest Trail—even though she had never hiked long-distance. The experience proves life-changing, allowing her to finally close old wounds and find a new path for her life's journey. Wild is the memoir that inspired the 2014 Reese Witherspoon film of the same name. The audiobook is read by multi-award-winning narrator Bernadette Dunne.

Hiking My Feelings: Stepping into the Healing Power of Nature

Hiking My Feelings: Stepping into the Healing Power of Nature

If you enjoyed John Kaag's Hiking with Nietzsche, then Hiking My Feelings is a logical next listen. Struggling with type II diabetes and mental trauma, Sydney Williams turned to hiking for solace. The unique experience of being on the trail taught her a lot about the connection between nature, physical exercise, and emotional health. Narrating her own work, she passes that knowledge on to listeners in this inspiring audiobook about how hiking can heal both body and soul.

When You Find My Body

When You Find My Body

If you thinking hiking is free from dangers, listen carefully to D. Dauphinee's When You Find My Body. Geraldine Largay's 2013 disappearance on the Appalachian Trail prompted the largest missing person hunt in Maine's history. The hunt was unsuccessful, and Largey's body was found years later. Narrator Traci Odom reads this gripping audiobook, which is part mystery and part cautionary tale about the importance of being fully prepared when on the trail.

Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart

Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart

Hiking can be grueling, both physically and mentally—a hard fact that Carrot Quinn learned for herself when, despite her total lack of experience with long-distance treks, she set out to hike the entire Pacific Crest Trail, starting in Mexico and ending in Canada. Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart relates one woman's emotional and difficult yet gratifying experience on one of America's toughest hiking trails. This audiobook, read by experienced narrator Erin Spencer, is only available from Audible.

Mud, Rocks, Blazes

Mud, Rocks, Blazes

Completing the Pacific Crest Trail is an incredible accomplishment. But for Heather Anderson—whose previous book, Thirst, relates her trek on the PCT—it wasn't enough to quell the self-doubt. To prove her worth as a hiker once and for all, Anderson sets out to conquer the Appalachian Trail. This makes Mud, Rocks, Blazes one of the best audiobooks for hiking: it acknowledges the personal and physical hardships of hiking while encouraging listeners to keep going anyway.

Grandma Gatewood's Walk

Grandma Gatewood's Walk

The Appalachian Trail is popular with hikers, but it might not have survived into the present day without Emma Gatewood. An unassuming great-grandmother from Ohio, Gatewood hiked the Trail not once, not twice, but three times. Grandma Gatewood's Walk tells the story of Gatewood's hikes, as well as the positive effect those journeys had on the preservation of the Trail itself. Anyone curious about the history of hiking will appreciate Gatewood's story and the mark she left on the sport.

Home Is Forward

Home Is Forward

For ex-Marine Gary Sizer, the call of the outdoors has always been irresistible. His teenage love for sleeping outdoors eventually manifested as an urgent need to hike the world's most incredible landscapes. Sizer himself narrates Home Is Forward, a touching and wryly humorous autobiography about finding your passion and grabbing for it with both hands—or running after it on two feet.

Foraging

Foraging

Hiking consumes a lot of energy, so it is important to keep well nourished while on the trail. It is also important to avoid foodstuff that can make you sick—perhaps even threaten your life—while you are far from medical help. Mona Greeny's Foraging teaches listeners how to differentiate harmless plants from poisonous ones, enabling hikers to eat safely and for free while on the trail. Narrator Kevin Hung Liang has read numerous books on science and delivers the practical information in this audiobook in a clear, easy-to-digest way.


Eileen Gonzalez is a freelance writer from Connecticut. She has a Master's degree in communications and years of experience writing about pop culture. She contributes to Book Riot and Foreword Reviews, and she occasionally tweets at @eileen2thestars.

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