Out of the buckets of books available for your Appalachian Trail planning, I’ve found some of the best..
#1 AT Guidebook by David Awol Miller.
I bought the Southbound book because initially I thought that’s the way I was headed on an attempted thru-hike, but, even after the change of plans (and thus, direction…) this guide is so helpful! I would even say imperative. The details are phenomenal and Mr. Miller and whoever’s been helping him are true Trail Angels.
#2 How to Hike the A.T. by Michelle Ray
I bought this book a few years ago when I first got the bug of the idea to hike the AT. It’s a great introduction and general overview of all aspects of planning the AT. While definitely not a comprehensive/detailed guide to planning a thru-hike, I don’t think it was meant to be. It is, however, a great place to start. The way she’s organized the chapters is logical and thorough, with helpful lists and interesting asides. Definitely worth reading.
#3 Appalachian Trials by Zach Davis
A funny psychological/emotional guide to a thru hike. The biggest thing I took from the book was that I need to remember that there are going to be stretches where I’ll hike days in the rain, be sore in places I didn’t know could be, and hate things like mice so much that I’ll want to quit. Davis suggests writing out your “why” so you can remember and reflect on when things get tough. A good book with lessons for anyone planning a challenging trip with lessons on navigating the emotional territory outside of your comfort zone.
#4 Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods
Even though Bryson skipped a lot of the AT, his thru-hike is an absolute inspiration. A Walk in the Woods is a hilarious read and includes a lot of good information on towns, the Trail itself, what to expect weather-wise, wildlife along the Trail, colorful characters, and history on the AT and trail towns.
#5 Outdoor Survival Skills by Larry Dean Olsen, Backpacker Magazine, Random internet information..
The first book has a foreward written by Robert Redford… enough said. Backpacker is just awesome.. And the interwebs are full of useful trail literature. Thank God for the Google!
#6 A special thanks to John Muir and Thoreau for being awesome and providing additional trail inspiration!
What a guy!