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Celebrating America's Hiking Trails


This December we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of naming The Ultimate Appalachian Trail Store®. There is no better way to celebrate than by spotlighting four spectacular books about America's hiking trails. It doesn't hurt that the Appalachian Trail is prominent in three of the four books! 

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) is proud to have copublished The Appalachian Trail with Rizzoli International and acted as advisers on the other books. We are also proud partners in promoting and protecting trails and the hiking experience with some of the other nonprofit beneficiaries of these books. So take a journey on the trail of your choosing, or all of them, by cracking open a great book.

The Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail

The only illustrated book officially published with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, The Appalachian Trail explores this legendary footpath in detail: with a foreword by Bill Bryson and filled with more than 300 spectacular contemporary images, as well as unpublished historical photos, documents, and maps from the ATC archives. Once inspired by this wonderful celebration of the A.T., readers can plan their own hike using the removable and full-size copy of the official National Park Service’s map of the entire Appalachian Trail included inside each book.

In celebration of the Appalachian Trail’s seventy-fifth anniversary in 2012, this official book documents in text and photos the history, beauty, and significance of America’s most iconic hiking trail. With fascinating essays on topics ranging from the trail’s history to the day-by-day hiking experience, this book is perfect for anyone interested in conservation, outdoor recreation, or American history, and for all those who dream of one day becoming thru-hikers themselves. Completed in 1937 by a small cadre of volunteers, the Appalachian Trail spans fourteen states, from Maine to Georgia, and is more than 2,000 miles long. Now, eighty years after its completion, the A.T. remains America’s premier hiking trail and is known as "the people’s path." Visitors from all over the world are drawn to the trail for a variety of reasons, whether to reconnect with nature and see its beauty and wildlife, or to challenge oneself—for two miles or 2,000. Out of three million annual visitors, more than 2,000 attempt each year to earn the distinction of "thru-hiker" by walking all five million footsteps in one continuous journey.

About the Author

Brian King, a former news reporter, has been a senior staff member at the ATC since 1987, and his knowledge of A.T. history is encyclopedic.

Bill Bryson, whose sense of humor is wicked and legendary, is the best-selling author of A Walk in the Woods, which recounts his attempt to thru-hike the A.T. and is the basis of the 2015 movie starring Robert Redford. 

America's Great Hiking Trail

America's Great Hiking Trails

A hiker’s dream bucket list is embodied in this lavishly illustrated celebration of more than 18,000 miles of America’s most iconic trails. Published in association with the Partnership for the National Trails Systems, America's Great Hiking Trails documents the history, beauty, and significance of America's 11 national scenic trails—including hiking's crown jewels of the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide Trails.

Literally tens of millions of tourists and hikers visit these trails each year, some of which wind through the country’s most scenic natural wonders and virtually every major ecosystem in America. Each featured trail has its own section, complete with a map and photo gallery, and the reader explores what makes it one of the most magnificent hiking experiences anywhere in the world. Trail histories accompany detailed hiker-friendly descriptions that highlight the most scenic spots, with suggestions for shorter weekend and day hikes. The stunning photographs take the reader on a visual adventure conducted by Bart Smith, the first person to hike all eleven National Scenic Trails from end to end. America’s Great Hiking Trails is perfect for anyone interested in outdoor recreation and conservation.

About the Author

Karen Berger has hiked more than 17,000 miles all over the world, including thru-hikes of the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide trails. She is the author of eleven other books on hiking, a long-time member of the ATC, and an active A.T. community member.

Bart Smith’s photography has been published in Smithsonian and National Geographic, as well as in five illustrated books. He is the first person to hike all eleven National Scenic Trails and hiked with Earl Shaffer on the last parts of Earl’s third & final thru-hike at age 80 in 1998. He is also the photographer/author of The Appalachian Trail: Hiking the people's Path, copublished this year by Rizzoil and ATC.

Bill McKibben is an environmentalist and writer who frequently contributes to the New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, and Outside. He has been a strong advocate for A.T. land acquisition and protection.

The Pacific Crest Trail

The Pacific Crest Trail

Following the successful The Appalachian Trail, and New York Times bestseller America's Great Hiking Trails, this is the official book on one of America's most iconic hiking trails, and is published in conjunction with the Pacific Crest Trail Association. With a foreword by Cheryl Strayed, maps, rarely seen archival photos and historical ephemera, and stunning contemporary photography, this photo- and information-packed book is an inspirational bucket list for everyone who wants to get out on the trail—from day hiker to thru-hiker.

This book celebrates the history, beauty, and importance of the West Coast’s most iconic hiking trail. Designated as one of the first two national scenic trails in 1968, the Pacific Crest Trail is a continuous footpath of more than 2,650 miles—from the Mexican border to the Canadian border through California, Oregon, and Washington. Hikers from all over the world are drawn to this trail to experience true American wilderness and to challenge themselves—whether for two miles or two thousand. The Pacific Crest Trail explores this legendary footpath with more than 250 spectacular contemporary images, unpublished historical photos and documents from the PCTA archives, and even the official trail map folded into an inside pocket. This book is perfect for anyone interested in conservation, outdoor recreation, and for all those who dream of one day becoming thru-hikers themselves.

About the Author

Mark Larabee has been the managing editor for the Pacific Crest Trail Associationsince 2010. A Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, he spent twenty-five years as a newspaper reporter and editor. In 2005, he spent four months researching a 13-part series about the Pacific Crest Trail.

Barney Scout Mann is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in Backpacker, the Oregonian, and the PCT Communicator. He served as chair of the Pacific Crest Trail Association’s board of directors from 2012 to 2015. His first hike on the PCT was in 1965, and he thru-hiked the PCT in 2007.

Cheryl Strayed is the author of the No. 1 New York Times best-selling memoir Wild, which inspired countless women to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail.

Civil War battlefields

Civil War Battlefields

Walk in the footsteps of history with this stunning volume that brings more than thirty Civil War battlefields to life. From the “First Battle of Bull Run” to Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House four years later, this book celebrates the history and scenic beauty of these hallowed grounds in a large-format, beautifully produced volume. 

Explore more than thirty Civil War battlefields— from Antietam to Chancellorsville, Gettysburg to Shiloh—including the first five national battlefield parks preserved by veterans in the 1890s. Each battlefield features extensive photos of the key sites and monuments, as well as beautiful landscapes and historic archival photography. The essays enable the reader to understand each battlefield from a strategic perspective—its topography, geography, and military value—the battle’s seminal moments, and its historical significance, and guide the reader on how best to tour the grounds on foot.

With maps, rarely seen archival photos, and stunning contemporary photography, this photo- and information-packed book is an inspirational bucket list for Civil War and history buffs, as well as those who wish to walk in the literal boot steps of American history.

About the Author

David T. Gilbert is the designer of Hiking through History: Civil War Sites on the Appalachian Trail (where the battlefields connected to the Trail can be found easily), author of A Walker’s Guide to Harpers Ferry, a volunteer at the Harpers Ferry Natioanl Historic Park bookstore, and former staffer at NPS Interpretive Design Center. He served as editor of the inaugural issue of Hallowed Ground for the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites (APCWS)—now merged with the Civil War Trust. 

Jeff Shaara is the award-winning author of fourteen bestselling novels.

The Civil War Trust is the largest and most effective nonprofit organization devoted to the preservation of America’s hallowed battlegrounds.

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