336 pages, colour photos, colour maps
A hiker's dream bucket list is embodied in this lavishly illustrated celebration of more than 50 000 miles of America's most iconic trails. Celebrating the forty most important trails in America, America's Great Hiking Trails takes the reader through forty-nine states and eight national parks. 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.
"Big books and long walks – not an obvious match. But America's Great Hiking Trails might become a trekking essential. It covers the 11 routes in the National Scenic Trails system, from the iconic Appalachian to the lesser-known (and swampy) Florida Trail. With history, highlights, maps, and a wealth of photos of each byway, the book is a source of inspiration as well as a planning tool."
– The Wall Street Journal
"What makes a hiking trail 'great?' What makes it iconic? Author Karen Berger explores America's great hiking trails in this photo-rich coffee-table book. America's Great Hiking Trails should help readers plan the hike that works best for them. Individual chapters describe the essence of what makes each national scenic trail unique [...] the Appalachian Trail, which starts in Maine and ends in Georgia, is on many hikers' bucket lists even though it is rarely more than a two- or three-hour drive from major cities; it is hardly the most dramatic of the national trails, nor is it the toughest. And yet the allure endures. Why? Berger suggests that the Appalachian Trail is more than the sum of its parts. Its lasting appeal lies with its contradictions, between 'humans and wilderness, towns and trails, solitude and community. The book features excellent writing, with gorgeous photography by Bart Smith."
– Chicago Tribune
"Ever wonder what it's like to be one of those thru-hikers we've seen tackling the Appalachian Trail alone or sometimes even with a dog for companionship? In the foreword to this 325-page fact-filled invitation to eleven of America's great national scenic hiking trails, Vermont environmentalist Bill McKibben writes that this will guide you to 'Beautiful places [...] few people will come back from these long hikes unchanged. If there's a possibility you will never hike or visit any of these long-distance trails, you can still marvel at the outstanding beauty they portray as seen in the hundreds of natural scenery and wildlife photographs. Photographer Bart Smith invites you to imagine you are on the very walkways he has pictured for you to see – paths through forests and woods, along rocky cliffs, through fields of flowers, crossing waterways, using footbridges or ladders over barriers, and through desert crossings and mountain passes."
– Vermont Country Sampler
"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."
"America's Great Hiking Trails is a hardcover Mac Daddy of hiking books, loaded with 336 pages of drop dead gorgeous photographs and a glimpse into eleven of the country's most iconic hiking trails. Author Karen Berger is a well-seasoned hiker and she invites us to explore, discover and delight in trails that will take you through practically any terrain the country can offer. Photographer Bart Smith was the first person to hike all eleven of these scenic trails and he has the photographs that will make your jaw drop. Together they have created a gem that will inspire you to embark on a journey of discovery. After reading this book I dare you to tell me that at some point you didn't imagine yourself hiking at least a small section of one of these scenic trails."
– Snug Harbour Bay
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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.
Bart Smith’s photography has been published in Smithsonian and National Geographic, as well as in five illustrated books.
Bill McKibben is an environmentalist and writer who frequently contributes to the New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, and Outside.