A book like 100 Hikes of a Lifetime may seem like a silly purchase right now given all that’s going in the world, but that thinking couldn’t be more wrong. As the title suggests, this National Geographic coffee table book features 100 of the best hiking trails in the world and some of them may even be within a safe driving distance for readers. With so many people looking for a safe getaway, an outdoor hiking and camping trip may be just the ticket.
The book opens with a forward by professional backpacker Andrew Skurka before getting into a few basics. Author Kate Siber includes an introduction that teaches readers how to use this book as well as an “Essential Gear Guide” for those who may be about to embrace their first hiking trip. The book is then split into six parts based on region of the world and each hike lists the difficulty level, distance, length of trip, and best time to go.
There are eleven hikes in the United States from the North America section, which includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Washington and Wyoming. And then there’s the mother of them all, the Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. That total trip has a “Strenuous” difficulty level and would take between five and seven months, but the book also suggests an “Alternate route” for every single hike, which in this case recommends breaking it up into smaller hikes. It also stated that most hikers use a small section for routine day-hike purposes throughout all fourteen states that it connects through. The best time to hike the trail is early spring to fall, so there’s still plenty of time.
International readers will find hikes in their neck of the woods, but the other sections also give future travelers a license to dream, potentially inspiring your next great adventure. It’s good to read through each hike to see what hikers can expect to see and even what kind of requirements may be in place. Some of the international hiking destinations limit capacity and issue approved hiking times years in advance, requiring a lot of advanced planning. Some even charge a hefty fee to do so.
Being a coffee table book, 100 Hikes of a Lifetime is also full of incredible, jaw-dropping photos, typically at least two per location, with one taking up an entire page. It shows off the natural beauty of the areas, unique architecture, and exotic animals. It even introduced me to my new favorite bird, the rainbow colored Western Rosella from Australia. The world may feel closed to travel at the moment, but this book can also inspire readers to seek additional content online, with YouTube full of videos from hikers who have already traveled these same routes.
It feels worth mentioning that I’m not a hiker myself. I enjoy short walks with my dogs or long walks around World Showcase at EPCOT, but I’m not the type of person who would throw myself into the wilderness for days on end. All that being said, I still really enjoyed reading 100 Hikes of a Lifetime and it gave me quite a few places in the world that I would like to see in person someday, even if it will be with a lot less steps on my Fitbit.
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.