America’s Great Hiking Trails

When this whopper of a coffee table book showed up at our doorstep, I was amazed at its heft. We own a lot of hiking books, including many others written by Karen Berger or photographed by Bart Smith. But America’s Great Hiking Trails is different. It’s not a “go here, do this” type of book. Instead, it dares you to dream.

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The saga of the National Trails System unfolds over its 336 pages, beginning with the genesis of the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, the oldest and most well-known of America’s long distance trails. You’ll discover how each of the 11 trails came to be, what they mean to hikers and volunteers, and where they can lead you. Each chapter is capped off with a round-up of the best destinations along the trail; we provided the top picks for the Florida Trail, which Bart Smith photographed as we worked on the (now out of print) book Along the Florida Trail.

More than two decades ago, Karen was my inspiration of a woman who carved a career out of hiking and writing about it. She opened the first doors for me to do so myself with the 50 Hikes series, and we’ve been friends ever since, working on projects together to this day. When Bart Smith sought me out to ask about being partners on a book about the Florida Trail, it was an honor. Since then, Bart has accomplished his goal of hiking and photographing all of the National Scenic Trails – the initial eight, then three more added under President Obama’s watch – and became the first person ever to do so.

I can think of no two people better suited to bring the sweeping story of our National Scenic Trails to the public: not just for hikers, but for anyone who daydreams of a cabin in the woods and a quiet walk under the pines.

Learn more about Karen Berger’s writing
Learn more about Bart Smith’s photography