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Into the Woods: Hiking & Wilderness Books

Updated: Feb 1

For as long as I can remember, hiking has been a cherished part of my life, an experience that has shaped my adulthood. It's not just a personal passion; it's a tradition I've shared with my family and close friends, bonding over weekend getaways in cozy cabins and day-long explorations of nature's wonders.

Silhouette of a Backpacker at the top of a mountain
Hiking and Wilderness Books

But what truly ignites my enthusiasm before these expeditions is the world of intense thrillers and suspense novels. Whether set deep in the heart of the woods or atop soaring mountain peaks, these tales of hiking, survival, and mystery have a special place in my heart. They're more than just books; they're the spark that ignites the fire of adventure within me.

Take a look at this list of hiking and wilderness books that I've curated. Have you read any?

Spooky cover for One Step Too Far

One Step Too Far by Lisa Gardner: This is technically book #2 in the Frankie Elkin series, but it can be read as a stand alone book.

Frankie is a woman in her 40's with an uncanny ability to listen to what's said, as well as what is 'not said', in order to successfully solve missing persons cases. In this fast paced suspense book, she went out hiking with 7 others to try to solve a 5 year long missing persons case.

The group consists of the missing person's dad and the friends that he had been out with when he went missing along with a cadaver dog/handler and a professional Big Foot hunter. They plan on backpacking deep into the forest and staying in tents. Frankie is horribly underprepared to hike and survive in the woods, but she is gifted a backpack and supplies when one of the original crew falls ill prior to heading out into the woods and she plows through, observing her surroundings the entire time.

The expedition turns into a nightmare as things begin to go wrong, including their food supplies being messed with. The last third of the book will have you turning pages as fast as you can as the activity happens in rapid fire!

Cover for the book The Good Girl

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica: Great psychological thriller without unnecessary gore.

Mia Dennett is the younger daughter of a well respected Chicago judge. She's chosen a different path than he had wanted for her going into education versus law as her older sister did.

After a night in a bar, Mia's life changes drastically. She is kidnapped and taken to a lone cabin far away and lives with her captor for many months. This is interesting to read the development of 'feelings' and it really helps to explain how Stockholm syndrome occurs, which is when a person develops positive feelings towards their captors over time.

The story alternates between present time and after, with perspectives told from the captor, Mia's mom, and the detective on the case.

I did not anticipate that ending!!!

Dark, scary cover for the book When You See Me

When You See Me by Lisa Gardner: Another great page turner by Lisa! Wow. I'm at a loss for what to write about the suspense novel without giving anything away. I definitely enjoyed the book - finished it in a day and a half because I kept picking it back up.

You've got a serial killer (Jacob Ness) that's been dead for a few years. Flora was his long time captive - the lone survivor - and she's heading back to the mountains where Ness had her hidden away for over a year. The FBI need her help on a case they believe links back to Ness.

I love the heightened sensory commentary in the book. The forest cries, the walls of the house moan, and The Girl sees and paints people's "colors".

View of a trail in forest - cover for Angels Fall

Angels Fall by Nora Roberts: This is an older romantic suspense novel by Nora about a murder witnessed by a hiker in a small town in Wyoming.

Reece is attempting to conquer her anxiety and emotions, having been the lone survivor in a Boston attack that left 12 others dead and her with some serious PTSD to overcome. She stops at a picturesque town in Wyoming and decides to settle in for a while, getting a job as a cook at the local diner right away.

She ventures out in the wilderness to hike the local mountain trail and clear her head. Partway into the hike she hears, and then sees, a couple fighting with the man overtaking the woman. Reece runs back down the trail and tells Brody, a local, and the authorities. After a full search, nothing of the scuffle (including the couple) is found and she's lost her credibility.

But Brody believes her. And she's determined to find the killer in town.

Foreboding image of a cliff - Cover of The Hike

The Hike by Lucy Clarke: Great new destination book by Lucy Clarke about 4 long-time girlfriends that go on annual holidays together. This year, instead of a beach trip or lazy relaxation vacation, Liz chooses a four day wilderness hiking/camping expedition.

Maggie and Helena are not as enthusiastic about it as Liz, but they agreed because it's all about spending time together. Rock star Joni has been on tour and not responded, so when she arrives unexpectedly to the lodge the first night, the group is thrilled to be all together.

They get many off vibes about the upcoming hike, including news of a missing woman from a year ago. Still, they pack up their gear and plow on.

Difficulties arise right from the start. Accidental separation from the group, weather, mysterious activity - all leading to a whirlwind second half of the book.

Black and White image of tree branches - cover for In a Dark, Dark Wood

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware: It's been about a decade since Leonora (now going by "Nora") left school and her friends after a tough break up. She's focused on her work as a crime writer while living in a small town.

She receives an invitation to Clare's hen party (the equivalent of a bachelorette weekend here in the US). It's been ages since she's spoke with Clare, and Nora really only knows Nina, so she's on the fence about going until Nina talks her into it.

The weekend is at Flo's family cabin - an isolated cabin with a glass wall on one side and surrounded by woods. Flo has a jam packed agenda of activities for the ladies to do over the weekend including lots of drinking. What isn't on the agenda is an intruder entering the cabin at night and the decorative shotgun on the wall actually being loaded with bullets.

Conclusion: Hiking and Wilderness Books

By infusing the wilderness, these captivating books have a unique ability to ensnare readers' curiosity, immersing them in an atmosphere of relentless suspense. As you delve into these gripping narratives, be prepared for an intense experience that heightens your senses and quickens your pulse, all within the heart of the untamed wilderness.

Happy Reading!

Covers of 6 Hiking Books
Hiking Books


Want more THRILLERS? Check out these posts!

Looking for more recommendations?

Please check out my other blogs - sortable by genre! Here are some recent blogs

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I didn't realize there was practically a genre of books on just hiking and outdoors. - Virginia



I finished The Good Girl last month and that one is stuck in my head - so good! I'm going to try Lisa Gardner's book next. ~Mackenzie



These all look so good! As an avid hiker it’s fun to see hiking and outdoor themed books highlighted. I love Ruth Ware’s books, so I‘ll have to check out In a Dark, Dark Wood. ~ Christine

Sheila Hirschauer
Sheila Hirschauer

Ruth Ware is definitely a go-to author for me! I think these books really help put me in the mood to hike :)

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