Recommended Hiking Guidebooks
People often ask for recommendations on other excellent hiking guidebooks to the New England region. There are literally hundreds of new and used books available out there. The list below represents the best books currently on the market. These guidebooks are true gems and should be on the bookshelves of all serious hikers.
THE GUIDEBOOK LIST:
April 2011 (29th edition)
Every single serious hiker in the White Mountains owns at least one edition of this book. Some collectors even own all editions. The first edition of this book is worth about $1,000 if it is still in excellent condition. This guidebook offers detailed information on every single hiking trail in the White Mountain National Forest. That's all 1500-plus miles of trails covered in one book. It also comes with some of the most detailed, accurate, and useful hiking maps you've ever seen. A new edition comes out every 5-6 years (the 30th edition is expected in 2017 or 2018). .
May 2010 (5th edition)
This book has so many hikes in so many different parts of New England that it is often literally kept in the glove box of many hikers' vehicles at all times. Every hike is rated for difficulty and scenic value, which has been found to be very accurate. The book doesn't have hiking maps, so do be aware of that. It does have enough driving directions and hiking instructions to do most of the trips in the book without a map though. You will want to complement this book with a map for some of the hikes though (particularly in the White Mountains, Acadia National Park and Baxter State Park).
April 2008 (1st edition)
This underappreciated book does one thing that no other hiking guidebook has done before: reveal the best backcountry shelters and campsites. With excellent maps and detailed hiking instructions, this book will guide you on some absolutely fantastic backpacking trips.
June 2008 (2nd edition)
Hike enough in the White Mountains and you'll eventually climb some "4000-footers". Hike enough "4000-footers" and you'll eventually find and buy this book. The detail in this book was blow your mind. You'll find descriptions of every single trail that climbs each of the forty-eight 4,000-footers. It will also tell you highly interesting historical information. Descriptions of just how great (or poor) each view will be along the trail only make this book more of a prize. If this book doesn't get you excited about "peak-bagging", nothing will!
April 2011 (2nd edition)
Most people (including Bostonians) have no idea how many great hikes are within an hour of the city. The best (Middlesex Fells, Lynn Woods and the Blue Hills) are some of the best urban places to hike. Everything about this book is great, including the handy table in the front that helps you select a hike based on length and difficulty. Excellent pictures and maps too.
April 2010 (2nd edition)
This book is in the same format the more famous AMC White Mountain Guide. It's even written by the same famous author (Steve Smith) The good news is that this book is just as good as the AMC White Mountain Guide. Use this book to hike crowd-favorites such as Mt. Cardigan, Mt. Monadnock (try one of the alternative trails instead of taking the White Dot/White Cross Trails) and Mt. Major. Includes pull-out maps for the more popular hiking areas.
April 2012 (10th edition)
This book just keeps getting better and better and is the only book you will need when hiking in Baxter State Park and Acadia National Park. It includes excellent pull-out maps.
Delorme has an "Atlas & Gazetteer" for each of the New England states, although Connecticut & Rhode Island are combined into one book. These atlases don't get updated often enough, but they are the undisputed leader of helping New Englanders find offbeat adventures. Forgot about using GPS to find new places, this book will bring you to thousands of hot-spots that GPS's don't even have in their databases.
2011 (6th Edition)
This is probably the beste book for finding day hikes in Vermont. The latest edition can be tough to find; your best bet for finding this excellent book is on the Green Mountain Club's website.
June 2002 (1st Edition)
Yes, this book is very flawed. It's missing some great swimming holes and it has absolutely horrible maps. It also has occasional errors within its trail information and driving directions. However, this book has led adventures to some truly amazing and relatively unknown places. For that reason, many still love it. Swimming holes can make any adult feel like a kid again, and I highly recommend this book, even despite its shortcomings.
2011 (27th Edition)
The essential guide to hiking the month-long 270-plus mile Long Trail in Vermont. This trail will take you a month. Hike the trail in September for the best weather, lack of bugs, and relatively crowd-free shelters and campsites.
October 2010 (1st Edition)
OK, so maybe this isn't hiking per-se, but this is the best book covering backcountry skiing in New England. You'll have to hike in to ski each one of these free and fantastic locations.
March 2009 (9th Edition)
The best guide to Massachusetts for the areas it does cover. Unfortunately, it doesn't cover all areas of the state. It's still essential reading material though. Includes several pull-out maps.
2005 (2nd Edition)
If I had to make my own list of the top 100 hikes in the Northeast, I would probably end up having 95 of the same hikes that this author came up with. This is the book that first got me into hiking in New England. Each chapter typically chooses the most scenic route up each of the classic mountains. There's tons of great pictures in there as well. The 2nd edition can be tough to find, but if you see this book, definitely pick yourself up a copy.
April 2011 (2nd Edition)
This book features 60 excellent hikes that lean more towards some of the best of the easier day hikes in the White Mountains. However, not all hikes in this book are easy - there are some tough ones in there too. Very easy to use to use with basic maps and excellent directions. This is a great introduction to hiking in the White Mountains, but once you hike enough you will likely graduate to using the full "AMC White Mountain Guide" (see above).
March 2009 (1st Edition)
Written in the same format as the other "AMC's Best Day Hikes" series books, this book is the current leader in helping you find hikes in the western part of Massachusetts. You'll find a lot of excellent places you've likely never heard of. It's truly impressive how many conservation areas there are out there for all of us to enjoy.
October 2007 (1st Edition)
This is the finest book for finding hikes in the under-rated state of Connecticut.
June 2010 (1st Edition)
The Falcon series of hiking guides are consistently awesome. I own about forty of these things, and have used them extensively all over the country. They are typically very reliable. This particular version is no different - it has most of what I would consider to be the creme-de-la-creme of White Mountains hikes.
May 2009 (1st Edition)
This is another Falcon guide that is both reliable and extensive. Most of the best hiking in the state is along the Green Mountains corridor, and this book will help you find most of the true winners.
April 2011 (1st Edition)
Full-color guide featuring 100 excellent hikes in New England. Since this book is in full-color, a lot of people will absolutely adore it. Most of the best hikes are in here, but do keep in mind that New England has hundreds more highly worthwhile hikes.
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