The Appalachian Trail is America’s most beloved trek, with millions of hikers setting foot on it every year. Yet few are aware of the fascinating backstory of the oddballs and obsessives who helped bring it to life over the past century.
The conception and building of the Appalachian Trail is a story of unforgettable characters who explored it, defined it, and captured national attention by hiking it. From Grandma Gatewood—a mother of twelve who thru-hiked in canvas sneakers and a drawstring duffle—to Bill Bryson, author of the best-selling A Walk in the Woods, the AT has seized the American imagination like no other hiking path. The 2,000-mile-long hike from Georgia to Maine is not just a trail through the woods, but a set of ideas about nature etched in the forest floor. This character-driven biography of the trail is a must-read not just for ambitious hikers, but for anyone who wonders about our relationship with the great outdoors and dreams of getting away from urban life for a pilgrimage in the wild.