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Grab a Guidebook and Go!

Posted by Eli Boschetto at Jul 19, 2012 07:19 AM |

Review of new hiking guidebooks for Washington and beyond

I love guidebooks. As much hiking information is available at my fingertips on the Web—including gobs on WTA's own site—I still like to sit down at a table with a stack of guidebook and maps and plan my wilderness outings.

My own collection of guidebooks, covering much of the western U.S. and Canada, would rival any showcase at the local REI or outdoor retailer. Recently I've had the opportunity to add some classic, new and updated guidebooks to my collection—guidebooks that can also help you plan your next trail adventure.

Hikes Near SeattleFor Seattlites, Falcon Guide's Best Hikes Near Seattle, by Peter Stekel, is just what you need to get out on a quick trail outing without a long drive. This full-color guidebook features more than 40 hikes, from easy jaunts to serious leg burners, and includes both urban options and nearby wilderness areas—Skykomish, Issaquah Alps, Snoqualmie and more. Chock-full of trail info, I really like the big topo maps and inclusion of GPS data. Gorgeous photos encourage readers to get outdoors and see these areas for themselves. This guide should be a no-brainer for all Seattle-area hikers. Get Best Hikes Near Seattle.

Backpacking WashingtonNew last year, The Mountaineers Books' Backpacking Washington, by Craig Romano, is my go-to guidebook for overnight trips in Washington. Crammed full of 70 overnight trips across the state—from the Olympics to the Gorge, and the Cascades to the Kettles—this handy pocket guide highlights the biggest and best. Each hike includes trail beta, detailed directions to trailheads and vital info and tips for enjoying a riotous good time in some of Washington's deep and remote wilderness areas. The only problem with this book is not being able to hike them all fast enough! Get Backpacking Washington.

Hiking the Wonderland TrailComing next month, be on the lookout for Tami Asars' new Hiking the Wonderland Trail, by The Mountaineers Books. This is THE book for Wonderland hikers, whether planning a day trip, weekend or the full circuit. This beautiful guide is full of all the details every hiker needs to know about every inch of the famous 93-mile loop around Mount Rainier, including permits, camping, food caching and storage, weather, conditioning and suggestions for planning your own itinerary. I'll be using this guide to plan my own Wonderland circuit; I think that's scheduled for 2014. Preorder Hiking the Wonderland Trail.

50 Best Hikes: YosemiteYou've likely heard me mention my love of California's Sierras, and for those of you heading for higher, drier climes in the country's third-most popular national park, you'll want to take along Wilderness Press' new 50 Best Short Hikes: Yosemite National Park, by Elizabeth Wenk. This easy-to-read guidebook covers the entire park, dividing hikes into smart categories like classics, historical, family-friendly and, my favorite, walks on granite slabs. See the best that Yosemite's amazing scenery has to offer—and see it at the best times to avoid the masses and truly enjoy your experience. Get 50 Best Short Hikes: Yosemite National Park.

So if you're a guidebook junkie like me, and plan to get in some serious trail time this summer, add any one of these volumes to your own library, and start planning your own wilderness experience.

See you on the trails!