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20 Nonfiction Adventure Travel Books Blog Feature

By: Deb Malmon on March 20th, 2019

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20 Nonfiction Adventure Travel Books

Adventurous Activities | 20 Year Anniversary

Having something to read while you travel is almost as important as having your suitcase! For every AGC trip, we recommend a few books to read that pertain to that trip, activity, or general area. But what about just regular great books for you to read when you're not traveling but have a hankering for adventure? 

For our 20th Anniversary our guides have compiled a list of 20 nonfiction adventure travel books that have brought us joy. Not all are by or about women, but they are all interesting, enjoyable, and give you the thrill of adventure even from the comfort of your couch. Check them out from your local library or purchase them for your e-reader or book collection.

  • A Walk in the Woods by Bill BrysonA Walk in the Woods
    • A humorous narrative of backpacking the Appalachian Trail in your 60s.
  • Grandma Gatewood's Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail by Ben Montgomery
    • In 1955, this 67-year-old great-grandmother thru-hiked the AT. The public attention she brought to the trail was unprecedented.
  • A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean by Tori Murden McClure
    • A story of the first woman and first American to row across the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life by Arlene Blum Image result for breaking trail a climbing life
    • Blum lead the first all-woman team to successfully ascend Mt. McKinley and Annapurna and was the first American woman to attempt Mt. Everest. This book recounts Blum’s journey from an overprotected childhood in Chicago to the tops of some of the highest peaks on earth.
  • No Barriers: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon by Erik Weihenmayer
  • Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations Gertrude Bell: Queen Of The Desert, Shaper Of Nationsby GeorginaHowell 
    • The story of Gertrude Bell and her crucial role in the foundation of the state of Iraq.
  • We Die Alone: A WWII Epic of Escape and Endurance by David Howarth
    • Jan Baalsrud was the only survivor of a Norwegian commando team ambushed by the Nazis during World War II. This book recounts his incredible escape and survival.
  • My Lead Dog Was A Lesbian: Mushing Across Alaska in the Iditarod--the World's Most Grueling Race by Brian Patrick O’Donoghue
  • Where You’ll Find me: Risks, Decisions and the Last Climb of Kate Matrosova by Ty Gagne and T.B.R. Walsh
    • The story of an avid mountaineer and her last climb in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and an informative case study in risk analysis and decision making.
  • True Spirit by Jessica Watson
    • The true story of 16 year old Australian who sailed solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world.
Cover artThe Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration Into the Wonders of  Consciousness by Sy Montgomery
  • This book explores the emotional and physical world of the octopus and the remarkable connections it makes with humans.
  • Regions of the Heart: The Triumph and Tragedy of Alison Hargreaves by David Rose
    • Recounts the life of the first woman who climbed Mt. Everest alone and without oxygen and her death on K2 a mere five months later.
  • No Horizon Is So Far: Two Women and Their Historic Journey across Antarctica by Ann Bancroft and Liv Arneson
  • West With the Night by Beryl Markham
    • The story about this aviator, racehorse trainer, and her life in Kenya in the 1920s. 
  • Women With Altitude: Challenging the Adirondack High Peaks in Winter by Carole White.
    • Over 200 adventures written by 29 women who in solar winter reached the summits of all 46 Adirondack High Peaks over 4,000 feet.
  • Root Beer Lady: The Story of Dorothy Molter by Bob Cary
    • The life and spirit of the Boundary Waters' last permanent resident, who greeted thousands of paddlers with an ice cold glass of root beer.
  • Where the Pavement Ends: One Woman's Bicycle Trip through Mongolia, China, & Vietnam by Erica Warmbrunn
  • What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World by Jon Young
  • The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search forImage result for The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner.
    • Part travel memoir, part humor, this book by the award-winning foreign correspondent for NPR and a former reporter for the New York Time takes the reader across the globe to find not what, but where happiness is.


  • On the Trail of Genghis Khan: An Epic Journey Through the Land of the Nomads by Tim Cope
    • Inspired by the extraordinary life nomads lead, horse-riding novice Cope traveled on horseback across the entire length of the Eurasian steppe.