8 Must-Read Wilderness Books if You Love Nature
We love getting outdoors and exploring the wild. It feeds our adventurous spirit, our love of nature, and our need to get away from the office. The problem is that we can’t always take time off to hike in the wild outdoors, and that’s when a good book is invaluable.
When we’re stuck indoors due to a blizzard, too much work at the office, or an epic lightning storm we reach into our stack of books and pull out our favorite wilderness novels. These novels take us into strange forests for adventures that fascinate, get our hearts pumping, and leaves us imagining a whole new world.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of wilderness books to explore, but we’ve compiled a few of our favorites to get you started. So, sit back, pour yourself a nice hot cup of coffee in your Arctica Tumbler and get ready to delve into fascinating new worlds.
The Last American Man, by Elizabeth Gilbert
If you’re looking for a tale of a true man of nature, this is the book for you. In this book, you read the biography of Eustace Conway, a modern-day Appalachian mountain man, who, at the age of seventeen, left his suburban life behind to move into the wilderness and be completely self-sufficient.
Throughout the story, you learn about how he hunted for his own food, lived in a teepee, and sewed his own buckskin clothes. The best part is that Conway still lives in the wilds of North Carolina and follows his mission to educate Americans about reconnecting with the land.
Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
Most well known for its movie adaptation portrayed by Reese Witherspoon, Wild is a journey through the 1100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail.
Written in an autobiographical format, Strayed shares her struggles and how her long-distance hike, though painful-at-times, was a life-changing experience. It’s a gripping true-life story that will have you challenging yourself to do something more with your life by the end.
Into the Forest, by Jean Hegland
This gripping thriller/rural horror novel takes you on a journey deep into a remote cabin in the woods.
It starts with the world collapsing and two sisters, Eva and Nell, being left alone in the middle of the wilderness and forced to survive on their own. The story pulls you in from page one and keeps you on the edge of your seat for the rest of the story as you live in the middle of nowhere with the sisters and struggle to make it one day at a time.
Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
This is one of those novels that everyone should read at least once.
It’s a compelling tale of a group of ordinary boys who become marooned on an island. Quickly, circumstances shift to life and death as the boys move away from ordinary and expected behavior and transform into primitive savages. It’s a tale of survival as well as one of myth, morality, and even the apocalypse.
The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
If you’re looking for a dark wilderness tale set in a post-apocalyptic world, then this one is for you.
The story starts in the hell of an unending nuclear winter. You follow along with a nameless man and his son as they attempt to survive in a world gone crazy where endless gray snow falls, and other humans are the greatest danger. It’s a story about the love between a father and his son and the tough choices they have to make.
Eating Dirt, by Charlotte Gill
Charlotte Gill spent twenty years planting trees on the west coast of Canada, and this autobiography follows her adventures.
Throughout the pages of the book, you get an inside look at what she went through including some crazy encounters with grizzly bears as well as some last-second rescues by helicopter. This book delves into not just forestry but the logging industry and deforestation.
The Revenant, by Michael Punke
Most recently made famous by Oscar Winner Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrayal, The Revenant follows the story of trappers in the Rocky Mountain Fur Company in 1823.
It delves into their brutal frontier life where they deal with wild animals, Native Americans, and an unforgiving environment. The main story follows Hugh Glass, who is abandoned on his own and must survive at all costs to get his revenge. You follow him on a 3,000-mile crawl and his survival against all odds.
The Swiss Family Robinson, by Johann Wyss
No list of wilderness books could be complete without this classic novel. In the story, a storm forces a ship aground with only the Swiss family—a pastor, his wife, and their two sons—left to survive on their own deserted tropical island. The story follows the family as they build a new life in an unknown land and triumph.
Do you have a favorite wilderness novel? Let us know in the comments.