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Falcon Guides Backpacker The National Parks Coast to Coast: 100 Best Hikes

photo: Falcon Guides Backpacker The National Parks Coast to Coast: 100 Best Hikes camping/hiking/backpacking book

A great resource for 100 of the most iconic hikes in our National Parks. Excellent skills sections. Beta on each hike from finding the trailhead to GPS coordinates.


  • Excellent maps and trail Beta
  • Skills section
  • Easy read
  • Available as a digital download


  • Too large to carry on the trail

With the celebration of the 100th anniversary of our National Parks this year, it is timely to see the publication of the hiking guide The National Parks Coast to Coast, 100 Best Hikes. I was quite intrigued to see what hikes would be considered 100 of the best hikes of our National Parks.

This nicely organized book starts with a two-page map of the United States with icons showing all our National Parks. Forty-four National Parks in twenty states provide the backdrop for the Backpacker 100 best hikes. From Acadia National Park in Maine to Everglades National Park at the tip of Florida and on to Gates of the Arctic in Alaska, the book features iconic parks with hikes to please even the most discriminating hiker. There are even several hikes in the 50th state of the union, Hawaii. Parks are listed in alphabetical order, starting with the most northeast of our parks, Acadia National Park.

Each park features a beautiful two-page photograph to tantalize the reader. After a short introduction to each park, the hike is described offering suggestions for high points and side trips along the way. Short day hikes, such as a 2.5-mile tour of Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico and a 49-mile multi-day backpack into the wilds of Canyonlands in Utah, are offered.

All the pertinent data needed to successfully hike the trail are then introduced. Distance, park contacts, difficulty, the time required, and GPS coordinates to the trailhead are provided. A nice feature is a paragraph with directions for navigating to the trailhead from the closest town. A 4-inch by 5-inch topo map showing the trail with points of interest is provided, along with the GPS coordinates associated with those points.

All in all, everything one would need to get excited about each hike and the data needed to successfully complete that hike is provided. By the time the reader gets to the last hike featured, Zion Traverse in Zion National Park, they should be ready to start a bucket list of hikes.

Sprinkled throughout the book are a series of “Ranger Profiles” that offer an inside look into the lives and interests of our National Park Rangers. Not content to just offer up the 100 best hikes, the author has included a plethora of hiking, camping, and backpacking tips. Information as diverse as staying hydrated, preparing for cold-weather camping, and staying safe in bear country are sprinkled throughout the book.

Author Ted Alvarez is the Northwest editor for Backpacker magazine. His article in Backpacker, “The Truth about Bears,” was a finalist for a National Magazine Award in 2014. An avid outdoorsman, his writings have appeared in a variety of magazines from Men’s Heath to Scientific American’s 60-Second Science. He is currently the executive editor of the environmental news site

National Parks Coast to Coast, 100 Best Hikes, offers the reader a comprehensive guide to 100 great hikes in some of the best National Parks that America has to offer. Beyond all the hike data, the hiking tips and personal profiles add up to a great read.

I think this book would make a good addition to any home library and would be a much appreciated by any hiker. While one wouldn't take a paper copy of the book on the trail, you could download the Kindle version to a computer. It is then easy to either print out the hike information or download it to a smaller digital device.



  • The National Parks Coast to Coast, 100 Best Hikes
  • Author: Ted Alvarez
  • Publisher: Falcon Guides in partnership with Backpacker Magazine
  • Pages: 385
  • Size: 9.5 x 8 inches

Source: tested or reviewed it for the manufacturer (I kept the product after testing.)

Disclosure: The author of this review received a sample of the product from the brand or its representative in exchange for a review.

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Price MSRP: $26.00
Current Retail: $26.00
Historic Range: $26.00
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