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20 Adventurous Books Like “Into The Wild” For Nature Lovers

Embark on Journeys Through The Wilderness With These Books Similar to "Into The Wild"
by The Blinkist Team | Apr 23 2024

20 Must-Read Adventures: Books Like 'Into The Wild

“Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer is a riveting true story of Christopher McCandless, a young man who gave up everything to venture into the Alaskan wilderness. With its profound reflections on solitude, the beauty of nature, and the urge to explore the unknown, it’s no wonder readers are often on the lookout for books that embody similar themes of adventure, self-discovery, and the great outdoors.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a lover of adventure tales, or someone who cherishes stories of personal transformation against the backdrop of the wilderness, this list promises to guide you to your next compelling read. Let’s wander through the wilds with these 20 books that resonate with the spirit of “Into the Wild.”

Top 20 best books to read if you liked “Into The Wild” by Jon Krakauer


1. “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed

After a personal tragedy, Cheryl makes a rash decision to hike over a thousand miles on the Pacific Crest Trail, all by herself.

Elements in common with “Into the Wild”:

  • A profound personal journey spurred by loss.
  • The healing power of nature.
  • The challenges and self-discovery of solo travel.


2. “The Call of the Wild” by Jack London

This classic novel follows the story of Buck, a domestic dog thrust into the Yukon wilderness during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush, who reverts to instinctual wilderness survival.

Elements in common with “Into the Wild”:

  • The raw beauty and brutality of the wilderness.
  • Themes of survival and transformation.
  • The call of the wild as a path to true self.


3. “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson

With humor and insight, Bryson recounts his attempt to walk the Appalachian Trail with his woefully unfit friend, Stephen Katz.

Elements in common with “Into the Wild”:

  • A journey through significant wilderness trails.
  • Themes of friendship, challenge, and self-discovery.
  • Reflections on the beauty of the American landscape and the oddities of its traversers.


4. “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer

Krakauer narrates his harrowing experience during the 1996 Mount Everest disaster while pondering the risks and obsession with climbing the world’s highest peak.

Elements in common with “Into the Wild”:

  • A gripping true story of adventure and survival.
  • The author’s personal involvement and reflections on risk.
  • The mesmerizing and perilous nature of one of Earth’s most extreme environments.


5. “Desert Solitaire” by Edward Abbey

A meditation on life in the wilderness, Abbey recounts his time as a park ranger in Utah’s Arches National Park, offering poignant musings on nature and man’s place in it.

Elements in common with “Into the Wild”:

  • Deep reflections on solitude and the natural world.
  • The beauty and danger of the American West.
  • A critique of modern life and a call to appreciate and preserve the wild.


6. “The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey” by Candice Millard

This non-fiction work chronicles the perilous journey of Theodore Roosevelt and his companions down an uncharted tributary of the Amazon River.

Elements in common with “Into the Wild”:

  • An adventurous exploration into the unknown.
  • The testing of physical and mental limits in the wild.
  • Elements of historical significance and the human relationship with nature.


7. “Tracks” by Robyn Davidson

Davidson’s memoir tells of her solo journey across 1,700 miles of Australian desert to the sea, with only four camels and a dog for company.

Elements in common with “Into the Wild”:

  • The challenge and fulfillment of a solo journey.
  • Overcoming obstacles and finding strength in isolation.
  • The profound connection between humans and the natural world.


8. “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert

Gilbert shares her journey around the world after a difficult divorce, seeking self-discovery and spiritual fulfillment.

Elements in common with “Into the Wild”:

  • A quest for meaning and purpose through travel.
  • Personal transformation and the exploration of different cultures.
  • Themes of solitude and self-reflection.


9. “The Dharma Bums” by Jack Kerouac

This novel follows Ray Smith and his adventures in the American West as he seeks spiritual enlightenment and simplicity, embracing the beauty of nature.

Elements in common with “Into the Wild”:

  • The beat generation’s infatuation with the wild and rejection of conventional society.
  • Philosophical musings on life, freedom, and nature.
  • The bonding of like-minded souls over the allure of the wilderness.


10. “The Sun Also Rises” by Ernest Hemingway

In Hemingway’s classic, a group of expatriates travel from Paris to the Festival of San Fermín in Pamplona, navigating the complexities of the “lost generation’s” disillusionment post-WWI.

Elements in common with “Into the Wild”:

  • An exploration of freedom and the human spirit.
  • Rich descriptions of natural and exotic settings.
  • Themes of love, longing, and the search for meaning.


11. “Everest: The West Ridge” by Thomas Hornbein

The awe-inspiring account of the first American ascent of Mount Everest via its most dangerous route, illustrating the intrepid spirit of human adventure.

Elements in common with “Into the Wild”:

  • Confronting the ultimate wilderness challenge.
  • The camaraderie and conflict of adventurers facing near-impossible odds.
  • The transformative power of pursuing one’s ultimate dream.


12. “The Snow Leopard” by Peter Matthiessen

Matthiessen’s spiritual journey through the Himalayas, seeking the elusive snow leopard, offers insights into nature, Buddhism, and the quest for meaning.

Elements in common with “Into the Wild”:

  • A quest that is as much spiritual as it is physical.
  • Reflective and lyrical prose about nature and existence.
  • The acceptance of the unfathomable mysteries of life.


13. “Walking the Amazon” by Ed Stafford

Ed Stafford narrates his extraordinary journey walking the entire length of the Amazon River, facing unimaginable challenges and showcasing the human spirit’s resilience.

Elements in common with “Into the Wild”:

  • An epic tale of survival and determination.
  • Deep immersion into wild, untamed nature.
  • Reflections on environmental conservation and human endurance.


14. “The Wild Truth” by Carine McCandless

Offering a deeper look into the family dynamics and personal history that led Chris McCandless to seek solitude in the wild, written by his sister Carine.

Elements in common with “Into the Wild”:

  • Insight into the McCandless family and Chris’s motivations.
  • Themes of escape and the search for personal identity.
  • The impact of familial relationships on our life choices.


15. “Wilderness Essays” by John Muir

A collection of essays by one of America’s earliest advocates for the preservation of wilderness, exploring various U.S. national parks and wild spaces.

Elements in common with “Into the Wild”:

  • Passionate reflections on the beauty and importance of the natural world.
  • Advocacy for the preservation and enjoyment of wilderness.
  • Insightful observations from extensive personal explorations.


16. “Blue Highways” by William Least Heat-Moon

After separating from his wife and losing his job, Heat-Moon travels the U.S. on its back roads, or “blue highways,” meeting a variety of people and discovering America’s diverse cultures and landscapes.

Elements in common with “Into the Wild”:

  • A journey of self-discovery and healing driven by loss.
  • The exploration of America’s less traveled roads and small towns.
  • Profound observations on society, solitude, and the human condition.


17. “127 Hours: Between a Rock and a Hard Place” by Aron Ralston

The true story of Ralston’s harrowing experience trapped by a boulder in Utah, leading to a life-changing decision.

Elements in common with “Into the Wild”:

  • A survival story based on true events.
  • The physical and psychological challenges of being alone in the wilderness.
  • Themes of human vulnerability and the will to live.


18. “The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon” by David Grann

Grann recounts the story of British explorer Percy Fawcett, who disappeared while searching for an ancient lost city in the Amazon in 1925.

Elements in common with “Into the Wild”:

  • Exploration into the unknown territories of the Amazon.
  • The obsessions that drive humans to explore the extremes.
  • The mystery and allure of undiscovered places.


19. “Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage” by Alfred Lansing

The gripping account of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 Antarctic expedition, where his ship, Endurance, was trapped and eventually crushed by ice, leading to an incredible tale of survival.

Elements in common with “Into the Wild”:

  • A true story of endurance against the harshest elements.
  • Leadership, perseverance, and the human spirit’s capacity to overcome adversity.
  • The awe-inspiring beauty and danger of the polar wilderness.


20. “River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze” by Peter Hessler

Hessler shares his experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer in rural China, offering insights into the country’s culture, landscape, and the impact of change on its people and natural environment.

Elements in common with “Into the Wild”:

  • Living in a remote location, separated from familiar comforts.
  • The exploration of a landscape and its integration with human lives.
  • Reflections on solitude, cultural immersion, and personal growth.

As you weave through these narratives, you will come across harrowing survival stories and introspective journeys across landscapes, both physical and emotional. You will find yourself walking on paths parallel to “Into the Wild,” guided by the same spirit of adventure and quest for understanding.

These books, like McCandless’s journey, remind us of the profound effects that wilderness can have on the human soul. They reveal that often, the wildest adventures lead to the deepest insights into ourselves. So, pack your imaginary bags, for these stories invite you on a journey not just across the earth but into the depths of the human spirit. Happy adventuring!


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