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Menasha Ridge Press :: Authors :: Johnny Molloy
Johnny Molloy

Johnny Molloy

In spite of a disastrous first camping trip to Smoky Mountain National Park, Johnny Molloy developed a life-long passion for the outdoors, which he continues today. He has published numerous books including hiking guides to Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee as well as tent camping guides to Florida, Colorado, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and the Smokies. He is a resident of Nashville, Tennessee.

Recent Trekalong Posts By Johnny Molloy

  • Enjoying the Outdoors – Tip #1

    Try New Places Open Your Mind If you hike the mountains, try the beach. If you live in the West, try the East. One area makes you realize the beauty of another, or it confirms how beautiful your place is. I used to think the Souther...

  • Drinking Water in the Backcountry has its Options

    I drink untreated water. No, I m not talking about down Mexico way (I did that and got sick). I m talking about drinking water in the backcountry in the United States. I ve drank from swamps down in Florida and wilderness rivers i...

  • Enjoying the Outdoors – Tip #2

    Roll with the Punches the Outside Ain t the Inside If you get rained on realize that s what makes the creeks flow, the rivers go and fills the waterfalls with water. You might get lost. Keep a cool head and backtrack to your las...

  • Enjoying the Outdoors – Tip #3

    Combine Activities Hike and picnic; Hike and camp; Paddle and camp; Hike and paddle; Fish and paddle, etc. Bring along a guidebook to combine nature study with your adventure. Do all the above at once. When you kill two birds with one s...

  • Enjoying the Outdoors – Tip #4

    Support and Report to All Agencies When you go to a public parcel of land whether it be a national forest, national park, state park, greenbelt or city park report your findings to the appropriate governing body. It puts the place y...

  • Enjoying the Outdoors – Tip #5

    Turn on a Friend It s fun to share your favorite activities with others. You make memories together. Whether you are fishing, hunting, hiking, paddling or camping — gear the event to them. There might be a great view from the to...


Johnny Molloy
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Best Tent Camping: Tennessee, 2nd edition
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Best Tent Camping: Tennessee, 2nd edition
Johnny Molloy


Your Car-Camping Guide to Scenic Beauty, the Sounds of Nature, and an Escape from Civilization

In West Tennessee, you can explore the surprisingly hilly terrain of Big Hill Pond, on the Mississippi border, or the bluffs and riverine forests of Meeman-Shelby State Park. Middle Tennessee is the land of unique cedar glades where unusual plants and animals still thrive and where the water falls from the western Cumberland Plateau. This is also lake country, where reservoirs built to prevent disastrous flooding now are recreation destinations, such as Center Hill and Percy Priest Lake. East Tennessee has the highest of the high, including the crest of the Appalachians, where elevations in the Smoky Mountains exceed 6,000 feet. The campgrounds in the Cumberland Mountains offer rock bluffs overlooking gorges cut by water and time, and unique arches and caves. Within this book there are enough destinations to keep a tent camper busy for years, exploring the scenic natural beauty found within the Volunteer State.

Well-traveled outdoor writer and native Tennessean Johnny Molloy methodically set forth into his home state, searching for campgrounds to include in this new edition. Having camped the state for decades, Molloy, with over 50 outdoor guides to his credit, used his wealth of experience and scoured the entirety of Tennessee -- choosing only the most pristine campgrounds that included not only a great locale for tent campers but with fun outdoors activities nearby, most as close as your tent door.

Included in this book is a rating system for the Southern Appalachian’s 50 best tent campgrounds. Certain campground attributes -- beauty, site privacy, site spaciousness, quiet, security, and cleanliness/upkeep -- are ranked using a star system.


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Best Tent Camping: The Carolinas, 4ed
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Best Tent Camping: The Carolinas, 4ed
Johnny Molloy


Perfect Camping for You in North Carolina and South Carolina!

The Carolinas provide spectacular backdrops for some of the most scenic campgrounds in the country. But do you know which campgrounds offer the most privacy? Which are the best for first-time campers? Johnny Molloy has traversed the entire region—from the alluring Blue Ridge Mountains to the saltwater-washed sands of the Atlantic coast—and compiled the most up-to-date research to steer you to the perfect spot! The full-color, updated, user-friendly format lets you easily find 50 of the best campgrounds to fit your travel plans and meet your personal interests, with author selections based on location, topography, size, and overall appeal.

Detailed maps of each campground and key information such as fees, restrictions, dates of operation, and facilities help to narrow down your choices, and ratings for beauty, privacy, spaciousness, safety and security, and cleanliness ensure that you find your perfect car-camping adventure. So whether you seek a quiet campground near a fish-filled stream or a family campground with all the amenities, Best Tent Camping: The Carolinas is a keeper.


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Best Tent Camping: West Virginia, 3rd edition
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Best Tent Camping: West Virginia, 3rd edition
Johnny Molloy


From the Allegheny Highlands to the Feudin' Country of the Hatfields and McCoys, camping in West Virginia has never been better. Best Tent Camping: West Virginia, now in its third edition, is a guidebook for tent campers who like quiet, scenic, and serene campsites. It's the perfect resource if you blanch at the thought of pitching a tent on a concrete slab, trying to sleep through the blare of another camper's boombox, or waking up to find your tent surrounded by a convoy of RVs.

In Best Tent Camping: West Virginia, outdoor adventurer Johnny Molloy guides readers to the quietest, most beautiful, most secure, and best managed campgrounds in the Mountain State. Painstakingly selected from hundreds of campgrounds, each campsite is rated for beauty, noise, privacy, security, spaciousness, and cleanliness.

Each campground profile gives unbiased and thorough evaluations, taking the guess work out of finding the perfect site.



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Canoeing & Kayaking Florida, 3rd edition
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Canoeing & Kayaking Florida, 3rd edition
Johnny Molloy


Completely updated yet again, the latest edition of Canoeing & Kayaking Florida is the most comprehensive guide to the best of Florida’s unique streams, springs, creeks, and rivers. Engaging and concise, yet filled with carefully selected details vital to any successful Florida paddling adventure, Canoeing & Kayaking Florida spares readers encyclopedic fluff in favor of practical, no­nonsense information. With expanded regional maps and revised river maps, Canoeing & Kayaking Florida is simply the best and most informative Florida paddling guide available.

Several new paddling destinations have been added to this latest edition, including waterways like Shingle Creek, where a swift stream swishes through a cypress forest. Then there’s quiet coastal Shell Creek and the mighty Apalachicola River, a big water destination with big sandbars, big hills, and a fast current compared to more intimate Florida waterways. Still other new streams await your arrival.

For more than 30 years, Canoeing & Kayaking Florida has provided the essential information needed to paddle the waterways of Florida. Paddling has grown steadily in Florida due in part to this excellent guidebook, the establishment of paddling clubs, the positioning of outfitters on rivers, and population growth. The rise in the use of recreational kayaks has also led to the rebirth of paddling’s popularity. Let Canoeing & Kayaking Florida be your guide to the paddling possibilities in the Sunshine State.


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Day and Overnight Hikes: Kentucky's Sheltowee Trace
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Day and Overnight Hikes: Kentucky's Sheltowee Trace
Johnny Molloy


   The master path of the great Bluegrass State, the Sheltowee Trace graces 282 miles of Kentucky hills and hollows. This path was the 100th designated federal national recreation trail and is named in honor of Daniel Boone. Sheltowee, meaning Big Turtle, was the name given to Boone when he was adopted into the Shawnee tribe as the son of the great war chief, Blackfish. While being pursued by the Shawnee, Boone hid beneath the waters of a creek, breathing through a reed "straw," thus earning his nickname. Hikers who tread this trail will be "following the turtle," a white turtle blazed on trees, from the trail's southern terminus in Tennessee's Pickett State Park, north through the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. The trail continues through the length of the Daniel Boone National Forest nearly to the state of Ohio.

    Complete with detailed maps, elevation profiles, and detailed descriptions of the trail, author Johnny Molloy's Day & Overnight Hikes: Kentucky's Sheltowee Trace is the ultimate resource for all levels of hikers. Each day and overnight hike described provides valuable information such as trail length, condition, difficulty, and clear directions to the trailhead. Whether it's a day hike along the Cumberland River, an overnight trip in the Daniel Boone National Forest, or an all-out assault on the entire 282 miles, all hikers will need and appreciate the first-hand information gathered and presented by Molloy.






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Five-Star Trails: Chattanooga
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Five-Star Trails: Chattanooga
Johnny Molloy


Your Guide to the Area's Most Beautiful Hikes

Five-Star Trails: Chattanooga is a handy guide for area residents, vacationers seeking outdoor fun, and for business travelers with a free afternoon. With a diverse collection of hiking routes, the book offers choices for everyone from solo trekkers to companions to families with either youngsters or oldsters to consider.

This book profiles close-in urban and suburban locations that can satiate scenery-hungry residents and also offers routes of superlative beauty in the adjacent local, state, and national parks. All this adds up to a hiker’s nirvana.

Chattanooga is ideally situated to enjoy some of the Southeast’s best scenery. To the east and south are two huge tracts of sublime and primitive national forest land -- the Chattahoochee and the Cherokee -- much within an easy drive of Chattanooga. The national forests also offer camping, hunting, fishing, nature study, and more. To the west rises the Cumberland Plateau, with its finest features protected under the umbrella of Tennessee’s state park system, centered by the Volunteer State’s master path, the Cumberland Plateau. The geologically fascinating Cumberland offers hiking routes along rushing rivers, deep gorges, wild waterfalls, and other rock features.

Other parks lie within the bounds of Alabama and Georgia, from Little River Canyon to Cloudland Canyon to Chickamauga Battlefield. Lookout Mountain and other local hiking destinations only add to the possibilities. The wide variety of trails, distances, difficulties, and destinations will suit any hiker’s mood and company.

Researched, experienced, and written by a local author, the guide provides in-depth trail descriptions, directions, and commentary on what to expect along the way. Each hike features an individual trail map, elevation profile, and at-a-glance key info, helping readers quickly determine the perfect trip for them when they are ready to head out the door.

Sized to fit in a pocket, the book is convenient to keep in the car or toss into a backpack. Driving directions direct hikers to the nearest trailhead parking areas, and GPS trailhead coordinates get them to the start of the trail.


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Five-Star Trails: Knoxville
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Five-Star Trails: Knoxville
Johnny Molloy


Like others in the Five-Star Trails series, this book features up to 40 day-hikes, ranging from 1 mile to 12 miles, in and near a midsize city-m-in this case, Knoxville.

The author has carefully chosen each hike to create a collection of routes suitable for a varied, but primarily local, outdoors audience. Based on the author's extensive and intimate knowledge of the region, some of the hikes represent a combination of two or more trails that create a unique route.

As a distinguishing feature of the series, as signaled by the Five-Star series title, each entry displays ratings of one to five stars in five categories for that hike. Those categories are:
• Scenery
• Level of Difficulty
• Trail Conditions
• Degree of Solitude
• Appropriateness for Children

The book's overview map provides a quick visual summation of the hikes' locations within the greater Knoxville area. Then, individually, each hike features an easy-to-follow trail map, elevation profile, at-a-glance information, and narrative description. The main text for each entry provides details about the route to follow. It also focuses on the most notable aspects of that route: for some, it may be the panoramic view; for others, a bit of local history and legend; for others the abundance of flora or the opportunity to spot wildlife.

At the end of each route entry, if pertinent, the author leads the reader to nearby attractions. Such sites may be a pioneer museum, a fun and funky place for lunch where grubby hiking attire will pass muster, or a historic inn for future travel reference.

With a trail collection so diverse that it is designed for hiking levels from novice to trailblazer, this book will become a dog-eared companion for anyone interested in the best hikes his or her region has to offer.


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Five-Star Trails: Roanoke and the New River Valley
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Five-Star Trails: Roanoke and the New River Valley
Johnny Molloy


Five Star Trails: Roanoke and the New River Valley showcases 40 hikes in the mountains, valleys, and Piedmont of Western Virginia, featuring an array of treks reflecting the area’s superlative scenery, from wild waterfalls in the New River Valley to highland wildernesses of the Jefferson National Forest to historic paths along the Blue Ridge Parkway to waterside strolls beside Smith Mountain Lake. It is authored by the Southeast’s most experienced outdoors writer, Johnny Molloy.

This book finally gives Roanoke & the New River Valley a hiking guide specifically targeted to their region—a place strategically located within easy reach of a wide array of first-rate hiking destinations. Centered on the Roanoke River and New River valleys—and their tributaries—as they course through the high and mighty Appalachians, the land offers waterfalls, overlooks, and geologically fascinating locales. And to the east, the rolling Piedmont presents yet another physical province to explore.

Pathways aplenty course through the region. The Appalachian Trail is the centerpiece of the trail network. In this section are some of the region’s most famous hikes, including the Roanoke hiker’s triple crown—Dragons Tooth, McAfee Knob, and the Tinker Cliffs—all included in this guide.

However, there is much more to hiking here than just the Appalachian Trail. It is where Cascade Falls makes its grand plunge into a natural swimming pool. It is where hikers walk the Allegheny Trail to a historic fire tower to gain magnificent views and witness one of America’s best raptor migrations. Other trails take you through biological wonderlands, such as Poor Mountain Natural Area Preserve, where the world’s largest concentration of piratebush accentuates views and cascades. The strange but wonderful waterfalls of Falls Ridge Preserve flowing over some of the largest calcium carbonate displays on the planet are made better by trailside bluffs and caves.

And there are many other trails to hike and places to see, from the shores of Smith Mountain Lake to the magnificent Rock Castle Gorge. That is where this book comes into play—to help you enjoy a variety of hikes in the Roanoke & New River Valley that together create the mosaic of hiking experiences that can be had in this region. These best hikes head to overlooks, waterfalls, and wildernesses, as well as scenic, cultural, and historical sites, lakes, and rivers too.

Hikes in this book range from just under 2 miles to over 10 miles, creating opportunities for hikers of all ages, and will accommodate your desires for hikes of multiple lengths, depending on mood, time, and company. Trail configurations are diverse as well—including out-and-back hikes, loops, and balloon loops. Hike settings vary from developed county parks to the back of beyond.


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Five-Star Trails: Tri-Cities of Tennessee and Virginia
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Five-Star Trails: Tri-Cities of Tennessee and Virginia
Johnny Molloy


Your Guide to the Area's Most Beautiful Hikes In and Around Bristol, Johnson City, and Kingsport

Five-Star Trails: Tri-Cities of Tennessee and Virginia details the 40 best hikes in and around Johnson City, Kingsport, and Bristol as well as the surrounding areas of Abingdon, Elizabethton, Greenville, and Rogersville. Drawing from a wealth of trails on vast public lands, the mosaic of hikes featured reflects the wide variety of terrain in the greater Tri-Cities, from high mountains to the east and south to the historic walks in Tennessee state parks. The Appalachian Trail also provides nearly 70 miles of quality hiking around the Tri-Cities. Authored by Johnny Molloy, the most experienced guidebook author in the field today, this guide has something for everyone, from a leisurely weekend stroll to advanced treks into the Appalachians.


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Five-Star Trails: West Virginia's Monongahela National Forest
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Five-Star Trails: West Virginia's Monongahela National Forest
Johnny Molloy


Your Guide to the Area's Most Beautiful Hikes

A whopping 900,000 acres, the mighty Monongahela National Forest is the heart and soul of West Virginia and a natural getaway for hikers and weekend backpackers. Five-Star Trails: West Virginia's Monongahela National Forest leads hikers to classics, such as High Falls and Senaca Rocks, as well as such lesser-known but equally scenic hikes as Canyon Rim and Laurel Creek.

The 2nd edition of Five-Star Trails: West Virginia's Monongahela National Forest has been completely revised. Veteran author Johnny Molloy used his decades of exploring West Virginia's largest national forest to choose only the best hikes, covering the mosaic of experiences to be had in the "Mon"—whether to rocky overlooks, deep into untamed wildernesses, to backcountry waterfalls, even to botanically rare and rich parcels—special places one and all.

To this end, Molloy has completely rewritten the book, rehiking hikes from the previous edition and adding more than a dozen new hikes for this edition. All the maps and elevation profiles have been professionally redone, and new photographs have been taken. Together, these new elements have been fashioned into a guide worthy of West Virginia's fabulous national forest that is the Monongahela.


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