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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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Backcountry Fishing
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Backcountry Fishing
Johnny Molloy


    For many anglers, the lure of fishing is not always the fish, but the places where the fish are. Tossing a rod is just the excuse for heading into the back of beyond, to enjoy nature on nature's terms, to get past the parking lot to enter the backcountry.

     Whether going by foot or by self-propelled craft, such as a canoe or kayak, backcountry travel leads anglers from an auto accessible trailhead or put-in to a fishing destination they must reach on their own, without a car or motorboat. This is backcountry fishing. The simplest way is to get there by foot. Walking or hiking to the destination requires merely a body of water, whether it be a lake or stream.

     Outback travel by boat is a little more complicated. A canoe or kayak is needed. In this situation you will start at a put-in and if by river, travel downstream, maybe camping, maybe not, then ending at a take-out. Other times, you will start and end in the same place, especially when traveling lakes, or a series of lakes connected by portages. Many kayaking destinations will be in saltwater. Some backcountry boating destinations, whether they be fresh or salt, river, lake or ocean, will be shared by some motor boaters. This guide covers backcountry fishing, whether day tripping in a canoe, day hiking along a remote river, or going for a multi-day excursion.

     Whether fly fishing, spin fishing, or saltwater fishing, Backcountry Fishing has all the information needed to be best prepared for backcountry fishing excursions. * Equipment including repair and maintenance * Casting techniques * Types of boats, canoes, and kayaks * Backcountry campsites * List of fish including where to find and bait to use *Cooking in the backcountry *Safety To help get anglers started, a list of backcountry fishing destinations for each state is also included with hiking and paddling destinations. It covers the bodies of water to be fished, where the waters are, the fish to be caught, backcountry accesses, what maps will be helpful, what types of overnight camping possibilities while fishing, and a helpful Internet information link.

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Best Tent Camping: Colorado, 5ed.
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Best Tent Camping: Colorado, 5ed.
Kim Lipker and johnny Molloy


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

The Colorado landscape is rich with opportunities for tent camping. Millions of acres of public lands are dotted with hundreds of campgrounds—but you probably only have a precious amount of limited time. Which campgrounds do you choose? Where should you go? When should you go? That’s what this book is for—to help you make the wisest use of your time in the wilds of the Centennial State.

In the mountains of Colorado, the Rockies, camping is primarily a summertime activity. When the snow melts and the rivers run high—that’s when tent campers start longing for the crisp mornings, crystal-clear days, and cool nights by the campfire that are part of a Rocky Mountain camp out. Not to mention wilderness hiking, trout fishing, mountain biking, and whitewater boating.

In other parts of Colorado, the tent camping season is extended. You can pitch your tent year-round in the canyon country of the Western Slope, along the prairie lakes of the east, and in some of the lower elevation state parks. No matter where you go or when you go, the scenic beauty of Colorado will never fail to please the eye.

Before embarking on a trip, take some time to prepare. Many of the best tent campgrounds are at the far end of a gravel road. This isolation—part of their attraction for many campers—makes for a long supply or gear run if you are unprepared. Call ahead and ask for a park map, brochure, or other information to help you plan your trip. Make reservations wherever applicable, especially at popular state parks. Ask questions. Ask more questions. The more questions you ask, the fewer surprises you’ll get. There are other times, however, when you’ll grab your gear and this book, hop in the car, and just wing it. This can be an adventure in its own right.

Each campground has been rated on six criteria: beauty, privacy, spaciousness, quiet, security and cleanliness. In addition, campground profiles include vital statistics about each location (fees, restrictions, operating season, amenities, contact information, driving directions and reservation information, to name a few) that help campers plan the perfect trip without unwanted surprises. GPS users will also appreciate that each campground's precise latitude and longitude waypoints are included.

Tent campers will also enjoy a detailed map of each campground included in the site profile. Making reservations online or blindly over the phone can put a camper miles from the restroom, stranded with no shade, or in the middle of a busy campground trail. Maps will help campers avoid those pitfalls, and wherever possible the author has even recommended specific campsites for maximum privacy, spaciousness, or beauty.

Although there's never a shortage for things to do in Colorado's outdoors, campground summaries in the book also suggest attractions and activities near each campground. Fishing, hiking, biking, paddling, and scenic drives in the immediate area are recommended to ensure that campers know the basic lay of the land and have a jumping-off point to plan their trip.

Whether it's a large family looking to get away for the weekend, a scout troop that wants to try something new, or a serious outdoors enthusiast searching for a place to adventure for the day and crash for the night, Best Tent Camping: Colorado has done all the work in finding those special, out-of-the-way campgrounds, and gives campers the tools to plan an amazing, unforgettable camping trip.


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Best Tent Camping: Georgia, 3rd edition
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Best Tent Camping: Georgia, 3rd edition
Johnny Molloy


Whether it’s rafting down the Chattooga River, hiking along the Bartram Trail, or sea kayaking around Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia is chock full of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts of all abilities. To help these adventurers on their way, Best Tent Camping: Georgia, 3rd edition reveals the best places in the Peach State to pitch a tent, from mountainous Amicalola Falls State Park, starting point for Appalachian Trail thru-hikers, to the windswept dunes of Cumberland Island. Written to steer campers away from concrete slabs and convoys of RVs, Best Tent Camping: Georgia points tent campers to only the most scenic and serene campsites in the state.

Painstakingly selected from hundreds of campgrounds, each of the 50 campsites is rated for: beauty, noise, privacy, security, spaciousness, and cleanliness. In addition, each campground profile provides essential details on facilities, reservations, fees, and restrictions, as well as an accurate, easy-to-read map, making the campground a snap to locate. Also included are suggestions for nearby outdoor recreation and sightseeing, pinpointing attractions that often go unnoticed.


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


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

The width and breadth of Kentucky offers the outdoor enthusiast a variety of lands to explore. Add the plethora of public lands with campgrounds and you have a fine starting point for adventurous tent campers. Kentucky is the oldest state west of the Appalachian Mountains. Settled by pioneers such as Daniel Boone and Thomas Walker, the Bluegrass State is steeped in American history, from the settler’s passage at Cumberland Gap to Daniel Boone’s Fort Boonesborough to the Civil War defensive fortifications at Columbus. Pioneers traveled on rough overland trails and along rivers, used for passage through the vast forests that thrived in their interiors. These steep, rich mountains, including the Appalachians and the Cumberland Plateau, that once formed a rampart to settlement now offer preserved destinations. Farther west are “barrens,” areas in the forests that Indians kept open to attract game to hunt. The Ohio and Mississippi rivers form the state’s western border and are its respective lowest elevations.

Today tent campers can enjoy these parcels, each piece a distinct region of Kentucky. In western Kentucky, you can explore the surprisingly scenic terrain of Penyrile State Park and Forest. Or tour Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley, which together form the second largest man made body of water in the world. This vast watershed encircles Land Between The Lakes. The center state has numerous lakes where you can spend day after summer day cooling off from that hot Kentucky sun. Rugged and mountainous eastern Kentucky has its high points, such as Kingdom Come State Park that presents far-reaching mountain views. The beauty of Daniel Boone National Forest covers much of the Bluegrass State. Rock bluffs overlook gorges cut by water and time. It is a land of verdant forests, sandstone arches, and wild rivers.

This book by author Johnny Molloy leads you to the best tent camping destinations within these parcels of the Bluegrass State, describing not only of the campgrounds themselves, but also the fun outdoorsy activities nearby. The book uses a rating system, which includes campground privacy, security, beauty, quiet, and cleanliness, and gives inside tips on how to be enjoy each particular destination from your chosen campground. It also details prices, opening and closing dates, websites, and other information that will help you utilize your precious time to the fullest, enjoying your Kentucky tent camping experience.


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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: 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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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: 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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