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Menasha Ridge Press Menasha Ridge Press - Good Books for Serious Fun. Menasha Ridge Press has been a leading independent book publisher for more than twenty years. Covering the outdoors, wilderness sport, wildlife, cooking, history, dining, and travel worldwide, the award-winning, best-selling books and series produced by Menasha Ridge Press are widely recognized for their innovation, authority, and scrupulous attention to detail. And though we're serious about good books, we also believe a good book knows how to have fun. After all, we love what we do, and we think you will, too.

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Five-Star Trails: Asheville, 2nd edition
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Five-Star Trails: Asheville, 2nd edition
Jennifer Pharr Davis


The definitive guide to hiking in Asheville.

Five-Star Trails: Asheville by accomplished hiker and writer Jennifer Pharr Davis covers 35 hikes in the greater Asheville region, from area nature preserves to treks along the Blue Ridge Parkway and in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The Asheville resident has sought out her favorite hikes, as well as a cross section of adventures on foot that exhibit the variety of hikes found in the greater Asheville region. Hikes include treks along the famed Appalachian Trail to waterfalls of the Pisgah National Forest. Other walks take you to the rhododendron blooms atop Craggy Gardens. Solitude can be found on remote Hickey Fork. And then there’s the granite domes and crashing cataracts of Dupont State Forest. Mix hiking and history at the Cradle of Forest or Mount Pisgah via Buck Springs Lodge. Soak in inspiring panoramas from Shining Rock Wilderness or Looking Glass Rock.

These fantastic hikes are laid out in an organized fashion by a professional hiker and speaker who exemplifies the heart and spirit of Asheville. Hikes range widely in elevation, distance, and difficulty, providing a variety of experiences for everyone. 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 information, helping readers quickly find the perfect trip.



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Five-Star Trails: Birmingham
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Five-Star Trails: Birmingham
Thomas M. Spencer


In the first decades of the 21st century, Birmingham is building again on its natural resources, but this time it’s not to fire steel-making smokestacks. Instead, where railroads ran and mines burrowed into mountains, the healed landscape is being repurposed for hiking and biking. New and expanding venues around the city are providing more opportunities not only to get outside and exercise but also to appreciate the labor and industry that built the city.

Birmingham is not only a collision point in history but is also a crossroads of biological and geological diversity. Within a short drive of Birmingham, you can find yourself on an Appalachian Mountain peak or on the banks of the Cahaba River as it broadens to snake through the Coastal Plain. You can visit old growth forest in the Sipsey Wilderness or hike down into the “Grand Canyon of the East” at Little River Canyon. And that's only the start. Across this landscape, you’ll find a level of diversity of plant and animal species, some rare and endangered, that rivals anywhere in the North America.

So get off the couch, skip the same-old-same-old and hit the trails. You’ll be rewarded.

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Five-Star Trails: Charlotte
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Five-Star Trails: Charlotte
Joshua Kinser


Your Guide to the Area's Most Beautiful Hikes

Five-Star Trails: Charlotte 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. 

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: 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: Columbus
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Five-Star Trails: Columbus
Robert Loewendick


Your Guide to the Area's Most Beautiful Hikes

Yes, a few guidebooks do feature hiking in Ohio, but none is as detailed, authoritative, and inviting as Five-Star Trails Columbus. Nor does any other guide showcase--and rate--these five key attributes for which the series is named: Scenery, Trail Condition, Difficulty, Appropriateness for Children, and Solitude. But that is what each guidebook in the Five-Star Trail series does for the destinations covered across the United States.

In the Columbus guide, an impressive collection of routes ranges north, east, south, and west from the metro center, as well as within the urban setting. This capital city is rich in metro parks, natural areas and preserves, state parks, and state forests. And this diversity of hiking terrain invites all levels of abilities and skills. Thus, this guidebook is geared not only to avid trekkers seeking more challenge than a paved neighborhood path, but also to families and senior citizens. Outdoor enthusiasts of every stripe will have reason to grab this book and, well, take a hike.

Text and photos reflect the author’s extensive outdoor knowledge and experience within the natural environments that the routes cover. Each hike features an individual trail map, elevation profile, and at-a-glance key info, helping readers quickly determine the perfect trip when they are ready to head out the door. Once on the trail, the guidebook becomes a hiking companion that will enhance the overall trail experience from start to finish. Descriptions detail landmarks, flora, fauna, and local history.

Sized for easy carrying or tossing into a backpack, this handy guide will quickly become a treasured resource among Columbus locals and visitors alike.


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Five-Star Trails: Finger Lakes and Central New York
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Five-Star Trails: Finger Lakes and Central New York
Tim Starmer


Your Guide to the Area's Most Beautiful Hikes

The Finger Lakes and Central New York are not known for rugged mountains and their panoramic vistas which are so commonly sought in the Adirondacks to the north. They hardly could be - the area was scoured clean by glaciers millennia ago. But don’t let that fool you, the region is full of natural wonders of its own. Instead of mountains and ridges, the region is known for rolling drumlins, an abundance of scenic gorges, quiet woodlands, beautiful waterfalls and picturesque lakes. The trails included in Five-Star Trails: New York's Finger Lakes and Central Region feature a broad mixture of these landscapes and were carefully selected to give the most varied but also rewarding experience when picking a trail.

An assortment of state parks, local parks, state forests, conservancy areas, wildlife preserves, and nature centers riddle the region, and choice selections from each means you can find a trail that suits your preference for how civil or wild you might desire. Trails for all experience levels are included and provide opportunities for adventure for novice and expert alike.

Some of these trails are well known and their inclusion in this new guide is no surprise. However far more are lesser known and a little more off the beaten path. Though these trails are not hard to find they are hard to find any real details about. What should you expect along the trail? Is the terrain rough? Will there be interesting things along the trip? Is the trail appropriate and/or safe for children? Well that lack of information is no longer an issue.

Each trail has been thoroughly researched, recently hiked and includes a detailed description, trail profiles and map. At a glance ratings in important categories such as Scenery, Trail Condition, Difficulty, Solitude and appropriateness for children let you quickly select a trail that fits your tastes and ability. Other useful information such as fees, restrictions for dogs on the trail as well as advice on when to visit offers you the best information so you can plan your trip with ease.

Sized to fit in a pocket, this guide 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: Gainesville & Ocala
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Five-Star Trails: Gainesville & Ocala
Sandra Friend & John Keatley


Your Guide to the Area's Most Beautiful Hikes

While polar opposites in many ways – college town versus retiree mecca – both Gainesville and Ocala share a love of the outdoors. Students from UF hike the same trails as Volksmarch groups from the Villages, enjoying wilderness immersion in the Ocala National Forest and the Cross Florida Greenway. With several hundred miles of trails throughout the region to choose from, Five-Star Trails: Gainesville & Ocala helps you find the best. Authored by Florida hiking expert and long-time Ocala resident Sandra Friend, with Florida Trail Association life member John Keatley, this guide provides a fresh perspective on the region’s array of hiking trails. Covering more than 35 hikes across a three-county region, all within an hour’s drive of either city, Five-Star Trails: Gainesville & Ocala gives you a reason to get outdoors now.

Hikes are rated/highlighted according to five criteria: scenery, trail conditions, child-friendliness, difficulty, and solitude. Recommendations for best hikes in other categories – including wildlife watching, ancient trees, Florida Trail segments, geology, kid-friendly, and dog-friendly hikes – make it easy to choose an adventure at a glance. Add Sandra Friend’s knowledge of habitats, wildlife, and local history, and you’ll be glad to have Five-Star Trails: Gainesville & Ocala.


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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: Palm Springs
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Five-Star Trails: Palm Springs
Laura Randall


31 Spectacular Hikes in the Southern California Desert Resort Area

A popular outdoor destination for the 7 million residents of Los Angeles, Palm Springs offers stunning hiking opportunities. With Joshua Tree National Monument to the east, the San Bernardino National Forest to the north and south, and the storied Pacific Crest Trail passing nearby, hiking expert Laura Randall has chosen the best hikes that highlight the area.

Five-Star Trails: Palm Springs features child-friendly hikes as well as urban hikes easily accessible from resorts. Laura also includes hikes for the new Whitewater Preserve, in addition to updated trails in La Quinta and Palm Desert. Extensive at-a-glance information makes it easy to choose the perfect hike based on length, difficulty, and scenery. Each trail profile includes maps, directions, driving times, nearby attractions, and other pertinent details.


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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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