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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: Flagstaff and Sedona
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Five-Star Trails: Flagstaff and Sedona
Tony Padegimas


Each hike features an individual trail map, elevation profile, and at-a-glance information, helping readers quickly find the perfect trip. Sized to fit in a pocket, the book's detailed trail descriptions will help readers find their way on and off the trail. Driving directions and GPS trailhead coordinates will help with navigating the myriad of unnamed roads. The trails covered range from those best suited to the novice, families, experienced hikers, or backpackers.

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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: Louisville and Southern Indiana
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Five-Star Trails: Louisville and Southern Indiana



Five-Star Trails: Louisville showcases many of the hiking trails and walking paths within the city or within easy driving distance in central Kentucky and southern Indiana. Designed specifically for day trips, this book includes several of the area's most popular parks, as well as many of the lesser-known hiking trails in nature preserves, wildlife management areas, and national forests.

Known as the City of Parks, Louisville has long valued the natural landscape and the provisioning of outdoor recreation. In 1891 Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture, was commissioned to develop an extensive park system for Louisville that eventually included 18 parks and 6 interconnecting parkways. Since that time, Louisville has continued to invest resources to build a first-class park system. Nestled within the Ohio Valley, and bordered by the knobs region to the south and the heavily forested areas of Indiana to the north, Louisville lies at the heart of an endless array of hiking opportunities.

Like others in the publisher’s Five-Star series, Five-Star Trails: Louisville provides in-depth trail descriptions, directions, and commentary about each route. Each hike features an individual trail map, elevation profile, and at-a glance information, helping readers quickly decide the perfect trip for that day’s mood, time, and energy level. Trail descriptions also include information on the history of the area, wildflowers found across various seasons, and wildlife that might be encountered during day hikes. Worthwhile side trips are also identified, whether it be a nearby waterfall, a local barbeque joint, or an interesting museum.

The author has included a wide range of hikes, to accommodate inexperienced hikers as well as more rigorous climbs for the seasoned outdoors person. Particular attention is given to identifying those hikes that are suitable for young children and those with mobility challenges.

Handily sized and formatted, the book allows fast, easy reference, and its descriptions will help readers find their way on and off the trail. Detailed driving directions and GPS trailhead coordinates lead the reader to the trailhead. A regional map locates all of the guidebook hikes, showing readers the hikes that are close to downtown Louisville, as well as those within a short driving distance. Individual maps accompany each of the book’s 30-some hiking routes.

The health benefits of hiking are in easy reach with Five-Star Trails: Louisville on your bookshelf. Whether you are looking for a quick walk after work to shake off the stresses of the day or a longer jaunt to explore a new area, this book is full of hiking ideas for everyone.


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Five-Star Trails: Orlando
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Five-Star Trails: Orlando
Sandra Friend


Your Guide to the Area's Most Beautiful Hikes

Five-Star Trails: Orlando 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: 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: Raleigh and Durham
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Five-Star Trails: Raleigh and Durham
Joshua Kinser


Five-Star Trails: Raleigh/Durham is a guide to the best day-hiking trails within a two-hour drive of the urban areas of Raleigh and Durham. Raleigh is North Carolina’s capital and an anchor for the state's famous Research Triangle that includes Durham and Chapel Hill. Amid this metropolitan complex that also embraces Cary, Apex, and Wake Forest--home to more than 1.7 million people--the author leads readers to myriad places for scenic beauty, to sites of historic significance, and to neighborhoods that showcase the charms of urban life.

All of the routes stay true to the book's "Five-Star Trails" title, based on the book series' rating system for scenery, trail condition, suitability for children, difficulty level, and solitude. To be selected for the book, each trail must truly shine in one or more of those areas while, at the same time, all of the trails combine to offer diversity for a wide range of hikers. Thus, this is the guidebook for a hiker seeking an arduous climb to a scenic overlook as much as it is for a weekend walker who wants an easy trail for his or her family, as much as it is for another person who wants a peaceful walk on a well-groomed path.

While many hiking guides focus entirely and specifically on trails in wilderness areas, Five-Star Trails: Raleigh/Durham provides a sampler of the best that North Carolina's Triangle Area has to offer. Readers will encounter unique attractions as they walk through historic neighborhoods; alongside lakes, creeks, and rivers; and into botanical gardens, verdant forests, and expansive and pocket parks. Not overlooked are Durham’s Tobacco Warehouse District, Franklin Street and the University of Chapel Hill Campus, and intriguing trails that highlight this urban area's rich Native American, Civil War, and Frontiersman history.


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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: South Carolina Upstate
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Five-Star Trails: South Carolina Upstate
Sherry Jackson


Your Guide to the Area's Most Beautiful Hikes

The South Carolina Upcountry is gaining more popularity and people visiting will need to know how to discover all it has to offer. Outdoor activities here abound and there are a good variety of trails for hikers of all levels. From waterfalls to amazing mountain views, each trail offers hikers an incredible experience. Since the Upcountry is relatively “undiscovered”, there are very few books that have a true compilation of hikes in the area. Five-Star Trails: South Carolina Upstate will bring together those hiking trails that offer a “five star” experience.

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.

Five-Star Trails: South Carolina Upstate provides directions and commentary for each trail on what to expect along the way, making it more than just an average guidebook. This guide will lead hikers off the beaten path to find exceptional beauty as well as peace of mind. The diversity in terrain invites all levels of abilities and skills. Outdoor enthusiasts of every level will have reason to grab this guide and take a hike.

This book offers easy-to-moderate trails that are within driving distance from a reader’s workplace or home in the South Carolina Upstate. Without this book, they might miss the hidden hiking treasures of the area, but with the expert help of Sherry Jackson, readers will enjoy the region’s best trails!


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