Prolific outdoors writer, RichmondOutside contributor to speak at REI

April 13, 2014 · 1 minute read

Leonard Adkins is our longest running contributor here at, having written for us for over two years. (He recently wrote a great piece on discovering Richmond’s Larus Park.) And he’s also the author of 17 books about the outdoors and travel.

61SsmZQQ1eL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_We always like to spread when the word when Adkins comes out with a new book, especially one as indispensable as his most recent effort. In Hiking and Traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway, the veteran hiker includes information on every trail that comes in contact with the parkway, including the Appalachian Trail, the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, and other public pathways on national park, state park, national forest, municipal, and private lands. There are GPS coordinates for official parkway trailheads, along with maps and photographs. Adkins notes each trail’s length, difficulty, points of interest, handicap accessibility, and features. More than just a guide to the trails, the book also provides information about what to expect at overlooks, where to find a restroom, and suggests worthy side trips. There are also elevation change charts for bicyclists, minimum tunnel heights for RVs, camping recommendations, roadside bloom calendars, and sightseeing information for nearby towns.

In preparation for the book, and to insure accuracy of description and length, he walked every one of the parkway’s more than 130 official trails with a surveyor’s measuring wheel. How’s that for thorough!

Adkins will be at the Short Pump REI on Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. to give a talk on his Blue Ridge Parkway experiences. If you’ve ever traveled the parkway or maybe plan to, this is one talk worth checking out.

Profiled by Backpacker magazine, and referred to as “The Habitual Hiker,” Adkins has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail five times, walked 19,000 miles exploring the backcountry areas of North America, Europe, and the Caribbean, and is the author of 17 books about the outdoors and travel. Among others, his photographs and articles have appeared in Islands, Backpacker, and Caribbean Travel and Life. His book, The Appalachian Trail: A Visitor’s Companion, was presented the Lowell Thomas Journalism Award. Wildflowers of the Appalachian Trail won the National Outdoor Book Award, ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year, and a Virginia Literary Award nomination. He is currently The Hike writer for Blue Ridge Country, and the Richmond Walks and Hikes blogger for