There’s a new guidebook out on bookshelves this summer that should interest hikers and backpackers ever in search of adventures. “100 Classic Hikes of New England” describes a wide variety of hiking trails in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. This tremendous resource details a wealth of hiking locales; some places will be familiar and some not so much.

Author Jeff Romano of Hallowell has been hiking for more than 30 years, including treks to all of New England’s 100 highest peaks. Romano logged 750 trail miles over 16 months, researching information and taking photographs for the guide.

“The hiking was fun and I had a great time,” said Romano. “It gave me a reason to go back and do favorite hikes again as well as see new places I hadn’t been to.”

It’s for the sheer variety of hikes that I think trail trampers will enjoy this guide. Sure, there are the well-known places in Maine like Mount Katahdin, Saddleback and the Bigelows. But you’ll also find lesser-visited hiking destinations, like the island of Frenchboro, Katahdin Lake and Quoddy Head.

Beyond Maine the story is the same. There’s a mix of classic hikes like the Baldfaces and Franconia Ridge in New Hampshire, and Camel’s Hump and Mount Mansfield in Vermont. But how many hikers have heard of Welch and Dickey Mountains, the Worcester Range or Mount Independence, classics in their own right?

When you get to the sections on Southern New England, well, that’s where I figure much of the treasure trove of trails lies for many hikers. There are terrific walks on the crags of Mount Tom and Ragged Mountain, sandy beach strolls at Block Island and Bluff Point, and mountain hikes at Macedonia Ridge and Mohawk Trail State Forest.

The shortest hike listed is a 3-miler at Sachuest Point in Rhode Island; the longest is the rugged Grafton Loop Trail, a 39-mile route in the Mahoosuc Mountains of western Maine. In between are 98 trails leading to an amazing array of hills and mountains, lakes, ponds and coastal venues, and ranging from easy to very strenuous, a few hours to several days.

“The book introduces people to an area and provides enough information so they can plan more hikes and explore other places nearby,” Romano said. “It may be the only guide that really covers all of New England.”

In the introductory section, the guide discusses hiking throughout the weather of the four seasons, provides tips on understanding and using the hike information.

The hikes are grouped by geographic regions: Southeastern New England, Monadnock-Metacomet, Berkshires-Taconics, Green Mountain State, White Mountains, Maine Coast and Northern Maine.

Each numbered hike begins with hiking time, difficulty, low and high point, season, relevant USGS maps and a resource for more information. Detailed driving directions to the trail head follow. Hikes are described in colorful terms that flow easily from beginning to end. If there are any pertinent natural, historical or cultural facts about the location, Romano includes them.

A full-color topographic map is included with each hike, painstakingly produced by Romano with National Geographic mapping software.

I particularly appreciated the “Trails at a Glance” feature, sandwiched between the table of contents and the hike locator map at the front of the book. The grid compiles the hikes into half-day hikes, day hikes, long-day hikes, short backpacks and extended backpacks and describes the hike difficulty, best season to go, and outstanding features.

After all the business of hiking and writing that such a book involves, did Romano have a favorite hike?

“It all depends on the time of year,” Romano said, hedging. Then he thought about it some more.

“My new favorite is Doubletop Mountain in Baxter State Park,” Romano admitted. “I was there over Columbus Day weekend with my wife and son. It was a beautiful hike and an instant classic for me.”

Doubletop is a big favorite of this hiker as well, no doubt, but there are many other great hikes yet to be done, and many more to be done again and again. What will your new favorite hike be?

“100 Classic Hikes of New England” is available from The Mountaineers Books at www.mountaineersbooks.org and at local bookstores and outdoor retailers.

Note: Jeff Romano will be talking about his new book at the next meeting of the Maine Outdoor Adventure Club (www.moac.org) in Portland on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Carey Kish of Bowdoin is an avid hiker and freelance writer. Comments are welcome at:

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