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About Margaret


"The grand dame of Idaho hiking, Fuller was prodded to start writing guides for one simple reason. She was tired of getting lost trying to take her five children on hikes....In the process (of writing her books) she has probably become Idaho's best known hiker." -- Karen Bossick, Wood River Journal, July, 2005  

Margaret Fuller wrote the first comprehensive guidebook to any Idaho area.  In 1979,  Trails of the Sawtooth and White Cloud Mountains  was first published (The title was changed for this sixth edition to show what the area was called during the campaign for its wilderness.).  Since then, she has written and/or co-authored four other guidebooks to Idaho trails, three books of natural history (on  mountains, forest fires, and wild berries) and a book on the history of Idaho ski areas. She has hiked more than 6,000 miles on Idaho trails and has given more than 250 slide shows about the subjects of her books.  Margaret has been given several awards for her writing and her contributions to the outdoors in Idaho.

Trail Guide Books - Margaret Fuller


Trail Guide Books - Margaret Fuller

Margaret and daughter Leslie, looking for fish, 1961


Her first hiking guide to trails in Idaho was inspired by difficulties finding good hikes for her children near the family cabin.  Margaret and her husband, young children, other family members, and friends built the cabin themselves by hand. But hiking in the area proved a challenge because if the access road wasn’t full of boulders and deep ruts, the trailhead could not be found, or the trail was hard to follow. When Margaret saw a guidebook to trails in the Washington Cascades she realized a trail guide was needed for the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA) and decided to write one.  From Frostline kits, she sewed the tents, down jackets and sleeping bags she and her family needed for the hiking and backpacking trips they took to gather details for the book. In writing her hiking guidebooks she has had many adventures, from encountering rapids under an overhang on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River trail to coming face to face with a bear with frosted fur in the Lemhis.  

Margaret began hiking at about the age of three from her grandfather’s cabin in the Sierras.  She earned her BA in biology in 1956 from Stanford University, and earned an Idaho teaching credential in 1973 after taking classes at the College of Idaho. She then did temporary and substitute teaching and wrote hiking guidebooks until she got a contract to write a book on mountains. Mountains: a Natural History and Hiking Guide was published by John Wiley & Sons in 1989. Two years later Wiley published Forest Fires: An Introduction to Fire Behavior, Fire Management, Firefighting and Prevention. That book won first place in the Northwest Outdoor Writer's Association annual contest.   

Margaret hiking the Baron Divide Trail in the Sawtooths

Trail Guide Books - Margaret and Wayne Fuller

Margaret and her husband Wayne Fuller

Margaret and her books continue to be acknowledged by awards. On April 3, 2014, Margaret and her co-authors, Doug Fuller (her son), and Jerry Painter received the Skade Award from the International Skiing History Association for Ski the Great Potato.  In 2012, Margaret and some of her family were filmed for an Outdoor Idaho program on the 40th anniversary of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. Also in 2012, Backpacker featured Margaret as its wilderness hero for September, perhaps because she was still backpacking at the age of 77.  In 2010, the Idaho Conservation League gave Margaret the Keith and Pat Axline Award for Environmental Activism. In 2003, Idaho Public TV featured her in an Outdoor Idaho program on older Idahoans who had contributed to knowledge of Idaho's outdoors and were still active in it.  In 1998, the Silver Sage Girl Scout Council gave her the Woman of Today and Tomorrow Award for the outdoors. In 1997, she was elected to the Society of Woman Geographers, an international organization. In 1991, the Idaho Trails Council gave her their Achievement Award. In 1990, the first three hiking guidebooks were selected and endorsed as Idaho Centennial Publications by the Idaho Centennial Commission.  In 1982 she received the Writer of the Year Award from the Idaho Writer's League.  


“I guess I’ve always loved being out in the mountains and I kind of felt like I wanted to give back what the mountains had given me to give others in a broader way.” -- Margaret Fuller’s comment about receiving the award which is the highest distinction given by the Idaho Conservation League for dedicated passion and efforts to preserve the environment." – Brigid Leake,  “Margaret Fuller, One Who Gives Back”, Idaho Conservation League newsletter, July 2010  


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