I use hiking and camping guidebooks to identify parks and trails. Because I photograph in a region without a predominance of bare rock, where most interesting formations are small scale, I take into consideration vegetation patterns, weather, dominant tree appropriate for composition. These aren't really "guidebook material". I learn about them by hiking the trails.
I would be likely to photo in the holes of other tripods if visiting other more traditionally photogenic regions, if only because I would be likely to hike well-described trails in a totally new environment. I don't like hiking with non-photographers when I have photography on my mind, because I stop and dawdle around when others are ready to move. If one isn't very experienced with the specific terrain and season, it makes sense to hike fairly commonly frequented trails when hiking solo. I have one of those emergency GPS beacons/transmitters, but really would like not to use it.