Books & Gear

  1. Dories, Ho! by Matt and Karen Smith: The Smith couple journey down the Grand Canyon on small, wooden boats called, “dories.”
  2. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson: Bryson’s hilarious and informative account of his hike on the Appalachian Trail.
  3. Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey: Abbey’s classic memoir of his time as a park ranger at Arches National Park.
  4. Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck: Steinbeck’s journey across the United States with his dog Charley, including stops at several national parks.
  5. Ranger Confidential by Andrea Lankford: Lankford’s memoir of her experiences as a park ranger at Yellowstone National Park.
  6. The Oregon Trail by Rinker Buck: Buck’s humorous and informative account of his journey along the historic Oregon Trail.
  7. The Solace of Open Spaces by Gretel Ehrlich: Ehrlich’s collection of essays about life in Wyoming, including visits to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.
  8. Death in Yellowstone by Lee H. Whittlesey: Whittlesey’s examination of the numerous deaths that have occurred in Yellowstone National Park, including those resulting from natural causes, accidents, and even murder.
  9. Yellowstone Has Teeth by Marjane Ambler: In this book, Ambler recounts the adventures and challenges of living within the Yellowstone boundaries, within a community of people who often had to count on one another just for survival.
  10. The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac: Kerouac’s novel about his travels and experiences with Buddhism includes a section about his time spent in Yosemite National Park.
  11. The Emerald Mile by Kevin Fedarko: Fedarko’s thrilling account of a historic speed run down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.
  12. The Last Season by Eric Blehm: Blehm’s biography of park ranger Randy Morgenson, who disappeared in California’s Kings Canyon National Park.
  13. Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer: A reporter uncovers what he can about Christopher McCandless and his journey into the Alaskan wilderness.
  14. Wild by Cheryl Strayed: At 26-years-old and believing her life was at rock-bottom, Cheryl set out to hike the entire Pacific Coast Trail. Alone and unexperienced, she experiences the west coast parks as they transform her.

Children’s Books

  1. Wild River – This is an award-winning novel about exploration and survival through the Montana Wilderness. It ca be paired with a trip to Yellowstone or Glacier National Parks.
  2. Little House in the Big Woods – This is a part of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House on The Prarie” series. It is a great choice for those visiting the National Parks of South Dakota like Badlands or Windcave. You may even consider driving a few hours east to see Laura Ingalls Wilder’s homestead!
  3. Sing Down The Moon – Read this famous Scott O’Dell book on your trip to the Grand Canyon National Park. It offers special insights into the Navajo life.
  4. Flight of The Cliff Bird – This book pairs nicely with a trip to Mesa Verde National Park as its backdrop are the ancient cliff dwellings.
  5. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate – Although this award-winning novel is not set in either of West Texas’s two national parks, it is a great story with many experiences that ring true to the region as a whole. Therefore, I like to pair this story with a trip to Big Bend National Park or Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
  6. Katerina’s Wish – This is a fun story about a family that comes to the United States with dreams of owning their own farm. They settle in the hills of southern Colorado. I would pair this book with a trip to Great Sand Dunes National Park. Although the canyon itself is not referenced in this story, you could also pair this book with the general region of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
  7. In The Footsteps of Crazy Horse – This is an important story that sheds light on the cultures and battles of South Dakota’s Black Hills. Pair this with a trip to Wind Cave or Badlands National Parks.
  8. The Canyon’s Edge – This story is highly engaging and is set in the Arizona slot canyons. While you could pair it with a trip to the Grand Canyon National Park, the setting may feel more similar to a Zion National Park adventure. If you will be stopping at any of the Paige, AZ slot canyons, this story is a must.
  9. Crossing The Wire – This is an important story about a young, Mexican boy who secretly crosses the border into the United States. It does not have a political spin. It is just an age-appropriate story of a common human experience. He crosses the border in southern Arizona, so we suggest you pair this book with a trip to Saguaro National Park.
  10. Mysteries in Our National Parks: Out of The Deep – This book is set in Acadia National Park. I listed this as a representation of the entire “Mysteries in Our National Parks” collection. Our son has read and enjoyed them all. They are page-turners and very tuned in to the precise settings of the parks they represent!

Resource Books

  1. Where Should We Camp Next – National Parks Edition – This is a great campground guide written by a great team of people. Enjoy their podcast called “The RV Atlas!”
  2. Hey Ranger! – This is a fun book full of park stories written by a national park ranger!
  3. Hiking Rocky Mountain National Park: The Essential Guide – If you love Rocky Mountain National Park, you will want this book. Period.
  4. Wild Muir – This is a collection of John Muir’s experiences through our public lands and national parks. It is special read for any park lover!