37 Best National Park Books and Journals for 2022

By Joshua Davis •  Updated: 03/29/22 •  23 min read

With so many U.S. National Parks to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start when planning a trip. 

We’ve got you covered! From Acadia to Zion, we’ve rounded up the best national park books for your planning pleasure. 

Whether you’re looking for a comprehensive travel guide, an inspiring coffee table book with stunning photography, national park history and memoirs, or an educational one for the kids, we’ve got the perfect book for you.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning your next adventure today!

QUICK LINKS
  1. OFHQ’s Top Picks
  2. National Park Guide Books
  3. National Park Bucket Journals and Adventure Guides
  4. National Park Coffee Table Books
  5. National Park History, Biographies, and Memoirs
  6. National Park History
  7. National Park Memoirs
  8. National Park Biographies
  9. National Park Books for Kids
  10. Wrapping Up National Park Books … For Now.

OFHQ’s Top Picks

Although we’ve reviewed 6 types of national park books, we’ve selected our Top Picks from these 4 categories:

Best National Park Guide Books

The following national park books provide complete guides covering all 63 National Parks. They are the most current and up-to-date guides as of this post’s writing.

Best National Park Guide Books
All 63 US National Parks: The Complete Travel Guide
$24.99
Notable Features:
⭐️ Travel-friendly size (6" x 1" x 9")
⭐️ Tips for Planning, Reservations, and Activities
⭐️ Systematic Park Rankings
⭐️ Parks are organized by state
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11/23/2022 12:25 am GMT
Best National Park Guide Books
Fodor's The Complete Guide to the National Parks of the USA
$25.99 $22.99
Notable Features:
⭐️ Travel-friendly size (5.25″ x 1.25″ x 8″)
⭐️ Ultimate Experience Guide for each park
⭐️ Multiple itineraries
⭐️ 70+ detailed maps
⭐️ Local recommendations
⭐️ Trip planning tips
⭐️ Historical and cultural insights
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11/23/2022 12:24 am GMT

Best National Park Bucket List Journals

The following bucket list journals cover all 63 of the National Parks. They are the most feature-packed, current, and up-to-date.

Best National Park Bucket List Journals
National Parks Bucket List Guide & Journal
$14.99
Notable Features:
⭐️ Highly portable size (6" x 9")
⭐️ Trip planning guide
⭐️ Key attractions and activities at each park
⭐️ Wildlife viewing tips
⭐️ Generous journaling and documentation space
⭐️ Sticker and stamp collection space
⭐️ Tabulated, alphabetized description of all parks
⭐️ National Map of parks
⭐️ QR code for each park's NPS website
⭐️ My Bucket List for personalized goals
⭐️ Tracking Log
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11/23/2022 12:27 am GMT
Best National Park Bucket List Journals
National Parks Passport & Bucket List
$12.99
Notable Features:
⭐️ Passport section for stamp, sticker, and ticket collections
⭐️ Identifies each park's best activities, events, and places
⭐️ Huge map locating all 63 national parks
⭐️ Two pages of journaling space for each park
⭐️ Dedicated QR code for each park linked to NPS website
⭐️ Inventory checklist for camping, hiking, day trips that include 100+ items
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11/23/2022 12:28 am GMT

Best National Park Coffee Table Books

These coffee table compilations on the national parks of the United States have been recognized and awarded as unique and inspiring artistic accomplishments.

Best National Park Coffee Table Books
Treasured Lands: A Photographic Odyssey Through America's National Parks
$101.78

QT Luong's Treasured Lands is a coffee table book packed with stunning photography of America's first 62 national parks.

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11/23/2022 12:25 am GMT
Best National Park Coffee Table Books
Walks of a Lifetime in America's National Parks: Extraordinary Hikes in Exceptional Places
$34.95 $21.99

Walks of a Lifetime in America's National Parks is a comprehensive guide to the very best trails in America's national parks.

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11/23/2022 12:23 am GMT

Best National Parks Children’s Books

Whether your child is already a national park nut, or you’re trying to spark an interest in them, these kid-oriented national parks books will not disappoint!

Best National Parks Children's Books
The National Parks: Discover all 62 National Parks of the United States
$19.99 $13.60

This book is an engaging and educational introduction to America's national parks for young nature enthusiasts who want to learn about these natural spaces, their animals and plants, and what they can do to help protect them.

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11/23/2022 12:20 am GMT
Best National Parks Children's Books
(Lonely Planet Kids) America's National Parks
$16.99

This beautifully illustrated book is packed with interesting facts and photos, making it the perfect guide for anyone fascinated by these amazing landscapes.

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11/23/2022 12:20 am GMT

National Park Guide Books

The national parks books featured in our first section are thoroughly-researched, comprehensive, one-stop-shop guides designed to take on the road.

Because several national parks have been added to the N.P.S. over the last few years, the list is organized by publishing date, with the most up-to-date guides coming first.

Let’s dive in!

1. Fodor’s Travel The Complete Guide to the National Parks of the USA (63 Parks, 2021)

Our first national parks book covers all 63 National Parks and is an essential guidebook for anyone planning a trip to any of America’s national parks.

Best National Park Guide Books
Fodor's The Complete Guide to the National Parks of the USA
$25.99 $22.99
Notable Features:
⭐️ Travel-friendly size (5.25″ x 1.25″ x 8″)
⭐️ Ultimate Experience Guide for each park
⭐️ Multiple itineraries
⭐️ 70+ detailed maps
⭐️ Local recommendations
⭐️ Trip planning tips
⭐️ Historical and cultural insights
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11/23/2022 12:24 am GMT

This comprehensive guide includes detailed information on how to get around, what to see and do, where to eat and stay, and more.

With beautiful color photos and maps throughout, Fodor’s Complete Guide to the National Parks of the USA is the perfect resource for making the most of your national park adventure.

2. All 63 US National Parks: The Complete Travel Guide (63 parks, 2021)

This national park book is a comprehensive guide to all 63 national parks in the United States of America.

Best National Park Guide Books
All 63 US National Parks: The Complete Travel Guide
$24.99
Notable Features:
⭐️ Travel-friendly size (6" x 1" x 9")
⭐️ Tips for Planning, Reservations, and Activities
⭐️ Systematic Park Rankings
⭐️ Parks are organized by state
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11/23/2022 12:25 am GMT

Valerie Pontiff, the author, provides an easy-to-follow system that makes exploring these parks easy and fun for everyone. She includes information on how long to spend in each park, what to do, where to stay, and which parks can be easily seen together.

This book is the perfect resource for those wanting to systematically explore America’s beautiful national parks.

3. National Geographic’s Guide to National Parks of the United States 9th Edition (62 Parks, 2021)

This national parks book by National Geographic covers every national park except the most recently added: New River Gorge in West Virginia.

The guide is filled with expert travel advice, candid tips for hiking and wildlife spotting, and detailed maps to help navigate your way through America’s great outdoors.

National Geographic Guide to National Parks of the United States 9th Edition
$28.00 $22.49
Notable Features:
⭐️ Travel-friendly size (5.35" x 1" x 8.45")
⭐️ Expert travel advice
⭐️ Hiking and wildlife-spotting tips
⭐️ 80 Detailed maps of each park
⭐️ Information sourced from park rangers
⭐️ Week-long road trip itineraries
⭐️ 300 photos
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11/23/2022 12:16 am GMT

Updated in early 2021, the guide contains information acquired from park rangers and National Geographic’s own acclaimed travel writers.

One of the most comprehensive guidebooks yet, it covers all of the newest additions to the national park system (except New River Gorge) in Indiana, White Sands, and Gateway Arch National Parks.

4. Lonely Planet’s National Parks of America 2 (62 Parks, 2021)

In this book, you’ll be introduced to 62 of the national parks of the United States (not including New River Gorge) and learn the best ways to spend your time in each one.

National Parks of America 2 (Lonely Planet)
$30.00 $17.99
Notable Features:
⭐️ Travel and lodging tips
⭐️ Stunning photography
⭐️ Wildlife and plat viewing tips
⭐️ Best activities for each park
⭐️ Half-day up to 1-week itineraries
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11/23/2022 12:19 am GMT

This beautifully designed, larger guide book is packed with stunning landscape photography, detailed information on each park, and practical tips on what to do and see.

With Lonely Planet’s National Parks of America 2, you’ll have everything you need to plan the perfect nature-focused holiday.

5. Fodor’s Travel The Complete Guide to the National Parks of the West (2021)

If you’re looking to explore America’s West specifically, Fodor’s comprehensive guide contains all the information you need to plan a successful trip, from detailed maps and expert recommendations to insider tips from local experts.

Fodor's The Complete Guide to the National Parks of the West
$24.99 $16.99
Notable Features:
⭐️ Travel-friendly size (5.2" x 1.3" x 7.9")
⭐️ Ultimate Experience Guide for each park
⭐️ Multiple itineraries
⭐️ 70+ detailed maps
⭐️ Local recommendations
⭐️ Trip planning tips
⭐️ Historical and cultural insights
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11/23/2022 12:28 am GMT

With color photos throughout, this new edition has been fully redesigned for an easy-to-read layout and up-to-date information on all the area’s best attractions.

6. Moon USA National Parks: The Complete Guide to All 62 Parks (62 Parks, 2020)

Written by wilderness expert Becky Lomax, a former park ranger and guide, Moon USA National Parks Guide is the perfect resource for anyone planning a trip to the national parks of the United States.

Moon USA National Parks: The Complete Guide to All 62 Parks
$27.99
Notable Features:
⭐️ Travel-friendly size (5.45" x 1.3" x 8.4")
⭐️ Parks are organized by the activities they offer
⭐️ Describes the best outdoor adventures in each park
⭐️ Detailed hiking trail descriptions and maps
⭐️ Road trip tips for linking parks and points of interest in between and nearby
⭐️ Comprehensive maps and trip planning resources
⭐️ Climate, terrain, wildlife, history, and safety insights for each park
⭐️ Park fee, pass, and reservation information for each park
⭐️ Collectible section for park stamps and a fold-out poster map
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11/23/2022 12:19 am GMT

This feature-packed, 700-page book is brimming with information on all 62 parks established as of 2020, from the best outdoor adventures to be had in each one to how to avoid crowds and where to stay.

With gorgeous full-color photos and detailed hike descriptions and maps, Moon USA National Parks Guide makes it easy to plan the perfect national parks adventure.

7. Your Guide to the National Parks: The Complete Guide to All 59 National Parks (59 parks, 2017)

Winner of the Benjamin Franklin Award (one of the highest national honors for independent publishers), Michael Oswald’s exhaustively researched guide leaves nothing out (except for the 3 most recently-added national parks – it was published before then).

Your Guide to the National Parks: The Complete Guide to all 59 National Parks
$38.97
Notable Features:
⭐️ Travel-friendly size (7.5" x 1.25" x 9")
⭐️ PDF download of the book available upon purchase
⭐️ Step-by-step itineraries
⭐️ 11 recommended road trips
⭐️ Kid-friendly activities
⭐️ 160 maps
⭐️ 50 hiking tables
⭐️ 450 photos
⭐️ Listings of hotels, restaurants, and nearby attractions
⭐️ Trailhead markers
⭐️ Outfitter details
⭐️ Backpacking essentials
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11/23/2022 12:25 am GMT

The book includes in-depth, comprehensive information on each park, such as where to find the best hikes and how to get around. It also includes suggested road trips, activities for kids, and plenty more to fill 700+ pages!

National Park Bucket Journals and Adventure Guides

What do you get when you combine a national park guide with your family bucket list?

These national park books to add to your list.

8. National Park Bucket List Guide and Journal (63 parks, revised for 2022)

This innovative guide + journal combo is ideal for everyone who wants to keep their personalized bucket list, trip planning, and adventure documenting all in one place.

Best National Park Bucket List Journals
National Parks Bucket List Guide & Journal
$14.99
Notable Features:
⭐️ Highly portable size (6" x 9")
⭐️ Trip planning guide
⭐️ Key attractions and activities at each park
⭐️ Wildlife viewing tips
⭐️ Generous journaling and documentation space
⭐️ Sticker and stamp collection space
⭐️ Tabulated, alphabetized description of all parks
⭐️ National Map of parks
⭐️ QR code for each park's NPS website
⭐️ My Bucket List for personalized goals
⭐️ Tracking Log
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11/23/2022 12:27 am GMT

The guide opens with a map and tabulated list of all 63 parks with summary descriptions and a Bucket List table. The rest of the book is comprised of two sections:

1.) Trip Planning

2.) Journaling

9. National Park Adventure Guide (63 parks, 2021)

The National Park Adventure Guide is a handy take-along for anyone interested in commemorating (lightly) their adventures in any of the 63 National Parks.

63 National Park Adventure Guide: 2022 Edition (Includes New River Gorge!)
$34.95
Notable Features:
⭐️ Spiraled notebook design with vintage cover art and illustrations
⭐️ Summary description of each park, its flora, and fauna
⭐️ Half-page left blank to make notes or sketches while visiting each park
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11/23/2022 12:27 am GMT

The guide includes brief, informative about each park, tips on things to do, space for note-taking, and fun facts about each park. It also features vintage national park art by Anderson Design Group, as well as stickers for all 63 parks.

10. National Parks Bucket List (63 parks, 2021)

This combination guide-bucket list-adventure journal was created in collaboration with a retired National Parks employee and is recommended by the National Parks Service Department.

Best National Park Bucket List Journals
National Parks Passport & Bucket List
$12.99
Notable Features:
⭐️ Passport section for stamp, sticker, and ticket collections
⭐️ Identifies each park's best activities, events, and places
⭐️ Huge map locating all 63 national parks
⭐️ Two pages of journaling space for each park
⭐️ Dedicated QR code for each park linked to NPS website
⭐️ Inventory checklist for camping, hiking, day trips that include 100+ items
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11/23/2022 12:28 am GMT

The book includes a guide to all 63 parks, an interactive interior, a QR code that takes you to the official National Parks government website, and a checklist of essential items to take with you on your trip.

11. National Park Bucket Journal (63 parks, 2021)

The National Park Bucket Journal is another handy way to document and commemorate your national park excursions.

National Park Bucket Journal
$39.97
Notable Features:
⭐️ Spiraled journal design
⭐️ Organized by region, state, and alphabetically within the state
⭐️ Helpful itineraries and travel planning guide
⭐️ Ample journaling space with writing prompts for inspiration
⭐️ Indicates national parks with lodges
⭐️ Bucket checklist for each park
⭐️ National park trivia
⭐️ National map of all parks
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11/23/2022 12:28 am GMT

With its helpful travel itineraries and state-by-state breakdown, you can easily plan your trip and record the details of each adventure as you go.

The journal also makes it easy to record your memories of wildlife, landmarks, hikes, and vistas. With its spiral binding, the journal is easy to take with you on the go.

12. National Geographic’s Secrets of the National Parks: The Experts’ Guide to the Best Experiences Beyond the Tourist Trail (62 parks, 2020)

This adventure guide by National Geographic takes a different approach that inspires the reader to go further than the typical national park tourist and experience what the greater masses don’t.

The book isn’t so much full of secrets as it is full of destinations that most people just aren’t willing to make the hike to see.

Secrets of the National Parks: The Experts' Guide to the Best Experiences Beyond the Tourist Trail
$24.99 $17.59
Notable Features:
⭐️ Travel-friendly size: (5.25" x 0.65" x 8.35")
⭐️ Expert, local, and park ranger advice
⭐️ Rarely-seen viewpoints
⭐️ Challenging hikes
⭐️ Wildlife viewing tips
⭐️ "Secret Tips" for each park
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11/23/2022 12:26 am GMT

Written by park rangers, experts, and travelers, this book is full of tips to help you get the most out of your visit to America’s national parks.

Updated and redesigned, this edition includes the newest national parks and features expert advice from rangers, park managers, and locals.

13. 100 Parks, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do (2019)

Need help composing your bucket list? Here’s an imposing list to prime your inspiration.

Going beyond the national parks to include state and city parks, this National Geographic guide is designed to target the best parks, even if they’re not among those in the NPS family.

100 Parks, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do
$29.99 $19.97
Notable Features:
⭐️ Travel-friendly size (7.25" x 1" x 9.13")
⭐️ Overview of each park
⭐️ Detailed travel and lodging advice
⭐️ Interesting facts
⭐️ Insider info about wildlife
⭐️ Expert hiking, biking, camping, and exploring tips
⭐️ Top 10 Lists throughout that target varied interests
⭐️ Stunning photography
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11/23/2022 12:18 am GMT

Filled with beautiful photography and helpful tips, this book is perfect for anyone looking to explore the natural beauty of our continent. Whether you’re looking for a place to hike, bike, camp, or canoe, you’ll find all the information you need right here.

With top 10 lists throughout and ideas for nearby day trips, this is a one-stop-shop for planning the perfect park vacation.

National Park Coffee Table Books

When you can’t be there yourself and need a national park fix, or you’re just looking for inspiration when planning your next adventure, these coffee table books are sure to get you itchin’ to hit the trail.

14. Our National Monuments: America’s Hidden Gems (2021)

Our first coffee table book celebrates and introduces America’s lesser-known national monuments and invites explorers away from the crowded paths of the national forests.

Our National Monuments: America's Hidden Gems
$55.00 $34.49

The book is filled with stunning landscape photography that captures the essence and beauty of these monuments. Each photograph is accompanied by travel notes and conservationist introductions that provide additional context about the monument.

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11/23/2022 12:18 am GMT

The book is filled with stunning landscape photography that captures the essence and beauty of these monuments. Each photograph is accompanied by travel notes and conservationist introductions that provide additional context about the monument.

Our National Monuments is an essential read for anyone who wants to explore and learn more about these unique places.

15. America’s National Parks: An American Legacy (62 parks, 2020)

The National Parks: An American Legacy is a photographic book that celebrates the natural beauty of the United States’ national parks.

The book, through the camera of Ian Shive, contains over 200 spectacular pictures of the parks, from Denali National Park in Alaska to Yellowstone National Park.

America's National Parks: An American Legacy
$27.50 $21.86

The book, through the camera of Ian Shive, contains over 200 spectacular pictures of the parks, from Denali National Park in Alaska to Yellowstone National Park.

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11/23/2022 12:21 am GMT

Additionally, poignant essays by conservancy groups from across the country are included, providing an in-depth look at the history and significance of the national parks.

The National Parks: An American Legacy is a must-have for anyone who loves nature and wants to learn more about America’s rich heritage. With stunning photography and informative essays, this book provides an unforgettable look at the beauty and importance of our national parks.

16. USA National Parks: Lands of Wonder (62 parks, 2020)

USA National Parks: Lands of Wonder is a celebration of the United States’ national parks.

The book is jam-packed with stunning images and innovative ideas for your next excursion, whether you want to venture into Alaska’s Denali Park’s vast and haunting wilderness or get up close to the teeming tropical animals of Florida’s Everglades.

USA National Parks: Lands of Wonder
$30.00 $19.29

The book is jam-packed with stunning images and innovative ideas for your next excursion, whether you want to venture into Alaska's Denali Park's vast and haunting wilderness or get up close to the teeming tropical animals of Florida's Everglades.

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11/23/2022 12:17 am GMT

All 62 national parks as of 2020 are covered, showcasing what makes each one unique.

The book also features maps, facts and figures, things to do, and when and where to experience each park at its best.

17. Walks of a Lifetime in America’s National Parks: Extraordinary Hikes in Exceptional Places (62 parks, 2020)

Walks of a Lifetime in America’s National Parks is a comprehensive guide to the very best trails in America’s national parks.

Best National Park Coffee Table Books
Walks of a Lifetime in America's National Parks: Extraordinary Hikes in Exceptional Places
$34.95 $21.99

Walks of a Lifetime in America's National Parks is a comprehensive guide to the very best trails in America's national parks.

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11/23/2022 12:23 am GMT

The book is written by Bob and Martha Manning, veteran Hiking Ambassadors for the American Hiking Society. The Mannings offer first-hand descriptions of the hikes, which range from short nature trails to backpacking trips.

The book is richly illustrated with hundreds of color photographs and provides practical advice on how to visit and hike the national parks.

18. Roaming America: Exploring All the National Parks (59 parks, 2019)

Renee Roaming and Matthew Hahnel are professional photographers who have a passion for exploring the world.

Roaming America: Exploring All the National Parks
$49.99 $42.49

In Roaming America, these two wanderlust-driven adventurers offer an extensive guide to 59 of the US National Parks complete with details on accessibility and facilities as well as tips on how best to enjoy your visit there.

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11/23/2022 12:19 am GMT

They’ve driven across 39 states, boarded 26 flights, hiked countless trails, visited 59 National Parks; but they never forgot their goal – to share their journey with you in the form of this book.

In Roaming America, these two wanderlust-driven adventurers offer an extensive guide to 59 of the US National Parks complete with details on accessibility and facilities as well as tips on how best to enjoy your visit there.

19. National Geographic’s Atlas of the National Parks (61 parks, 2019)

National Geographic’s Atlas of the National Parks is a stunning atlas that showcases America’s spectacular park system from coast to coast.

National Geographic Atlas of the National Parks
$65.00 $44.49

This beautiful book, which is packed with hundreds of images and graphics to tell the tales of America's sixty-one most cherished national parks, features authoritative park maps with numerous pictures and photographs to present the histories of our nation's 61 beloved national parks.

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11/23/2022 12:21 am GMT

This beautiful book, which is packed with hundreds of images and graphics to tell the tales of America’s sixty-one most cherished national parks, features authoritative park maps with numerous pictures and photographs to present the histories of our nation’s 61 beloved national parks.

Jonathan Waterman, a retired ranger and author, introduces readers to the nation’s beautiful reserves and vividly contrasts each one’s distinctive characteristics: magnificent landmarks, flourishing ecosystems, representative animals, fascinating histories, and more.

This rich reference offers an up-close look at what makes these places special, with stunning imagery and cutting-edge visuals that show facts about animals, climate, culture, archaeology, tourism, and more.

20. Treasured Lands: A Photographic Odyssey Through America’s National Parks 2nd Expanded Edition (62 parks, 2019)

QT Luong’s Treasured Lands is a coffee table book packed with stunning photography of America’s first 62 national parks.

Best National Park Coffee Table Books
Treasured Lands: A Photographic Odyssey Through America's National Parks
$101.78

QT Luong's Treasured Lands is a coffee table book packed with stunning photography of America's first 62 national parks.

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11/23/2022 12:25 am GMT

The photos are accompanied by location notes and maps, as well as extended captions that detail where and how the photographs were made.

The goal of the book is to encourage visitors to connect with the parks and invite photographers to re-create these settings, as well as provide historical and cultural context to the photographs.

21. National Geographic’s The National Parks: An Illustrated History (2015)

Don’t knock it ’cause it’s a little older.

National Geographic’s the National Parks: An Illustrated History is a lavish celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.

National Geographic The National Parks: An Illustrated History
$50.00 $29.49

This book offers a breathtaking panorama of the National Parks, showcasing the finest of National Geographic's images combined with an expertly told history.

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11/23/2022 12:17 am GMT

This book offers a breathtaking panorama of the National Parks, showcasing the finest of National Geographic’s images combined with an expertly told history.

With stories ranging from the first woman park ranger to a rather amateur scuba expedition that uncovered a submerged Civil War treasure trove, and much more, Kim Heacox brings readers on a private guided tour of America’s rich natural and cultural history.

The full sweep of wonders-from pristine coral reefs to the Gettysburg battlefield to glaciers and all the glorious diversity in between-offers a breathtaking tour of the very best of America’s national treasures.

22. The National Parks: America’s Best Idea (2009)

National Parks: America’s Best Idea tells the story of how national parks were created and the importance they have for all Americans.

The National Parks: America's Best Idea
$65.00 $30.04

The book, written by Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan, is filled with beautiful photographs of national parks across the country. The book traces the history of the park system's development, beginning with its creation in Yosemite and stretching up to the present.

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11/23/2022 12:26 am GMT

The book, written by Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan, is filled with beautiful photographs of national parks across the country. The book traces the history of the park system’s development, beginning with its creation in Yosemite and stretching up to the present.

They also introduce readers to the key characters who were transformed by these special places and fought for their protection.

National Park History, Biographies, and Memoirs

The history, discovery, and continued exploration of our national parks is a fascinating, multi-faceted epic told from the perspectives of countless individuals and nationalities.

These works tell much of that tale; but, it’s merely a drop in an ocean of history and legacy.

National Park History

The following resources provide the fascinating histories, uncomfortable truths, and harrowing tales of our national parks.

Each one will leave you enlightened, amazed, humbled, and perhaps even a little uncomfortable by the story of how our parks came to be … ours.

23. Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America (2016)

In his book, Douglas Brinkley examines the environmental legacy of FDR and the New Deal.

Theodore Roosevelt’s legendary passion for outdoor exploration and audacious goal to defend 234 million acres of wild America is celebrated in Douglas Brinkley’s best-selling Theodore Roosevelt: Wilderness Warrior.

Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America
$35.00 $28.28

In Rightful Heritage, Brinkley discusses the other indefatigable environmental hero—Teddy's distant relative Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the creator of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and main defender of America's national parks—in detail.

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11/23/2022 12:28 am GMT

In Rightful Heritage, Brinkley discusses the other indefatigable environmental hero—Teddy’s distant relative Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the creator of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and main defender of America’s national parks—in detail.

FDR constructed numerous State Park systems and beautiful roadways from the ground up. His leadership preserved intact natural areas such as the Great Smokies, the Everglades, Joshua Tree, the Olympics, Big Bend National Park, Channel Islands National Park, Mammoth Cave National Park, and Utah’s slickrock wilderness.

24. Dispossessing the Wilderness: Indian Removal and the Making of National Parks (2000)

A work of uncomfortable truths.

Dispossessing the Wilderness is a book about the eviction of American Indians from national parks.

Dispossessing the Wilderness: Indian Removal and the Making of the National Parks
$37.95

The author, William H. Spence, documents the separate but symbiotic developments of the Indian reservation and recreational park systems, and how they have interacted throughout history.

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11/23/2022 12:25 am GMT

The author, William H. Spence, documents the separate but symbiotic developments of the Indian reservation and recreational park systems, and how they have interacted throughout history.

Dr. Burkhart examines the ideas that have resulted in discriminatory policies against Native Americans on federally run parks, including a look at how they evolved and how they were changed by organizations such as the National Park Service (NPS).

The book concludes with an examination of the current tensions between Indians and park officials, as both groups attempt to reclaim their rightful place in these iconic areas.

25. Death, Daring, and Disaster: Search and Rescue in the National Parks (1999)

This nail-biter by Butch Farabee tells the story of the National Park Service through 375 tales of heroism and tragedy.

Death, Daring, & Disaster - Search and Rescue in the National Parks
$23.95

Drawn from nearly 150,000 search and rescue missions carried out by the National Park Service since 1872, this book provides a unique look at the history and work of the Park Service.

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11/23/2022 12:18 am GMT

Drawn from nearly 150,000 search and rescue missions carried out by the National Park Service since 1872, this book provides a unique look at the history and work of the Park Service.

With stories that include everything from mountaineering catastrophes to drownings to grizzly bear attacks, Death, Daring, and Disaster provides a fascinating glimpse into the world of national parks.

National Park Memoirs

The wilderness of the national parks will leave a defining mark on those who experience it beyond that of the typical tourist.

Walk in the shoes of those who have gone far beyond visiting the parks to experiencing them in a soul-altering way.

26. Leave Only Footprints: My Acadia-to-Zion Journey Through Every National Park (2021)

Leave Only Footprints is a New York Times Bestseller written by CBS’s Sunday Morning correspondent host, Conor Knighton.  

This inspirational book tells the story of a man who travels to 59 national parks in America over the course of one year and his experiences along the way.  He shares both informative and entertaining stories from what turned out to be a road trip of a lifetime.

Leave Only Footprints: My Acadia-to-Zion Journey Through Every National Park
$17.00 $14.99

Leave Only Footprints is a New York Times Bestseller written by CBS's Sunday Morning correspondent host, Conor Knighton.  

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This is not your average guidebook. It’s thoughtfully composed of intriguing facts and contemplations on our parks’ past and uncertain future. Every page of Knighton’s book is a reflection of his passion for the natural wonders that all Americans share.

27. The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks (2017)

Awarded an Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence and a Washington Post Notable Book of the Year, The Hour of Land is a timeless work.

Terry Tempest Williams, the New York Times bestselling author of Refuge, and the beloved memoir When Women Were Birds, returns with this lyrical exploration on what national parks mean to us and what we mean to them.

The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks
$20.00 $13.99

Terry Tempest Williams, the New York Times bestselling author of Refuge, and the beloved memoir When Women Were Birds, returns with this lyrical exploration on what national parks mean to us and what we mean to them.

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11/23/2022 12:20 am GMT

This meditation is a manifesto on why wild places are important to the soul of America, and it’s a mix of autobiography, natural history, and social criticism.

Williams captures the distinctive magnificence of each national park from Wyoming’s Grand Tetons to Maine’s Acadia. She examines the significance of fashion a landscape with its own evolutionary history into something of our own.

28. Lassoing the Sun: A Year in America’s National Parks (2016)

Lassoing the Sun is a book about family, national parks, and legacies.

Author Mark Woods takes readers on a journey through America’s national parks as he reconnects with nature and his childhood memories.

Lassoing the Sun: A Year in America's National Parks
$34.90

Author Mark Woods takes readers on a journey through America's national parks as he reconnects with nature and his childhood memories.

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11/23/2022 12:16 am GMT

What began as a book about the future of national parks turned into something more after his mother was diagnosed with cancer and given just months to live.

This remarkable story captures the essence of national parks and their power to heal.

29. Ranger Confidential: Living Working, and Dying in the National Parks (2010)

Ranger Confidential is a graphic and yet surprisingly funny account of Park Ranger Andrea Lankford’s and others’ extraordinary careers.

Lankford reveals a world in which park rangers fight to keep their idealism alive in the face of death, disillusionment, and the loss of a colleague killed while defending that fragile green line between keeping the park safe from people, people from the park, and people from each other.

Ranger Confidential: Living, Working, And Dying In The National Parks
$16.95 $14.49

Ranger Confidential is a graphic and yet surprisingly funny account of Park Ranger Andrea Lankford's and others’ extraordinary careers.

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11/23/2022 12:17 am GMT

Ranger Confidential is the inside story of the United States’ iconic national parks: Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains, and Denali. Majestic scenery can be as cruel as it is redemptive in these iconic vistas, where nature and humanity constantly collide.

National Park Biographies

From the people who fought for the protection of our national parklands, to the people who became inseparable from them to their dying breath – these are just a few of their stories.

30. A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir (2011)

The book chronicles the life of John Muir from his Scottish and frontier Wisconsin boyhood to his adult years in California right after the Civil War up to the eve of World War I.

This biography recounts his marriage and family life, life as a son to an abusive father, various, lasting friendships (including Theodore Roosevelt and Ralph Waldo Emerson), and his involvement in establishing modern American conservationism.

A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir
$24.95 $16.85

The book chronicles the life of John Muir from his Scottish and frontier Wisconsin boyhood to his adult years in California right after the Civil War up to the eve of World War I.

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11/23/2022 12:21 am GMT

This work chronicles how Muir’s love of nature inspired Americans to establish a legacy of national parks and wild areas, including the iconic Yosemite. It also tells of Muir as a successful fruit farmer, an accomplished scientist, and world traveler, a devoted father and husband, and a self-made man of wealth and political influence.

A man for life in the mountains was “a pathway to revelation and worship.”

31. The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America (2010)

The Wilderness Warrior is a comprehensive biography of Theodore Roosevelt by Douglas Brinkley.

The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America
$22.99 $16.19

The book chronicles Roosevelt's life and achievements, with a particular focus on his environmentalism and conservationism. The book has won numerous awards, including the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for History.

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11/23/2022 12:24 am GMT

The book chronicles Roosevelt’s life and achievements, with a particular focus on his environmentalism and conservationism. The book has won numerous awards, including the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for History.

32. The Last Season (2007)

Written by Eric Blehm, this classic of adventure literature provides a riveting detective story interwoven with the biography of a complicated, original, and wholly fascinating man.

The Last Season
$17.99 $12.99

Written by Eric Blehm, this classic of adventure literature provides a riveting detective story interwoven with the biography of a complicated, original, and wholly fascinating man.

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11/23/2022 12:25 am GMT

Randy Morgenson was a backcountry ranger who disappeared without a trace in California’s unforgiving Sierra Nevada mountains. The book is a great read for anyone who loves the outdoors and wants to learn more about the dangers that come with living in them.

National Park Books for Kids

For better or for worse, our children will inherit our national parks.

Let’s make sure it’s for the better.

Foster in them an appreciation and respect for the wonder and legacy of our nation’s wild treasures so future generations can experience the wonder as we have.

Here are a few resources to get you started.

33. The National Parks: Discover All 62 National Parks of the United States (62 parks, 2020)

The national parks are a national treasure. They’re also an American legacy: the oldest, most diverse, and largest national park system in the world.

Best National Parks Children's Books
The National Parks: Discover all 62 National Parks of the United States
$19.99 $13.60

This book is an engaging and educational introduction to America's national parks for young nature enthusiasts who want to learn about these natural spaces, their animals and plants, and what they can do to help protect them.

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11/23/2022 12:20 am GMT

And now kids can explore all 62 of them (does not include the newest New River Gorge), the activities offered by each park, safety tips, park etiquette, and nature conservation.

This book is an engaging and educational introduction to America’s national parks for young nature enthusiasts who want to learn about these natural spaces, their animals and plants, and what they can do to help protect them.

34. Lonely Planet Kid’s America’s National Parks (60 parks, 2019)

This beautifully illustrated book is packed with interesting facts and photos, making it the perfect guide for anyone fascinated by these amazing landscapes.

Best National Parks Children's Books
(Lonely Planet Kids) America's National Parks
$16.99

This beautifully illustrated book is packed with interesting facts and photos, making it the perfect guide for anyone fascinated by these amazing landscapes.

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You’ll discover 60 national parks across the continental USA, Hawaii, American Samoa, and the US Virgin Islands, each with its own unique landscape and attractions to explore.

35. National Parks of the U.S.A. (21 parks, 2018)

Recognized as an Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K-12 (National Science Teachers Association and the Children’s Book Council) National Parks of the U.S.A. is a book that celebrates the natural beauty and diversity of America’s national parks.

National Parks of the USA
$30.00 $16.99

Recognized as an Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K-12 (National Science Teachers Association and the Children's Book Council) National Parks of the U.S.A. is a book that celebrates the natural beauty and diversity of America's national parks.

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11/23/2022 12:27 am GMT

The book is packed with maps, illustrations, and captivating facts about the flora and fauna that make their homes in each of the 21 national parks covered.

Kids and adults alike will love this book for its inspiring and educational look at some of America’s most majestic landscapes.

36. National Geographic’s Junior Ranger Activity Book (59 parks, 2016)

A bit dated; however, still an activity-packed, accurate resource to take along when traveling through the national parks, National Geographic’s Junior Ranger Activity Book is a great way to get kids interested in America’s national parks.

National Geographic's Junior Ranger Activity Book
$14.99 $10.99

The book is filled with games, trivia, jokes, fun facts, and more. It also features beautiful illustrations of the first 59 national parks.

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11/23/2022 12:22 am GMT

The book is filled with games, trivia, jokes, fun facts, and more. It also features beautiful illustrations of the first 59 national parks.

This book is ideal for brushing up on trivia, generating pre-trip enthusiasm, long car journeys, and general learning.

37. National Geographic Kid’s National Parks Guide USA Centennial Edition (59 parks, 2016)

The National Geographic Kids’ National Parks Guide is a comprehensive book that provides information on 59 national parks in the United States.

National Geographic Kids National Parks Guide USA Centennial Edition
$14.99 $9.99

The guide is filled with color photos, interesting lists, conservation tips, and more. It is a perfect resource for anyone who wants to learn more about national parks or is planning a visit to one.

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11/23/2022 12:26 am GMT

The guide is filled with color photos, interesting lists, conservation tips, and more. It is a perfect resource for anyone who wants to learn more about national parks or is planning a visit to one.

Wrapping Up National Park Books … For Now.

We hope you’ve found this list of the best books about U.S. National Parks helpful as you plan your next trip to one (or more) of these amazing places.

Whether you’re looking for a guidebook, a bucket list book, coffee table inspiration, or even something to read to the kids before bed, we’ve got you covered.

Happy planning and happy trails!

Now, get out there!

Joshua Davis

Being outdoors is freedom! Being outdoors with my wife and two boys is LIVING! Whether in my backyard or getting lost in a National Park, there’s nothing I’d rather do than explore, discover, and experience the paradise that surrounds us. Give me my family, a backpack, and a trail and my life is full!