Monday, March 7, 2016

Book Review - National Geographic Guide to National Parks of the United States

Book Review - National Geographic Guide to National Parks of the United States  8th Edition

This 8th edition of the guide has been published to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.  It's been completely redesigned with updated information and maps.  Did you know that there are 59 National Parks?  Pull out your notebook and start making plans because once you open the book, you're going to want to visit a large majority of the parks.  

The guide is broken down into 8 sections:

  • East
  • Midwest
  • South Central
  • Southwest
  • Rocky Mountain
  • Pacific Southwest
  • Pacific Northwest
  • Alaska
Each section is then further broken down by individual park, which each has a thorough description, a map, and pertinent information such as How to get there, When to go, Visitor Centers, Headquarters, Camping and Lodging.  Furthermore, the entire book features 80 full color maps and over 220 color photographs.   Let's take a look at some of my favorites...

Mammoth Cave
Kentucky Established July 1, 1941 52,830 acres
A Mammoth Cave lantern tour.

One of the world’s great natural wonders, Mammoth Cave National Park sits beneath Kentucky hills and hollows. It earned its grandiose designation in the early 19th century, when tourists marveled at the enormity of its underground chambers. With more than 400 miles of mapped passageways, Mammoth Cave National Park encompasses the planet’s longest known cave system, with five levels and caves yet to be discovered.....

Grand Canyon
Arizona Established February 26, 1919 1.2 million acres
View from Desert View Drive, on the South Rim

Like the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon is an American icon. (It’s almost as if the majesty of the American West has been poured into a limestone riverbed.) Theodore Roosevelt considered it his civic duty to urge every American to see it. And around five million people come to Grand Canyon National Park every year, from all over the globe. Indeed, the canyon is considered one of the seven wonders of the natural world....

Great Sand Dunes
Colorado Established September 13, 2004 149,137 acres
Dunes and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains
Undulating sweeps of sand—the tallest sand dunes in North America—rise precipitously and improbably from the rolling grasslands of the San Luis Valley in mountainous south-central Colorado. Craggy spires of the Sangre de Cristo range soar directly behind the dunes, reaching skyward more than 13,000 feet. A coalescence of grass, sand, water, forest, and rock forms the visually striking ecosystem that is Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve....

Death Valley
California & Nevada Established October 31, 1994 3.4 million acres
Badwater Basin
Hottest, driest, lowest, largest . . . Death Valley dazzles, even intimidates, with superlatives. The largest national park in the Lower 48 has indeed recorded the world’s highest temperature (134° F), nets less than two inches of rain a year, and contains the lowest spot in North America. But those extremes can add up to fascination. Death Valley National Park is nothing short of spellbinding....

California Established January 10, 2013 27,214 acres
The park’s namesakes are the eroded leftovers of an extinct volcano.
Pinnacles—America’s newest national park—is a geologic playground, a rumpled volcanic landscape of protruding lava spires, massive rocky bastions, and crenellated cliffs interlaced with dense, woody chaparral and woodlands of oak and pine. Located in west central California, in the Gabilan Range (part of the Coast Range), Pinnacles National Park offers 32 miles of hiking trails and an impressive roster of fauna (there are more than 500 species of moths in the park alone)....

Sequoia & Kings Canyon
California Sequoia Established September 25, 1890 Kings Canyon Established March 4, 1940 865,964 acres (total)
Horses work the trail.
The largest tree on earth (by volume). The highest mountain in the contiguous United States. One of the deepest canyons in North America. Some of the most remote wilderness in the Lower 48. It’s all about grand scale in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks—and yet these adjoining and jointly administered parks also offer a multitude of intimate natural treasures and experiences, in the backcountry as well as closer to the heart of things....

Crater Lake
Oregon Established May 22, 1902 183,224 acres
Snowmelt feeds Crater Lake.
More than 5 trillion gallons of water fill the crater— what remains of Mount Mazama. With a surface area of 21 square miles and depth of 1,943 feet, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States. In addition the size of Crater Lake National Park, it is the stunning sapphire water that etches itself in memory...

One of the things I liked best about this guidebook is the size - with dimensions of 5.3 x .8 x 8.4 inches and 496 pages it's perfect for carrying in the car, a suitcase or a backpack.  As I read through the book I found myself making lots of notes of the places I'm adding to my bucket list.  Somebody give me a camper - I want to leave now!

All of the images are from National Geographic Guide to National Parks of the United States 8th Edition.  All photos credit:  Photo by Phil Schermeister/National Geographic

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.   Get your copy here

(I was given an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  Images are the property of the publisher and cannot be reproduced without consent.) 


  1. My kinda book! My favorites - Crater Lake, Grand Canyon, Zion, Badlands, Yellowstone, and Olympic National Park. Oh - and Denali too!

    1. Linda, you would really enjoy this book. Highly recommend!

  2. Oh and I forgot - Glacier National Park too! :)

  3. Replies
    1. It's a really nice book John. I think you'd enjoy it.

  4. I would love to get this book. We have lifetime passes to all our National Parks now! And we go to Canaveral National Park every chance we get! It makes me want to travel to see so many others I want to visit! Great review my friend. Hugs!!!

    1. Diane, you would really like this book. I want to hop in the car and start visiting them all!

  5. Wouldn't this book make a great retirement gift? In particular, I'd like to see Sequoia and Kings Canyon!

    1. I totally agree. I wish someone would give me a camper so I could take off and start visiting them all. :-)

  6. You are the perfect person to review this book, Kim!!
    I'm sure you will visit as many of these places as you can, and then the reviews will REALLY begin!!
    Love to you, my friend.
    I plan to use the linens for some angel wing sachets I'm going to try making...Thank you!!

    1. I want to pack and leave and start visiting all these parks now. Unfortunately, finances keep me from doing that. LOL.

      Be sure to show me what you end up doing with the linens. xo

  7. Ooh...this looks like a great book for a gift. I might have to get it for my mom and dad. Hope you have a great week!

    Hugs, Vicky

    1. LOL - I see we were reading each others blogs at the same time - what are the chances??

      It's a GREAT gift book. I promise you that you will sneak a few peeks thru it before you wrap it tho.


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