The Best Yellowstone and Grand Teton Books

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From epic narratives of discovery and exploration to comprehensive field guides, these must-read Yellowstone and Grand Teton books dive deep into the history, natural environment and wonder of Wyoming’s two iconic national parks. If you’re planning a visit to either park, you’ll surely want to put a few of these books on your reading list.

Must-Read Grand Teton National Park Books

The Best Yellowstone and Grand Teton Books

Wapiti Wilderness | By Olaus Murie and Margaret Murie

This classic, first published in 1965, paints a picture of family life for wilderness advocates Olaus and Margaret Murie in Jackson, Wyoming. Alternating chapters, Margaret recounts tales of their adventures in the region, while her biologist husband Olaus writes about his groundbreaking work studying the American elk and other animals of the West.

Teewinot: A Year in the Teton Range | By Jack Turner

The Teton range as seen by Jack Turner, a local mountain guide and philosophical naturalist, in the vein of Edward Abbey. He reflects on the environmental and human history of the region, while offering up anecdotal tales of his own adventures.

Best Yellowstone National Park Books

The Best Yellowstone and Grand Teton Books

Yellowstone: A Visitor’s Companion | By George Wuethner

Through over 100 illustrations, including both color and black-and-white photographs, this Yellowstone handbook offers a nice overview of the park’s natural history, including its geology, ecology, flora and fauna.

Lost in My Own Backyard: A Walk in Yellowstone National Park | By Tim Cahill

With gee-whiz wonder, lore and self-deprecating humor, Tim Cahill takes readers on a journey through Yellowstone as he recounts tales from his 25 years of exploration in the park.

Empire of Shadows: The Epic Story of Yellowstone | By George Black

A well-researched and adventure-filled narrative about the discovery and exploration of Yellowstone, as well as the complicated history behind its establishment as the first national park in the U.S.

The Spirit of Yellowstone | By Judith L. Meyer

A thought-provoking history and commentary on Yellowstone National Park and its importance in American culture.

Death in Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park |By Lee H. Whittlesey

An oddly absorbing chronicle of cautionary tales about what can go terribly wrong—freak avalanches, animal attacks, and other unfortunate events—in one of the most popular national parks in the U.S.

The Return of the Wolf to Yellowstone | By Thomas McNamee

Richly detailed, dramatic and comic, this book recounts the politics, biology and symbolism surrounding the wolf’s return to Yellowstone.

Of Wolves and Men | By Barry Lopez

An eloquent, powerful book that is an outstanding overview of the wolf, as well as a survey of wolf mythology and its relationship to human society.

Searching for Yellowstone: Ecology and Wonder in the Last Wilderness | By Paul D. Schullery

Paul Schullery, former ranger, park historian, and chief of cultural resources at Yellowstone National Park, shares an engaging social and environmental history of the first national park.

Field Guides & Travel Resources

The Best Yellowstone and Grand Teton Books

Lonely Planet Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks | By Bradley Mayhew and Carolyn McCarthy

This comprehensive guide covers not only the practicalities of where to go, what to do and how to do it, but also includes an excellent overview of the natural history of the Yellowstone and Grand Teton region.

Grizzly Bears: A Falcon Field Guide | By Jack Ballard

Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about one of the most feared mammals. A factual and easy-to-digest resource for anybody heading into grizzly territory.

For Everything There is a Season: The Sequence of Natural Events in the Grand Teton-Yellowstone Area | By Frank C. Craighead, Jr.

Biologist and longtime Jackson, Wyoming resident, Frank Craighead, has compiled years of observations into a comprehensive natural history guide for the Yellowstone and Grand Teton region. Organized week-by-week, readers can discover the local flora and fauna through the seasons of the year.

Central Rocky Mountain Wildflowers: Including Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks | By H. Wayne Phillips

A Falcon Guide to more than 260 species of wildflowers, featuring vibrant photographs and detailed descriptions.  Organized by color and family, the book includes the most conspicuous and commonly encountered flowers.

National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Rocky Mountain States | By Peter Alden

A compact field guide to 1,000 commonly encountered plants and animals of Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. With 1,500 color photographs, 11 maps, and 16 night-sky charts.

Sibley Birds West: Field Guide to Birds of Western North America | By David Sibley

A compact, geographically-specific version of the Sibley Guide, including range maps, glorious illustrations and extremely valuable descriptions of individual birds.

Geology & Ecology of Wyoming

The Best Yellowstone and Grand Teton Books

Windows into the Earth: The Geologic Story of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks | By Robert B. Smith and Lee J. Siegel

Illustrated with more than 50 color photographs, Window into the Earth documents the geologic history of the northern Rockies, and more specifically, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.

Rising from the Plains | By John McPhee

Few nature writers are as vivid or compelling as John McPhee. A great storyteller and reporter, here he profiles U.S. Geological Survey scientist David Love while simultaneously writing a sophisticated, elegant and accessible description of the geology of Wyoming and the northern Rockies.

Mountains and Plains: The Ecology of Wyoming Landscapes | By Dennis Knight, George Jones, William Reiners and William Romme

This book explores the ecology of Wyoming through maps, photographs, text and line drawings. The authors pay particular attention to Yellowstone National Park and other areas of special interest.

Additional Recommendations

The Best Yellowstone and Grand Teton Books

The Hour of Land | By Terry Tempest Williams

Bestselling author and conservationist, Terry Tempest Williams, delivers an eloquently written ode to our national parks and also explores why our parks and wilderness areas are so meaningful and important to us as Americans.

Camping and Tramping with Roosevelt | By John Burroughs

In this classic biography, naturalist John Burroughs paints an intimate portrait of President Teddy Roosevelt and his passion for the outdoors gleaned from their travels together in Yellowstone National Park.

The Solace of Open Spaces | By Gretel Ehrlich

For these 12 essays on Wyoming, the author—an easterner who transplanted to a Wyoming ranch 20 years ago—writes in eloquent, sparse prose appropriate to the landscapes of the region.


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