Essential Reading for a Trip to Yellowstone National Park
Whether you need a Yellowstone travel guide book, to learn about the history of the park, are fascinated about the story of the reintroduction of the wolves into Yellowstone or are just looking to escape with a fun but topical read for your Yellowstone vacation, here is our list of the best books about Yellowstone National Park to add to your recommended reading (pre-during and even post vacation).
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Death in Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park by Lee H. Whittlesey
This was the first of a series of books about deaths in the national. It’s the kind of book you can’t quite believe you’re reading, but you just can’t put it down. It details all the deaths that have occurred in Yellowstone – from bison gorings and grizzly bear attacks to people being dissolved in hot springs and buried in avalanches. If you revel in the gruesome and macabre, you’ll love this Yellowstone book.
Lost in My Own Backyard: A Walk in Yellowstone National Park by Tim Cahill
Written by the author Tim Cahill, who lives a stone’s throw from the park, this is one of the best books on Yellowstone National Park. With humor and an easy-to-read style, Cahill describes easy day hikes and explores less-trafficked back country hiking trails. Discover through his musing the geysers, hot springs, and wildlife of the park. There is also a section on his favorite books about the park.
Yellowstone: A Visitor’s Companion by George Wuethner
If you want to discover much more about the park before you go, then get this Yellowstone National Park book. Packed full of fascinating information about the history, ecology, wildlife and plant life and other environmental features and supplemented with over 100 illustrations and photos. From how the park formed to modern day ecological issues, covering the gamut from grizzly bears to geysers, this will give you great insight into the park.
Yellowstone Guide Books
Compass American Guides: Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks by Brian Kevin
This is my pick for the best Yellowstone guide book. It covers all aspects of the park from useful tips to where to stay, where to eat and what to see. It’s actually one of the guide books on Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, though the Yellowstone section is larger.
Lonely Planet Yellowstone National Park Guide Book
Another pick for the best guide book for Yellowstone, the Lonely Planet guide books are hard to beat. All the essential information you need for a trip to the park.
Hiking Yellowstone National Park by Bill Schneider
This is one of the best Yellowstone hiking guide books. It provides information on more than 100 hiking trails in the park, from easy day hikes that most people can do to longer back country hikes you need a permit for.
Yellowstone Wildlife Pocket Guide by James Kavanagh and Raymond Leung
Yellowstone is teeming with wildlife. Get the most out of your trip with this handy pocket guide to the animals and birds you might see. Being able to identify what you see adds to your enjoyment and this is super portable, making it easy to take with you around the park.
Books About Yellowstone Wolves
The Return of the Wolf to Yellowstone by Thomas McNamee
The story of how wolves were returned to Yellowstone and the unexpected and far-reaching impact that this had on the environment within the park is absolutely fascinating. This book covers this story in depth, including the politics behind the wolves’ return, in an easy and engaging style.
Book About Yellowstone Eruption
Ashfall by Mike Mullin
Yellowstone actually sits atop a gigantic dormant supervolcano. This is fuel for a fictional fantasy of what would happen if the enormous volcano stirred to life and erupted. This one tells the story of the main character Alex after the supervolcano erupts and turns the world to hell, and his journey to find his family.
Supervolcano: Eruption by Harry Turtledove
The second of these books has the Yellowstone supervolcano erupting and starting the next ice age. It tells the story of a detective from Los Angeles (where it now snows) and how he and the people in his life start to recreate a new world. If you like a good post-apocalyptic tale, then this one’s for you.
Books Set in Yellowstone
Death Canyon by David Riley Bertsch
This is the first in a series of murder thrillers set in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. The main character is Jake Trenton, a detective based in Jackson Hole, just south of Yellowstone. If you like murder mysteries and love national parks, what could be better than them combined into one?
Best Books About Yellowstone History
Empire of Shadows: The Epic Story of Yellowstone by George Black
Yellowstone was the first national park established in the United States, so it has a storied history. This is a great account of the exploration of the park and all that went into its establishment as a national park.
The Spirit of Yellowstone by Judith L. Meyer
This book explores the history of Yellowstone National Park through the lens of the ‘spirit’ of the park and the attitudes people have had towards the park and the influence it has on people over the years. It includes historic photos, artistic renditions and stunning modern-day photos.
The Stories of Yellowstone: Adventure Tales from the World’s First National Park by Mark M. Miller
Based on the letters, journals, and diaries of visitors and tourists from the early 1800’s to the early 1900’s, this book is filled with tales of adventure and awe. From accounts of eruptions of geysers that now lie dormant to stories of feeding the wildlife, these adventures give us a fascinating glimpse into a world that no longer exists.
Kids Books About Yellowstone
Buddy Bison’s Yellowstone Adventure by Ilona E. Holland
One of the best books about Yellowstone Park for kids, this book is fun and informative. It tells the story of twins Elena and Christopher who visit their ranger aunt in Yellowstone. Chris wanders off and Elena’s plush toy bison, Buddy, comes to life and helps her find Chris. Filled with gorgeous photos and sprinkled with fun facts about the park, this is a great way to introduce kids to Yellowstone.
What I Saw in Yellowstone: A Kid’s Guide to the National Park by Durrae Johanek
If you are visiting Yellowstone with kids, then you should get this book. Filled with fun facts and photos of the park’s animals, plants and geothermal features, it includes a section for kids to check off where they saw each of them, as well as directions on where to find them.
Yellowstone National Park for Kids, Preteens, and Teenagers by Stephanie Del Grande
This is a guide book especially written and designed for kids. It has plenty of photos and drawings of the wildlife and geological features in Yellowstone, along with easy-to-read descriptions. It even has word games and puzzles, an animal checklist and packing list.
If you love reading about national parks, check out more books about national parks.
If you are planning to visit Yellowstone in spring, summer or fall, make your planning easy and stress free with a detailed itinerary. I have 1-, 2-, 3-, and 4-day itineraries for Yellowstone that include all the park highlights, give you choices based on your preferred activity level, and take all the stress out of planning your trip.
Are you just starting to think about taking a national parks trip? Get Inspiration
Are you starting to plan a trip to Yellowstone National Park? Read my Guide to Yellowstone National Park
Do you want a ready-made super detailed plan for your trip to Yellowstone? Get a detailed 1 – 4-day Yellowstone National Park Itinerary
Are you looking for a place to stay in or near Yellowstone National Park? Find a vacation rental near Yellowstone National Park or Find a campground inside Yellowstone National Park
Are you ready to book your trip? Use these Planning and Booking Resources
Do you want to read a book about Yellowstone National Park? Check out my Recommended Reading List for Yellowstone National Park
If you are also planning to visit the Grand Tetons, read my Guide to Grand Teton National Park and get a detailed Grand Teton itinerary.
Do you have other books about Yellowstone that you love? Join my private Facebook group National Parks Collectors and comment and let me know.
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About the Reviewer
James Ian has traveled to 82 countries and all 7 continents. He has visited all of the main national parks in the United States, as well as many national monuments and state parks.
He has rafted through the Grand Canyon; rappelled down slot canyons near Zion and Arches; hiked among the hoodoos in Bryce and the enormous trees in Sequoia; admired the waterfalls in Yosemite and the colored hot springs in Yellowstone; seen moose in Grand Tetons and seals in the Channel Islands, and much more.
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