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Spirit of the Desert: The National Parks of the Southwest

READING AND TRAVEL GUIDE

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Books for

Enrich your travels with reading! Here's a hand-picked list prepared for your journey in conjunction with the book experts at Longitude.

Essential Reading

Item EXUSW219. Buy these 5 items as a set for $84 including shipping, 15% off the retail price.
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The National Parks, America's Best Idea

The National Parks, America's Best Idea

by Ken Burns | Dayton Duncan

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 400 PAGES

This lavishly illustrated tale by the dynamic PBS duo brings to life the conservationists, politicians, presidents and dreamers who created our national park system. (USA356, $35.00)

Southwestern Desert Life

Southwestern Desert Life

by Raymond Leung | James Kavanaugh

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 2000
  • PLASTIC CARD

A pocket-size, fold-out guide to the life of the desert Southwest. (SWU43, $6.95)

Desert Solitaire

Desert Solitaire

by Edward Abbey

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 1990
  • PAPER
  • 303 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

One of the great works on the value of the desert, eloquent and laugh-out-loud funny. Although Abbey writes specifically about his experiences as a ranger at Arches National Park outside Moab, Utah, his message is universal. (DES02, $16.00)

Eyewitness Guide Southwest and Las Vegas

Eyewitness Guide Southwest and Las Vegas

by Eyewitness Guides

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2014
  • PAPER
  • 304 PAGES

This thorough, gorgeously illustrated guidebook provides an excellent overview of the Southwest, its history, traditions, cultures and sights. (SWU147, $23.00)

USA Southwest, Southern Rockies Map

USA Southwest, Southern Rockies Map

by Borch Maps

  • 2007
  • MAP

A map of the American Southwest at a scale of 1:3,000,000 with roads, parks and topography. (SWU21, $9.95)

 
Arches National Park

Arches National Park


by Trails Illustrated

  • 2010
  • MAP

This durable topo map covers the park at a walking scale of 1:35,000. (USW163, $11.95)

Bryce Canyon National Park Map

Bryce Canyon National Park Map


by Trails Illustrated

  • 2006
  • MAP

With portions of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and surrounding parks. (USW143, $11.95)

Canyonlands National Park Map

Canyonlands National Park Map


by Trails Illustrated

  • MAP

A durable, topographic map of Canyonlands National Park, Utah, at a scale of 1:62,000. (USW164, $11.95)

Zion National Park

Zion National Park


by Trails Illustrated

  • 2009
  • MAP

This hiker's map (1:28,000) is printed on tear-resistant, waterproof paper. (USW144, $11.95)

Grand Canyon, The Complete Guide

Grand Canyon, The Complete Guide


by James Kaiser

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2014
  • PAPER
  • 304 PAGES

A full-color guide on where to go, what to do, and how to get the most out of your adventures. (SWU190, $19.95)

Hiking Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks

Hiking Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks


by Tamara Martin | Erik Molvar

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2013
  • PAPER
  • 256 PAGES

In addition to useful trail descriptions, maps and safety techniques, this practical hiking guide to Zion and Bryce National Parks gives an overview of the area's natural history. (USW138, $21.95)

The Southwest Inside Out, An Illustrated Guide to the Land and its History

The Southwest Inside Out, An Illustrated Guide to the Land and its History


by Thomas Wiewandt | Maureen Wilks

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2010
  • FLEXI-BOUND
  • 208 PAGES

An outstanding guide to understanding the geomorphology of the Southwest, featuring the author's color photographs of canyons, dunes and other landforms. (USW345, $24.95)

The Traveling Nature Photographer

The Traveling Nature Photographer


by Steven Morello

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 176 PAGES

Morello's handy guide to exploring the natural world through photography includes chapters on preparation, equipment (especially lenses), weather, exposure basics and composition. (PHT31, $29.99)

Ancient Peoples of the American Southwest

Ancient Peoples of the American Southwest


by Stephen Plog | Amy Elizabeth Grey

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 224 PAGES

This illustrated introduction provides an in-depth look at the ancient cultures that first inhabited the pueblos and cliff dwellings of the American Southwest. Organized chronologically, it features hundreds of maps, mostly black-and-white photographs and site diagrams. (USW131, $26.95)

Canyon Wilderness of the Southwest

Canyon Wilderness of the Southwest


by Jon Ortner

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2010
  • HARD COVER
  • 240 PAGES

Bryce, Zion, Arches, Canyonlands and Grand Canyon are all featured in this photographic tribute, a miniature version (7 x 5 1/4 inches) of Jon Ortner's stunning oversized original. (USW632, $18.95)

Colorado Plateau, Wild and Beautiful

Colorado Plateau, Wild and Beautiful


by John Annerino

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2014
  • HARD COVER
  • 120 PAGES

A coffee table tribute to the geological wonderland of "Red Rock Country." Award-winning photographer and writer John Annerino takes us through the echoing canyons, towering hoodoos and cliff dwellings of the region's beautiful parks and reserves. (USW756, $32.95)

Beyond the Hundredth Meridian, John Wesley Powell and the Second Opening of the West

Beyond the Hundredth Meridian, John Wesley Powell and the Second Opening of the West


by Wallace Stegner

  • EXPLORATION
  • 1992
  • PAPER
  • 438 PAGES

The classic, Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of explorer John Wesley Powell by the great Wallace Stegner, first published in 1954. It's both an adventure and an insightful look at the politics of development in the American West. (USW78, $18.00)

The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons

The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons


by John Wesley Powell

  • EXPLORATION
  • 2003
  • PAPER
  • 397 PAGES

The classic tale of adventure and exploration of the rivers and canyonlands of the Colorado Plateau, originally published in 1875 -- and still terrific reading for any traveler to the Grand Canyon. (USW80, $17.00)

Miles from Nowhere

Miles from Nowhere


by Dayton Duncan

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 320 PAGES

Touring the American West from the Rio Grande to the Cascades in a GMC Suburban, covering more than 30,000 miles, Duncan paints a vivid, perceptive portrait of frontier life in contemporary America. (USW675, $19.95)

The Grand Canyon Reader

The Grand Canyon Reader


by Lance Newman

  • ANTHOLOGY
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 245 PAGES

Both an English professor and river guide, Lance Newman selects well from the accounts of early explorers, popular fiction and contemporary literature by writers as diverse as John McPhee, Ann Zwinger, Edward Abbey and Barry Lopez. (SWU490, $20.95)

The Laughing Boy

The Laughing Boy


by Oliver La Farge

  • LITERATURE
  • 2004
  • PAPER
  • 193 PAGES

An ethnographer and archaeologist, La Farge captures the flavor of the landscapes and ways of life in Northern Arizona in the early 20th century in this Pulitzer Prize-winning short novel. (USW240, $14.95)

Cadillac Desert, The American West and Its Disappearing Water

Cadillac Desert, The American West and Its Disappearing Water


by Marc Reisner

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 1993
  • PAPER
  • 582 PAGES

A definitive history of water development in the American desert -- and a now-classic chronicle of wrong-headed policies and misadventures controlling the great rivers of the West. (USW246, $19.00)

Pages of Stone: Geology of Western National Parks and Monuments, Grand Canyon and the Plateau Country

Pages of Stone: Geology of Western National Parks and Monuments, Grand Canyon and the Plateau Country


by Halka Chronic

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 2004
  • PAPER
  • 158 PAGES

An informative guide to the geology of the Colorado Plateau, some of the most ruggedly beautiful land in the Southwest. With mostly black-and-white photographs, maps, diagrams and glossary. (USW380, $21.95)

River Notes, A Natural and Human History of the Colorado

River Notes, A Natural and Human History of the Colorado


by Wade Davis

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 2013
  • PAPER
  • 162 PAGES

A hymn to the Colorado River, including thrilling accounts of Davis' rafting adventures in the Grand Canyon and a vivid report on the state of the American West. The author includes excellent quotes from his heroes Edward Abbey, Eliot Porter, Aldo Leopold and others. (RKY128, $17.50)

Zion Canyon, A Storied Land

Zion Canyon, A Storied Land


by Greer K. Chesher

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 96 PAGES

Chesher, a park ranger and longtime resident of the region, brings a personal and in-depth perspective to Zion Canyon, examining its geological wonders, ecology and the interplay between the landscape and its human settlers. (USW502, $14.95)

A Field Guide to the Grand Canyon

A Field Guide to the Grand Canyon


by Stephen Whitney

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 1996
  • PAPER
  • 268 PAGES

A compact guide to the natural history of the Grand Canyon with 71 handsome color plates, maps and illustrations. (USW06, $19.95)

A Naturalist's Guide to Canyon Country

A Naturalist's Guide to Canyon Country


by David Williams | Gloria Brown

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 2001
  • PAPER
  • 188 PAGES

A compact field guide to the wildlife of the high desert of the Colorado Plateau and the nine national parks of the region. Williams includes an overview of the history, geology and ecology of the high desert along with basic information on identifying common plants and animals. (USW289, $24.95)

Field Guide to the Grand Canyon

Field Guide to the Grand Canyon


by Pocket Naturalist

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 2001
  • PLASTIC CARD

This handy, laminated card features color illustrations of commonly encountered birds, mammals and reptiles of the Grand Canyon and can be easily slipped in your pocket. (USW334, $6.95)

National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Southwestern States: Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah

National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Southwestern States: Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah


by Peter Alden

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 1999
  • PAPER
  • 448 PAGES

A compact photographic guide to the wildflowers, trees, mosses, butterflies, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals of the American Southwest. (SWU14, $22.00)

National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America

National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America


by Jon Dunn

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 576 PAGES

This guide is the veteran's choice for birding anywhere in the United States. Practical to use in the field, it has maps, illustrations and descriptions of the birds on facing pages. (FG09, $27.95)

More Recommendations

Here are some other groups of books that might be of interest

Longitude provides recommended reading for travelers in partnership with the leading tour operators and travel programs for hundreds of destinations worldwide. We've got the classic, new and hard-to-find books and maps to help you get the most out of your adventures.