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Your Guide to the National Parks: The Complete Guide to all 59 National Parks (Second edition) Paperback – January 1, 2017
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Oswald provides an amazing, almost overwhelming, amount of data on each place ... a timely and useful reference." - Library Journal
"Each entry includes location info, what to expect from nature, how to find the park, open seasons, notable attractions, and plenty of full color photography to back the details up. Your Guide to the National Parks is a must for nature and vacation collections." - Midwest Book Review
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However, as with any guide, your actual experience may vary. We went to Yosemite over July 4th weekend, and since all the popular areas were packed we spent a miserable 7 hours in the car on one day, trying to get to attractions suggested in the book. So we made our own plan and had a really great time at the attractions on the Tioga Pass Road - Tuolumne Meadows in particular for a nice gentle hike. These hikes were mentioned in the book, but not highlighted in the best of the park section. So study this book, but then use your judgement given the weather and crowds.
I'm still giving it 5 stars, as it's the best I've found after studying at least 10-12 different books on National Parks. The reason is it's the most comprehensive coverage you can get in one book.
WOW! AWESOME! AMAZING! "THE DEFINITIVE BOOK" on National Parks. The only one you really need to buy! It will make the most anal, compulsive reader HAP- HAP-HAPPY!
If you're like me, you're planning a trip to a few National Parks and you're buying a bunch of books to extract all the valuable info you need for your road trip. Well, look no further. I'm planning a trip to the Grand Circle in Utah. We are visiting Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce, Zion and Grand Canyon. So, obviously, my first purchase was the book that focused on these particular parks... "A Complete Guide to the Grand Circle National Parks." It's fine. It focused on these parks. My next choice was a Nat Geo book.... "The National Geographic Guide 8th edition." Goodness gracious, it's Nat Geo, it has to be good, eh? Hmmm, not really. I wasn't impressed. Well, I'm compulsive. I have to gather all the information I can and I glean as many books as possible to amass my data! I saw this book and thought, all 59 parks? I don't really need all that info. It has info on 53 parks that I don't need right now but... it had great reviews, so, I bought it! Am I ever so happy I did! It is awesome!
This book blows away all the others! The author, Michael Oswald has each park laid out in a very concise orderly fashion. Regardless if you're planning a couple of hours or a couple of days at each park, he gives you all the info you need! It is very orderly!
Here is an example...he provides the general information about each park and this has a white background like you would find in any book but he is the King of sidebars...each sidebar has a colored background distinguishing it from the regular text. It contains all the logistical info you need about the park... the address (for GPS), phone #, website, date of establishment, hours, park fees, etc. Stuff you might highlight in another book but presented right here in a sidebar! He basically did all the highlighting for you. In fact, each park has multiple sidebars. Next, he has charts! One chart lists all the hikes... the name of the hike, the location, the length and the difficulty rating w notes. Another chart has camping information. Each park has a weather graph w average high and low temperatures for 12 months and average precipitation. AND, the photographs! IMHO the photos are better than Nat Geo's guide. I find them relevant so you know what to expect from each park. Then there are the maps! The maps are larger and more detailed making them more legible for you, the reader! He pinpoints trailheads, 'don't miss' spots and the usual paved and non paved roads, parking areas, campgrounds, ranger stations, etc.
Overall, the format he uses, remains consistent throughout the book for each park. There are 708 pages and the size of the book is larger that the aforementioned books. It is 9" x 7 ½ " whereas Nat Geo was 8 ½" x 5 ¼" and the Grand Circle was 9" x 6" . The slightly added size really makes it vastly superior! The maps are easier to read and the photos more stunning. Even tho it is bigger and heavier than the other two this is the book I will take on my vacation!
If you buy only one book, this is the book! If you buy bunches of books like I did and (will always do) this will... hands down, be your favorite! YES, it is all that good!!!!!
KUDOS and THANK YOU to the author, Michael Joseph Oswald!
Wish sections were better divided and had a regional map up front in each. And a book of this nature REALLY needs an index. They say they left it out to save pages, but somehow felt it was worth it to include 10 pages of generic welcome and publisher info up front instead?
This is a 2017 edition.
Top international reviews
One small point of improvement; I know it's been left out on purpose, but I would have liked a register in the back to help find things quicker, also the order seems strange to me so I keep flipping through to find the park I wanna read up on. Still not enough drama to take a star off though.