RoadTrip America

Routes, Planning, & Inspiration for Your North American Road Trip

Yosemite National Park, by Kurt Wolff, Amy Marr, David Lukas, and Cheryl Koehler carries over three thousand books
about Yosemite National Park. It is one of the most spectacular places on earth, full of rushing mountain streams, dramatic waterfalls, massive granite rock walls, Alpine meadows, and scores of photogenic birds and animals. In any given year, at least ten new books about Yosemite are published, new attempts to capture the magnificence of the region. All these noble efforts aside, the only way to really understand this place is to go there in person and see it for yourself. To help in this endeavor, the folks at Lonely Planet assembled a remarkable team of knowledgeable Yosemite experts and have published a truly superb guide to the region. In fact, Yosemite National Park could easily be the only guide you'll need on your next trip to this crown jewel of the National Park System.

Unlike many guides that rely on existing park service or other commercially available maps, all of the maps in "Yosemite National Park" were developed by Lonely Planet cartographers just for this book. Like other Lonely Planet guides, there are a number of suggested itineraries based on the number of days one has to explore. Also included is information about the best places to find wildlife, solitude, activities for children, lodging, photo locations, and even shopping options. There are about 800 miles of hiking trails in the park, and this guide does a good job of providing detailed information for many of the most popular ones. On just about every page there is a sidebar full of insider tips on topics such as "Five Big Views," "Best Live Music," "Best Web Sites," and "RV Road Rules." Worth reading, these lists can enrich any visitor's time in the park.

I expected Yosemite National Park to provide useful tips about the park, but it also includes some really great bonus material for road trips to Sonora, Lake Tahoe, Bodie (Ghost Town) historic park, Mammoth Lakes, Bishop, and Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. The book also includes historical information and photographs tracing the human development of the park from 4000 B.C. to the current day. There is also a very informative section detailing the greater Yosemite ecosystem and ongoing geologic changes in the region.

Reading the book made me yearn for my own return visit to Yosemite, so be warned! This guidebook is likely to inspire a similarly compelling desire in all readers to visit Waterwheel Falls or Cathedral Peak. It could make you want to enjoy the dogwoods blooming over cocktails on the deck of the Ahwahnee Hotel. It can't fail to infect you with a yen for a view of El Capitan, Half Dome, and the Yosemite Valley floor. (Can't wait? If it's daylight when you're reading this, click here! for a view of Half Dome.)

Mark Sedenquist

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