Best guidebooks for Yellowstone

This is part of a series of posts on the best books about Yellowstone.

There have been a lot of books written about Yellowstone National Park. Historical accounts, guidebooks, memoirs, fiction, natural history, and more. I haven’t read all of them, I doubt anyone has, but I have read a lot. Here are what I consider the best guidebooks for Yellowstone.

Yellowstone Guidebooks


Of course, I have to mention my own books first.


Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks – First time trip guide for families by Michele Whiteaker and Melynda Harrison

We put this book together based on my long time experience in the park and Michele’s first time visit. We really feel it has everything you need to plan your family’s visit. You can read the book summary by clicking on the title link above.

Twenty Family-Friendly Hikes by Melynda Harrison

I hike a lot in Yellowstone. I’ve hiked alone, with kids, and with friends. This guide includes four hikes from five different areas of the park. Depending on where you are staying or what your schedule is, you can find a walk that fits your family’s interest and time availability. Some of these trails will get you away from crowds, others will lead you somewhere spectacular. All the trail picks are family-friendly and will introduce you to the best of Yellowstone.

Fodor's The Complete Guide to the National Parks of the West

I am a little biased here because I edited the Yellowstone section of the most recent edition. I really do think it’s a good guide to getting to and staying in National Parks around the West. There’s even a Yellowstone and Grand Teton seven-day road trip itinerary in there.

Hiking Yellowstone National Park: A Guide To More Than 100 Great Hikes by Bill Schneider

This is the book I use to plan day hikes and backpacking trips. Bill Schneider knows what he is talking about. The layout is pretty useful, too. I especially like the elevation profiles so I get a visual representation of how much uphill I am going to have to deal with!

Best Easy Day Hikes: Yellowstone National Park by Bill Schneider

This is the smaller version of the Hiking Yellowstone National Park book also written by Bill Schneider. While it isn’t as comprehensive as the other book, it’s perfect for people who know they won’t be doing long hikes. Maybe you are in Yellowstone for just a short time and want to see everything. That necessitates smaller walks so you can get around more. This book is perfect for that.

Yellowstone in a Day by the Yellowstone Association

This book answers the question, “What should I do if I have one day in Yellowstone?”. The one-day tours are listed by location and type (geology day, kid’s day, photography day etc.). It even tells you how much time to spend at each spot. This is as close as you’ll get to the personal itineraries I create in my vacation coaching. And there’s a mobile app that goes along with the book with maps and descriptions. You can purchase this book for $8.99 in any of the Yellowstone Association stores in the park.

Yellowstone National Park Map

By Trails Illustrated

This isn’t a guidebook per se, but it is a great planning tool. Trails and trail distances, campground, bathrooms(!), gas stations, boat launches, wildlife viewing, medical clinics, points of interest, and more are all marked on this map. In addition to the entire park map, I have the four section maps for an even closer look.

What would you add to a list of best guidebooks about Yellowstone?

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