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Book Review: Yellowstone Guidebooks

Sometimes the best part about a road trip is the planning. Trying to decide what sites to see, where to stay and how to get there fuels the anticipation.

After a trip to Yellowstone National Park two summers ago, my little herpetologist has dreamed of becoming a park ranger, especially at our nation's premier park. And so we've begun planning a daddy/daughter road trip back. To assist in the planning efforts, I picked up four books from the library.

Explorer's Guides Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and Jackson Hole  was the most helpful of the four books. I appreciated the way the book included the area south of the parks. This book was well organized and used engaging narrative to explain what travelers can expect, both in summer and winter. The comprehensive index made it easy to navigate outside the regional narratives.

Insider's Guide Yellowstone & Grand Teton functioned well as a regional directory. Organized by cities, each section listed lodging, dining and entertainment options. Where appropriate, price ranges and websites were included. While not as engaging to sit down and read, this book provides a wealth of information to help plan activities along your route.

Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks was the least helpful but only because it contained the most detailed information. Full of contact information, directions and pricing, This book would best be used while on the road. It's less of a planning guide and more of a travel guide. I will probably use their website more for planning purposes.

Best Easy Day Hikes Yellowstone would be my favorite book of the four. While not for everyone, one of our favorite activities are short day hikes, usually less than five miles. I appreciated how the hikes were ranked and grouped by region. This allowed me to eliminate hikes, narrowing the options quickly. The book was small enough to carry on hikes, but remember to take larger maps on any actual hikes.

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