The Best Books About Yosemite National Park

“What are the best books about Yosemite National Park?” We looked at 126 of the top Yosemite books, aggregating and ranking them so we could answer that very question!

The top 22 titles, all appearing on 2 or more “Best Yosemite” book lists, are ranked below by how many lists they appear on. The remaining 100+ titles, as well as the lists we used are in alphabetical order at the bottom of the page.

Happy Scrolling!



Top 22 Books About Yosemite National Park



22 .) Big Walls, Swift Water: Epic Stories from Yosemite Search and Rescue written by Charles R. “Butch” Farabee

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Yosemite Conservancy Store

The men and women of Yosemite Search and Rescue work around the clock, ready to respond at any hour in any weather. It’s not all helicopter heroics and plucking unlucky rock jocks off The Nose of El Capitan. It also means helping the teen with the busted ankle on the Mist Trail, finding the missing child in Tuolumne Meadows, and rescuing the newlywed clinging to a slick rock after her raft implodes.



21 .) Gloryland written by Shelton Johnson

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Yosemite Conservancy Store

Born on Emancipation Day, 1863, to a sharecropping family of black and Indian blood, Elijah Yancy never lived as a slave — but his self-image as a free person is at war with his surroundings: Spartanburg, South Carolina, in the Reconstructed South. Exiled for his own survival as a teenager, Elijah walks west to the Nebraska plains — and, like other rootless young African-American men of that era, joins up with the U.S. cavalry. The trajectory of Elijah’s army career parallels the nation’s imperial adventures in the late 19th century: subduing Native Americans in the West, quelling rebellion in the Philippines. Haunted by the terrors endured by black Americans and by his part in persecuting other people of color, Elijah is sustained only by visions, memories, prayers, and his questing spirit — which ultimately finds a home when his troop is posted to the newly created Yosemite National Park in 1903. Here, living with little beyond mountain light, running water, campfires, and stars, he becomes a man who owns himself completely, while knowing he’s left pieces of himself scattered along his life’s path like pebbles on a creek bed.



20 .) Historic Yosemite National Park: The Stories Behind One of America’s Great Treasures written by Tracy Salcedo Chourre

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • National Parked

The history of Yosemite National Park is as compelling as the waterfalls, monoliths, and peaks that have mesmerized visitors for more than a century. But what hikers see today in the iconic Yosemite Valley, as well as on the peaks in the high country and within the Mariposa Grove of Big Trees, is a world away from the place Native Americans once called Ahwahnee, and from what gold-seekers and mountain men looked upon in the park’s earliest days. Historic Yosemite National Park is a vibrant collection of stories about different aspects of Yosemite National Park’s fascinating history, from the conservation works of pivotal characters such as writer John Muir and photographer Ansel Adams to the daring exploits of rock climbers and the natural forces that have shaped Yosemite’s stunning vistas. These stories reveal why Yosemite National Park has inspired humankind for centuries.



19 .) Legacy of the Yosemite Mafia: The Ranger Image and Noble Cause Corruption in the National Park Service written by Paul D Berkowitz

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Yosemite Conservancy Store

Calling upon his unique experiences as a criminal investigator in the National Park Service (NPS), Berkowitz proves how an over-emphasis on image (the “ranger image”) has led to an NPS culture that accepts misconduct. Citing verified news accounts, internal agency documents, and personal notes, this dramatic case study challenges conventional wisdom and official accounts of agency history. Agency culture set in motion nearly a half-century ago, beginning with a group of employees known as the Yosemite Mafia, includes a demonstrated bias against professional law enforcement and a reluctance to hold senior managers accountable. This book fills a gap in existing literature dealing with noble cause corruption and corrects popular assumptions about the NPS, its history, and its law enforcement responsibilities.



18 .) Meadow in the Sky: A History of Yosemite’s Tuolumne Meadows Region written by Elizabeth Stone O’Neill

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Yosemite Conservancy Store



17 .) One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome: Everything You Need to Know to Successfully Hike Yosemite’s Most Famous Landmark written by Rick Deutsch

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Yosemite Blog

The most popular route to Half Dome s summit is a grueling 16-mile round-trip trek with 10,800 feet in elevation gain and loss. Although the hike is non-technical, with hikers climbing fixed cables up the granite, many would-be hikers are hesitant about this potentially risky trip. How fit should you be? What preparations do you need to make? What should you bring? How should you pace yourself during the day? Author and seasoned Half Dome hiker Rick Deutsch provides the authoritative step-by-step guide to planning and completing this superb one-day hike with safety advice, insider information, detail, and reassurance found nowhere else.”



16 .) Railroads of the Yosemite Valley written by Hank Johnston

Lists It Appears On:

  • Yosemite Blog
  • Yosemite Conservancy Store

The intriguing story of four short-line railroads that operated in the Merced River Canyon to serve Yosemite National Park. Originally published in 1963, this volume assembles more than two hundred black-and-white photographs of railroads and trains, relating the importance of the rail lines in the visitors’ experiences of Yosemite. The rich history of Yosemite is brought to life through the photographs that tell a special relationship between individuals and machines.



15 .) Rock Climbing Yosemite Valley written by Erik Sloan, Lucas Barth

Lists It Appears On:

  • Mountain Project
  • REI

Over 400 pages of awesome topo maps and photos – You won’t run out of world class climbs to check out for years! Info on dozens of new and previously unpublished climbs – They are just as good as the classics, but crowd-free! Over 100 of the best Yosemite climbing photos – Picture yourself there and get stoked! Completely new maps and topos – Spend your time climbing, not finding your way to the crag or looking for your route. Rest day beta – Inside tips on what to do and where to kick back when you’re too beat to climb.



14 .) Seed of the Future: Yosemite and the Evolution of the National Park Idea written by Dayton Duncan

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Yosemite Conservancy Store

It’s now a given that Americans—and people the world over—would seek to preserve their sacred, special places. One hundred fifty years ago, however, it was definitely not a foregone conclusion that the awe-inspiring granite cliffs, astounding waterfalls, and sublime sequoias of Yosemite would be protected. This idea of preservation was the national park idea; an idea that started from a seed, a seed that was planted in Yosemite. It was through the efforts of people like James Mason Hutchings, Galen Clark, Frederick Law Olmsted, John Muir, and Theodore Roosevelt among others that the world learned of Yosemite, flocked to it, nearly destroyed it, and ultimately saved it. These fascinating characters and their remarkable stories are skillfully woven together in this beautiful volume, created expressly to capture the wonder of Yosemite and to inspire future generations to do their part for wild places.



13 .) The Mountains of California written by John Muir

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Yosemite Conservancy Store

John Muir’s ebullient spirit and love of nature infuse these accounts of visiting Yosemite Valley, Kings Canyon, sequoia groves, and Mount Whitney. Blending keen observations of flora, geography, and geology, the natural forces that shape the landscape, and the changing seasons, Muir paints a timeless portrait of the wilderness he called “the Range of Light, the most divinely beautiful of all the mountain chains I have ever seen.” Also included are visits to two famous Cascades peaks, Mount Shasta and Mount St. Helens



12 .) The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite written by Michael Frye

Lists It Appears On:

  • National Parked
  • Yosemite Blog

This comprehensive handbook is designed for all photographers , from beginners to experts.Frye’s tips and directions are illustrated with full-color reproductions of his own work. An indispensable and handy resource for anyone who wants to take better pictures in Yosemite and elsewhere.



11 .) The Wild Muir: Twenty-Two of John Muir’s Greatest Adventures written by Lee Stetson

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Lasting Adventures

Here is an entertaining collection of John Muir’s most exciting adventures, representing some of his finest writing. Each included adventure has been selected to show the extent to which Muir courted and faced danger, i.e. lived “wildly, ” throughout his life. From the famous avalanche ride off the rim of Yosemite Valley to his night spent riding out a windstorm at the top of a tree to death-defying falls on Alaskan glaciers, the renowned outdoorsman’s exploits are related in passages that are by turns exhilarating, unnerving, dizzying and outrageous.



10 .) The Yosemite Grant written by Hank Johnston

Lists It Appears On:

  • Lasting Adventures
  • Yosemite Conservancy Store

This book is a comprehensive, well-illustrated history of the Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Big Trees. Focused on the history behind the breathtaking landscape, it contains detailed information supplemented by a comprehensive index and bibliography. The story of Yosemite is told through a chronological narrative that gives in-depth treatment to the people, institutions, and events that shaped the park’s rich heritage.



9 .) Top Trails: Yosemite: Must-Do Hikes for Everyone written by Jeffrey P. Schaffer

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • National Parked

effrey Schaffer has selected 46 “must-do” Yosemite hikes. Whether you’re looking for a scenic stroll, a full-day adventure, or even a spectacular backpacking trip, you’ll find it here. And with at-a-glance information for each hike, visitors can determine which hikes are most suitable to their skills, schedules, and preferences. Books in the affordable and easy-to-use Top Trails series feature elevation profiles, detailed maps, driving directions, and “don’t get lost” trail milestones. Innovative trail-feature charts give information on which trails are child-friendly; which allow horses; where to see giant sequoias, waterfalls, lakes, wildflowers, and autumn colors; which trips have the best photo opportunities; and which have camping, running, or biking opportunities.



8 .) Two Bear Cubs: A Miwok Legend from California’s Yosemite Valley written by Robert D. San Souci

Lists It Appears On:

  • Go Explore Nature
  • Goodreads

Here is a delightful retelling of an authentic Southern Sierra Miwok legend concerning the origin of Yosemite Valley’s El Capitan rock. Mother Grizzly Bear thinks that her two playful cubs are wrestling and having fun along the Merced River in Yosemite Valley while she is checking her fish traps. When she returns to join her sons, however, she discovers the cubs are nowhere to be found.



7 .) Yosemite and the High Sierra written by Ansel Adams

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • National Parks Traveler

Yosemite National Park and the High Sierra were the places closest to Ansel Adams’ heart, and this magnificent new collection presents the finest selction of his photographs and writings yet published on this “vast edifice of stone and space.” Inspired by their grandeur, their wildness, and their primeval mystery, Adams’ photos came to represent America’s National Parks. During his lifetime Adams published seven books of images from this region; this new book brings the best of these early volumes together into a single work. His writings – alive with anecdote and insight – provide a backdrop for these stirring images, and an introduction by John Szarkowski, the most distinguished photography critic and curator of his time, provides testimony to the enduring impact of Adams’ Yosemite vision. Yosemite and the High Sierra represents Adams’ legacy at its most distilled and timeless.



6 .) Yosemite in the Fifties: The Iron Age written by Dean Fidelman

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • National Parks Traveler

Companion to the classic Yosemite in the Sixties, this book uses the words of the climbers of the time and artfully restored photographs to chronicle the historic first ascents of Yosemite’s “mile-high” granite walls, the legendary personalities who risked their lives to climb them, and how their endeavors initiated the birth of adventure sports. Better than half a century after the first ascent of El Capitan, the deeds of Yosemite’s 1950s-era Iron Age are no longer viewed as climbs or mere adventures. Rather, they are assaults on the human barrier, pushing that much higher. Yosemite in the Fifties gives the stage almost entirely over to the original source material, the first-person narratives, archive photos (artfully restored), and memorabilia particular to the seminal ascents of the era. These words, images, and design, when cast from critical angles, all reach across generations to resurrect vanished worlds. Yosemite in The Fifties is fashioned not so much as a book but as a wormhole back to an enchanted time in the history of exploration, and a classic era of Americana now lost in time.



5 .) Yosemite National Park written by Laurel Marie Sobol

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Nature Outside

Nature in all it’s glory, Yosemite a place of wonder and beauty, where ancient times of human civilization and animals, plants, and pure heavenliness.



4 .) Your Yosemite: A Threatened Public Treasure written by Robert O. Binnewies

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Yosemite Conservancy Store

Mention of Yosemite conjures images of mighty waterfalls and soaring granite cliffs. Millions of people have visited Yosemite; millions more have seen images captured by Ansel Adams and other renowned artists. Indigenous peoples knew of Yosemite for thousands of years before it was “discovered” and invaded during the California Gold Rush. Since that time, its stewards have struggled to find an incisive balance that allows for use, but prevents abuse. In this riveting book, former Yosemite National Park Superintendent Robert Binnewies tells not only the history of Yosemite but also the story of the collision between commercialism and preservation. Your Yosemite urges its owners, all United States citizens, to be ever watchful of Yosemite’s well-being.



3 .) The Yosemite written by John Muir

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Lasting Adventures
  • Yosemite Conservancy Store

This is a pre-1923 historical reproduction that was curated for quality. Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts – the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally important and have elected to bring the book back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide.



2 .) Spectacular Yosemite written by Quang-Tuan Luong

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • National Parked
  • National Parks Traveler
  • Yosemite Blog

Breathtaking photography captures the landscapes and wildlife of one of America’s most beautiful and popular national parks. Located in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range, Yosemite National Park encompasses 1,170 square miles of awe-inspiring natural splendor. It is best known for its waterfalls and the 3,000-foot vertical rock face of El Capitan, but within its borders grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, and vast wilderness also exist. “Spectacular Yosemite” captures this incredibly unique park in more than 150 photographs, celebrating one of America’s most renowned natural treasures. This unique, oversize volume offers a guided tour through its stunning photography.



1 .) Off the Wall: Death in Yosemite written by Michael P. Ghiglieri and Charles R. Farabee

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Lasting Adventures
  • Mountain Project
  • National Parks Traveler
  • Yosemite Blog

Gripping accounts of all known fatal mishaps in America’s first protected land of scenic wonders




The 100+ Additional Best Yosemite Books



# Books Authors Lists
23 10 Best of Everything National Park…
Yosemite Conservancy Store
24 100 Hikes in Yosemite National Park REI
25 A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century Barbara W. Tuchman Goodreads
26 A Sense of Yosemite Nancy Robbins Goodreads
27 Ancient Sentinels: The Sequoias of …
Yosemite Conservancy Store
28 Baby Bear Isn’t Hungry Michael Elsohn Ross
Go Explore Nature
29 Baby Yosemite Katherine Brumage
Go Explore Nature
30 Bad Call Stephen Wallenfels Goodreads
31 Best Easy Day Hikes Yosemite National Park
National Parked
32 Camping With the President Ginger Wadsworth
Go Explore Nature
33 Dam! Water, Power, Politics, and Preservation in Hetch Hetchy and Yosemite National Park John Warfield Simpson Goodreads
34 Day Hikes in Yosemite National Park – 3rd Edition REI
35 directly from USGS
Nature Outside
36 Discovering Sierra Trees Stephen F. Arno Goodreads
37 Explore National Parks
Yosemite Conservancy Store
38 FalconGuidesHiking Yosemite National Park REI
39 FalconGuidesYosemite National Park Map Pack REI
40 Fodor’s Yosemite, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks Fodor’s Travel Publications Inc. Goodreads
41
Four Seasons of Yosemite: A Photographer’s Journey (Includes DVD, Yosemite: The Fate of Heaven, narrated by Robert Redford)
Yosemite Blog
42 Geology Underfoot in Yosemite National Park Allen F. Glazner Goodreads
43 Half Dome – Almost!
Nature Outside
44 High Country Nevada Barr Goodreads
45
HIKE Yosemite Pocket Guide: Best Day Hikes in Yosemite National Park
REI
46 Hiking Yosemite National Park, 3rd: A Guide to 59 of the Park’s Greatest Hiking Adventures Suzanne Swedo Goodreads
47
Hiking Yosemite National Park: A Guide to 61 of the Park’s Greatest Hiking Adventures (Regional Hiking Series)
Nature Outside
48 how to fold your topographic maps
Nature Outside
49 Images of America: Yosemite Nationa…
Yosemite Conservancy Store
50 Indian Life of the Yosemite Region
Yosemite Conservancy Store
51 John Muir in His Own Words: A Book of Quotations John Muir Goodreads
52
Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada, The (California Academy of Sciences)
Lasting Adventures
53 Lembert Dome and Dog Lake
Nature Outside
54 Life in California During a Residence of Several Years in That Territory; Comprising a Description of the Country and the Missionary Establishments, with Incidents, Observations, Etc. with an Appendix, Bringing Forward the Narrative from Alfred Robinson Goodreads
55 Little Ty Cooney and the Big Yosemite Race Stephan Riley
Go Explore Nature
56 Missing in the Minarets
Yosemite Conservancy Store
57 Moon Yosemite Ann Marie Brown Goodreads
58 Mountain Chef: How One Man Lost His Groceries, Changed His Plans, and Helped Cook Up the National Park Service Annette Bay Pimentel Goodreads
59 Mountain Sage: The life story of Ca…
Yosemite Conservancy Store
60 My First Summer in the Sierra John Muir Goodreads
61 My Mistake at Flora Lake
Nature Outside
62 Norman Clyde
Yosemite Conservancy Store
63 Obata’s Yosemite: Art and Letters of Obata from His Trip to the High Sierra in 1927 Chiura Obata Goodreads
64 Off the Map Adventure – The Sandstone Caves
Nature Outside
65 Permanent Vacation
Yosemite Conservancy Store
66
Pilgrims of the Vertical: Yosemite Rock Climbers & Nature at Risk
National Parks Traveler
67 Put Red Fred in the Shed!
Nature Outside
68
Repairing Paradise: The Restoration Of Nature In America’s National Parks
National Parks Traveler
69 Rock Climbing Yosemite’s Select
Mountain Project
70 Rufus Guides Maps
Nature Outside
71 Rufus Guides Website
Nature Outside
72
Shattered Air: A True Account of Catastrophe and Courage on Yosemite’s Half Dome
Yosemite Blog
73 Sierra Campfire Yarns
Yosemite Conservancy Store
74 Sierra Nevada Natural History
Yosemite Conservancy Store
75 The Ahwahnee: Yosemite’s Grand Hote…
Yosemite Conservancy Store
76 The Camping Trip That Changed America Barb Rosenstock Goodreads
77
The Changing Range Of Light, Portraits Of The Sierra Nevada
National Parks Traveler
78 The Complete Guidebook to Yosemite National Park Steven P. Medley Goodreads
79 The Geologic Story of Yosemite National Park N. King Huber Goodreads
80 The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest Stieg Larsson Goodreads
81 The High Sierra Loop (Series of 7 articles)
Nature Outside
82 The High Sierra of California Gary Snyder Goodreads
83 The John Muir Trail in 8 days: With Hints for Seniors William Chipman Goodreads
84 the park’s maps page
Nature Outside
85 The Road to The Nose
Mountain Project
86
The Soul Of Yosemite: Finding, Defending, And Saving The Valley’s Sacred Wild Nature
National Parks Traveler
87 The Wonder of it All – 100 Stories …
Yosemite Conservancy Store
88 The Yosemite Valley and the Maripos…
Yosemite Conservancy Store
89
Tom Harrison CartographyHalf Dome, Glacier Point, Yosemite Creek, Tenaya Lake, Little Yosemite Valley Topo Map
REI
90 Too-Nu-Yah: The Enchanted Valley of Yosemite Albert Leo Goodreads
91 Trails Illustrated Map
Nature Outside
92
Trails IllustratedYosemite National Park NE – Tuolumne Meadows and Hoover Wilderness
REI
93
Trails IllustratedYosemite National Park SW – Yosemite Valley/Wawona
REI
94
Trails IllustratedYosemite National Park Topographic Map Pack
REI
95 Trails IllustratedYosemite National Park Trail Map REI
96
Trails IllustratedYosemite SE: Ansel Adams Wilderness Topographic Map
REI
97 Tuolumne Meadows: Including the Surround Uplands Jeffrey P. Schaffer Goodreads
98 USGS Topographic Maps
Nature Outside
99 Valley Walls: A Memoir of Climbing …
Yosemite Conservancy Store
100 Wawona Yesterdays Shirley Sargent Goodreads
101 When Mountain Lions are Neighbors b…
Yosemite Conservancy Store
102 Wild Yosemite: 25 Tales of Adventur…
Yosemite Conservancy Store
103
Wilderness Press50 Best Short Hikes in Yosemite National Park and Vicinity – 2nd Edition
REI
104 Yosemite Big Walls – 3rd Edition
Mountain Project
105 Yosemite Climbs: Free Climbs
Mountain Project
106 Yosemite ConservancyThe Road Guide to Yosemite REI
107 Yosemite Epics: Tales Of Adventure From America’s Greatest Playground Matt Johanson Goodreads
108 Yosemite National Park: A Complete Hikers Guide
National Parked
109
Yosemite Once Removed: Portraits of the Backcountry
National Parked
110 Yosemite Place Names
Yosemite Conservancy Store
111 Yosemite Sport Climbs and Top Ropes REI
112 Yosemite Topropes
Mountain Project
113 Yosemite Trivia Michael Elsohn Ross Goodreads
114 Yosemite Valley Bouldering
Mountain Project
115
Yosemite Valley chapter of A Climber’s Guide to the High Sierra (free online guide)
Mountain Project
116 Yosemite Valley Railroad (Images of Rail)
Yosemite Blog
117 Yosemite Valley Sport Climbs and Top Ropes
Mountain Project
118 Yosemite, The Complete Guide: Yosemite National Park James Kaiser Goodreads
119 Yosemite: An American Treasure Kenneth Brower Goodreads
120 Yosemite: First One Hundred Years Shirley Sargent Goodreads
121 Yosemite: Its Discovery, Its Wonder and Its People Margaret Sanborn Goodreads
122 Yosemite: The Complete Guide
National Parked
123 Yosemite: The Promise of Wildness
Yosemite Blog
124 Yosemite’s topo map page
Nature Outside
125 Yosemite Bill Ross Goodreads
126 Yosemite Ansel Adams Goodreads


10 Best Yosemite Book Sources/Lists



Source Article
Go Explore Nature Best Books for Kids About Yosemite
Goodreads Popular Yosemite Books
Lasting Adventures Top 5 Books to Read Before Your Yosemite Visit!
Mountain Project Books about Yosemite National Park
National Parked Yosemite Books and Guides
National Parks Traveler Good Books For Visiting…Yosemite National Park
Nature Outside Yosemite National Park – Maps and Books for Hiking
REI Yosemite National Park Books and Maps
Yosemite Blog 10 Books Every Yosemite Lover Should Have
Yosemite Conservancy Store Books History & Culture
A.M. Anderson:
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