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Alumni Travel Reading Lists 2020: National Parks & Lodges of the Old West

Books on National Parks

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Tetons Photo by Malcolm Manners. Pointy, snowy mountains against a solid blue sky

Grand Teton Photo by Malcolm Manners. Used under a Creative Commons Licence CC-BY 2.0.

National Geographic

National Geographic logo of a yellow rectangle

For a comprehensive guide of National Parks in America, visit the National Geographic National Parks Travel Guide.

Welcome to the National Parks and Lodges Reading List

Stream of water gushing into the sky from a geyser in the ground

Great Fountain Geyser in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Image courtesy of National Geographic.

Selected and Annotated By:

Nick Orkent
Bibliographer for US History, Africana Studies, Philosophy, and Urban Studies
Africana Studies, Philosophy, US History okrent @

For more information, please visit Penn Alumni Travels.

The National Parks: America's Best Idea

Directed by Ken Burns, America’s premier popular documentarian, this video narrates the birth of the national park idea in the mid-1800s and traces its evolution nearly to the present.  Featuring stunning cinematography, first person accounts of historical figures, interviews of historians, Native Americans, environmentalists and other experts, contemporary accounts of people who have been transformed by their encounter with the parks, and more, this documentary is perhaps the best introduction to the National Parks imaginable.

For more clips, please visit

Great Lodges of National Parks

This collection of documentaries from the PBS “Great Lodges of the National Parks” series goes beyond portrayals of particular lodges to explore the history of historic lodges, their architectural styles, their intellectual purposes (to accentuate rather than compete with nature) and their relationships with the parks.  Most of these lodges are themselves Historical Landmarks, and their original construction—often by railroad companies—and functions reveal a side of the Natural Parks that would not be obvious to the causal visitor.

For more clips, please visit

Death Valley


Custer State Park Wildlife Loop South Dakota. Bison and calf standing on a paved road.

Custer State Park Wildlife Loop. Photo by Brenda and licensed under CC-BY 2.0 Creative Commons License

Books on National Parks

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