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Alumni Travel Reading: National Parks of America

Books on National Parks

Saguaro National Park

Saguaro Cactus growing in Saguaro National Park, Arizona. Image courtesy of National Geographic.

National Geographic

Yellow Rectangle "National Geographic" logo

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

Welcome to the National Parks of America Travel Guide

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


For more information, please visit Penn Alumni Travels.


Selected and Annotated By:
Nick Orkent
Bibliographer for US History, Africana Studies, Philosophy, and Urban Studies
Africana Studies, Philosophy, US History

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

Death Valley National Park in California and Nevada. Image courtesy of National Geographic.

Books on National Parks

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