The splendor of Yosemite inspired generations of naturalists, conservationists, artist, photographers, and general public . From the naturalist John Muir to photographer Ansel Adams, the park is a iconic in the fight to protect wilderness around the world. Most visitors to Yosemite spend most of their time in the Yosemite Valley enjoying views of Half Dome and El Captain. Yosemite National Park is more than a park is is a diverse landscape with an immense history. The best way to appreciate Yosemite is to read a couple books before visiting the park. Here are 10 books to read before visiting Yosemite National Park.
Yosemite National Park Reading List
by John Muir
The Yosemite is written by the Sierra Club founder John Muir. John Muir was one of the foremost naturalists who pushed for the protection of Yosemite National Park and other natural sites.
In The Yosemite, is a verbal tour of Yosemite thru the eyes of Muir. He shares his perspective and observations of the park before the development of the park. The book also contains early photographs of the park to help one visible the park without the crowds.
Death in Yosemite
by Michael P. Ghiglieri
Yosemite National Park isn’t Disneyland. The park is dangerous, it can and does kill. Almost every year, a handful of people die in the park. Off the Wall: Death in Yosemite covers all known deaths in the park. The book is eye opening toward all the ways you can die. It shares lessons that can be learned for the deaths like don’t swim in rivers above the waterfalls. Don’t mess with the wildlife. The book isn’t’ meant to scare visitors just educated them so the books doesn’t have to share their story.
by Jen A. Huntley
The Making of Yosemite: James Mason Hutchings and the Origin of America’s Most Popular Park tells the store of James Mason Hutchings and his tireless work to turn Yosemite into a tourist attraction. He recognized that the land was special and that people would want to see it. He mass produced lithographs of Yosemite falls and his magazines promoted it as a tourist designation. His later battles over the Yosemite Valley o
wnership make for an interesting history between public land management and land use.
He was self-serving in his interest in the valley but his efforts raised public awareness about the valley and that aided in getting it protected. His story is one of the forgotten history of Yosemite.
Complied by Frank LaPena
Legends of the Yosemite Miwok is a collection of stories by the Miwok tribes that lived in Yosemite Valley. These oral stories have been passed down from generation to generation as education as well as entertainment. LaPena has recorded these stories about Yosemite such as the greed of His’-sik the Skunk and the marital quarrel that created Half Dome and North Dome. The book has been illistrated by Maidu Indian Harry Fonseca.
By N. King Huber
Geological Ramblings in Yosemite covers the millions of years of geological history that Yosemite reveals. Written by a geologist with the non-geologist in mind, the book shares the saga of the volcanoes, glaciers, streams, erosion, and rock slides that carved the Yosemite we know today. The book discusses the history of geology in the park and how our understanding has changed over the years.
By Charles R. “Butch” Farabee
Big Walls, Swift Waters: Epic Stories from Yosemite Search and Rescue shares the stories of the elite women and men of the Yosemite Search and Rescue (YOSAR). This small highly trained group is ready for when a visit to Yellowstone takes a turn or the worst. They are always ready to provide assistance to park visitors in trouble. YOSAR member Butch Farabee share stories from carrying out a injured hiker on Mist Trail to unbelievable rescues on El Captain. YOSAR has had to pioneer rescue techniques and are always ready for action.
By Leroy Radanovich
Yosemite National Park is 750,000 acres. Almost all of the 5 million plus visitors to the park each year exclusively visit the Yosemite Valley and associated overlooks. Yosemite National Park and Vicinity examines the history of Yosemite outside of the valley. The book covers the mining and road construction in the Sierras. The history is accompanied by historical photographs such as President Roosevelt being shown Yosemite by John Muir.
By Glen Denny
Climbing wasn’t always a prevalent activity in Yosemite. It was a small group of young men who decided to challenge themselves. They started climbing and pioneered many routes and modernized climbing in the United States. Valley Walls: A Memoir of Climbing and Living in Yosemite was written by climber and photographer Glen Denny. He describes many of the early climbs and impressive feats of the early Yosemite climbers.
By Hans Florine
Climbing in Yosemite is career goal of many rock climbers. The Nose route of El Capitan is considered to be the Mount Everast of rock climbing. On the Nose: A Lifelong Obsession with Yosemite’s Most Iconic Climb is memoir by famed climber Hans Florine. Florine holds the speed record for climbing the nose route. Florine shares his climbing triumphs and his defeats. He share how and why he pushed his limits.
By Peter T. Hoss
Peter Hoss was born to parents working in Yosemite. He spent his entire life working in Yosemite. Born In Yosemite: 75 Years of Personal Observation is his story and observation. He has watched the park and the conservation efforts over those years. He shares his thoughts on how to protect Yosemite for the next generations.