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Grand Canyon – Book Review

Grand Canyon The Complete Guide @handbookofnaturestudy

As part of my nature book reading, this month’s book is the Grand Canyon-The Complete Guide

I love planning a family trip, especially one to a national park! Our Grand Canyon trip is coming up fast and in preparation I have been reading the book, Grand Canyon: The Complete Guide
by James Kaiser (this is an affiliate link). Since I have been to the Grand Canyon before with my family I needed some fresh ideas to make our trip memorable. I have a list of things to do and see now after reading this book. If you would like to read my blog entry that features Grand Canyon National Park – Tips and Images, you can click over and take a look at that for some highlights of my last trip.

This book is not just a travel guide but more of a brief overview of many of the unique aspects of this part of the world.


After reading about the new Trail of Time, I am anxious to experience this short walk on the South Rim on this trip with my husband. I love it when I can learn about the geology of a place in a simple way. As much as I love rocks, I have a hard time visualizing the passage of time and I think this display will help make it a little more concrete. The book gives lots of details about the development of the canyon and its red rocks and layers. Many of us will not ever get to hike to the bottom of the canyon to experience this ourselves so it is a joy to read about it in the book and see the images too.


There is nothing like reading the history of a place to help you see it with fresh eyes. So many of the famous spots at the Grand Canyon have interesting backgrounds and now that I have read about them in the book it will be more meaningful to stand at Mather Point, Kolb Studio, and the various lodges. The people who came before us and impacted the way this park has developed over the years are a rather rugged bunch of people.

Ecology and Wildlife

I actually turned to this section  first (of course). The images are amazing and give an overview of what to look for during a visit. It is no way intended to be a field guide so I will be taking along a few of my favorites on the trip to use with my nature journal.

Regions of the Grand Canyon

This book breaks the Grand Canyon down into sections so you can learn about the major features of each one. We will be staying at the South Rim so I concentrated my research on this popular part of the national park and there is plenty of information described in enough detail to answer most of my questions. In the future we will hopefully be able to explore the North Rim so I was eager to read about that too!

There are maps, lists of places to stay and eat, and suggestions for activities. I do wish the maps in the book had a little more detail like distance between major attractions but I will pick up a more detailed map at the visitor center when we arrive at the park.

Grand Canyon Complete Guide flap

Features of the Book I Really Like

  • Fold out flap attached to the front and back covers with a map and a quick index to the main features of the book
  • Lots of colorful maps and images
  • Helpful itineraries – specific ideas to fill your time, depending on amount of time available
  • The visual appeal of this book makes it a wonderful way to anticipate a trip to the Grand Canyon

I purchased my book on and here is the affiliate link to the book:

 Grand Canyon: The Complete Guide

Nature Book Project 2015 @handbookofnaturestudy

Previous Month’s Books and Reviews

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Grand Canyon National Park – Tips and Images

Grand Canyon National Park @handbookofnaturestudy

Grand Canyon National Park is a place that should be on everyone’s bucket list! There is no way to completely understand the majesty and splendor of this unique place without visiting it in person. I have made two trips to the Grand Canyon in my lifetime, one in the winter and one more recently in the spring.

Grand Canyon May 2014 (3)

My daughter and I were on a roadtrip across the United States and we chose to make an afternoon/evening visit to experience the canyon and surroundings together. We visited the South Rim but someday we hope to experience the North Rim. We were on our way from Las Vegas, Nevada to Flagstaff, Arizona and the national park is sort of an in-between spot. It would be easy to do a half day in the park from either place.

Grand Canyon Bright Angel Trail

We knew we had limited time so we went right to the trail upon arrival. We parked our car and were able to walk the short distance to the trailhead of Bright Angel Trail. This is a trail that can take you all the way to the bottom of the canyon and to the Colorado River. We, of course, didn’t have time for that particular adventure since they recommend that you do not try to hike down and up on the same day. You can spend the night down in the canyon at Phantom Ranch (see the national park website for more information and options). If you have four hours or less in the park, you can view this video to get some more ideas for experiencing the Grand Canyon in a short time: Grand Canyon with less than 4 hours.

Grand Canyon first tunnel Bright angel

There were so many things to look at as you hike down the trail and at this time of year there weren’t many people on the trail. The air was warm but not uncomfortable, even hiking in the middle of the afternoon. My daughter and I had fun taking lots of photos and chatting with other hikers when we stopped for water breaks.

Grand Canyon Day geology sign

If you are interested in geology and learning more about the rocks of the area there are several informative signs and I saw lots of interesting books in the Visitor’s Center book store.

Grand Canyon Day hiking bright angel trail

I was hiking in my regular hiking shoes but my daughter was wearing her Nike shoes…both worked great for this particular trail.

Grand Canyon Day (8)

Another view from the trail as we hiked…no bad photos in this national park!

Grand Canyon Day birds

I was surprised by the number of birds we encountered on our hike and then as we later walked along the rim of the canyon on the Rim Trail.  We utilized the free shuttle bus system within the park to get from one side to the other easily. This is a great feature since parking can be a pain. You can read more about the shuttle here: Grand Canyon Shuttle System.

Grand Canyon View

This part of the park was a little more crowded since it is near the parking area, the Visitor’s Center, and the shuttle bus stop.

Grand Canyon sunset

The most amazing time of day was at sunset. We stood at the lookout spot near Bright Angel Lodge and silently watched as the sun sunk down in the west and the light changed the canyon to pink, lavender, and a deep purple. Neither of us wanted to leave…we made a promise to come back some day and spend much more time exploring this awesome place on earth.

Here are some quick facts:

$25 per car to enter the national park

Lots of places to stay at the South Rim: Link to Quick Links

Camping in the Park (there is a RV Village too!)

We enjoyed the cafeteria at Maswik Lodge but there are lots of dining options at the Grand Canyon Village.

You can stay in Tusayan, Arizona which is right at the gate of the national park. We stayed at the Best Western when we came in the winter time.

You can read more of my national park tips in these entries: