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Book review: 'Secrets of the National Parks' provides interesting info for experts, families

Published: Saturday, May 25 2013 12:30 p.m. MDT

"Secrets of the National Parks: Experts' Guide to the Best Experiences Beyond the Tourist Trail" was published in April by National Geographic. (National Geographic) "Secrets of the National Parks: Experts' Guide to the Best Experiences Beyond the Tourist Trail" was published in April by National Geographic. (National Geographic)

"SECRETS OF THE NATIONAL PARKS: The Experts' Guide to the Best Experiences Beyond the Tourist Trail," National Geographic, $22.95, 270 pages (nf)

National Geographic’s latest book, “Secrets of the National Parks: The Experts’ Guide to the Best Experiences Beyond the Tourist Trail,” offers a plethora of tips for both the hard-core backcountry expert and the day-tripping family group — and everyone in between.

The book consists of more than 350 tips from the local experts of more than 32 national parks located in the United States and its territories. It offers excellent tips for avoiding high-traffic areas and provides several options at each park for visitors to get off the beaten path and explore scenic areas much less crowded than the more popular, but not necessarily more interesting, sights.

While the book covers parks ranging from the sparkling blue waters of Florida’s Biscayne National Park to the wide-open prairie and underground caves of South Dakota’s Wind Cave National Park, and the temperate rain forests of Washington’s Olympic National Park, it also provides information on Utah’s own special niches.

The guide provides in-depth sections on all five of Utah’s national parks, namely Bryce Canyon, Zion, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands and Arches. Even the most weathered visitor of each park may find something new to explore.

In addition to its offering of special tips from both the authors and locals of each region, the book provides stunning photos, detailed maps and information on how to get to each location. Destinations range from natural and historic trails to lakes that have easy access to equipment for kayaking and canoeing.

The book also offers suggestions for safety, including assessments of trail difficulty; provides information on the best seasons for visiting; and handy links to the websites of each national park. It is designed for both the active and the less able demographics, providing options from scenic drives to strenuous hikes ranging in accessibility from expert hikers to disabled visitors.

Packed full of unique locations and tips, the book offers a useful guide to help make the most of your visit to the national parks.

Email: ajones@desnews.com

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