Lister, Robert, and Florence Lister. Those Who Came Before. Tucson: Southwest Parks and Monuments, 1993. A well-illustrated guide to the history, artifacts, and ruins of prehistoric Southwest Native Americans. The author also describes parks and monuments containing archaeological sites.
Simms, Steven R. Traces of Fremont: Society and Rock Art in Ancient Utah. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2010. Great photos accompany the text in this look into Fremont culture.
Slifer, Dennis. Guide to Rock Art of the Utah Region: Sites with Public Access. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2000. The most complete guide to rock-art sites, with descriptions of more than 50 sites in the Four Corners region. Complete with maps and directions, and including an overview of rock-art styles and traditions.
Guidebooks and Travel
Benchmark Maps. Utah Road & Recreation Atlas. Medford, OR: Benchmark Maps, 2008. Shaded relief maps emphasize landforms, and recreational information is abundant. Use it to locate campgrounds, back roads, and major trailheads, though there's not enough detail to rely on it for hiking.
Huegel, Tony. Utah Byways: 65 of Utah's Best Backcountry Drives. Berkeley, CA: Wilderness Press, 2006. If you're looking for off-highway adventure, then this is your guide. The book includes detailed directions, human and natural history, outstanding photography, full-page maps for each of the 65 routes, and an extensive how-to chapter for beginners.
Porter, Eliot. The Place No One Knew: Glen Canyon on the Colorado. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 2000. Beautiful color photos show a world now lost to the waters of Lake Powell. Thoughtful quotations from many individuals accompany the illustrations.
Roylance, Ward J. Utah: A Guide to the State. Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith Publishers, 1998. An updated version of the book published by the W.P.A. Writers Program in 1941. Much of the original material and format have been preserved. The comprehensive introduction to Utah's people and history is followed by 11 tours of the state.
Rutter, Michael J. Fun with the Family in Utah: Hundreds of Ideas for Day Trips with the Kids. Old Saybrook, CT: Globe Pequot Press, 2004. Comprehensive guide to events, recreation, history, and activities with the family in mind.
Stegner, Wallace, ed. This Is Dinosaur: Echo Park Country and Its Magic Rivers. Niwot, CO: Roberts Rinehart, Inc., 1985. Essays on this rugged land—its geology, dinosaurs, wildlife, Native Americans, explorers, river-running, and visiting Dinosaur National Monument.
Wells, Charles A. Guide to Moab, UT Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails. Monument, CO: Funtreks, Inc., 2008. Good descriptions and GPS waypoints for Moab-area four-wheelers.
Zwinger, Ann. Wind in the Rock: The Canyonlands of Southeastern Utah. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1986. Well-written accounts of hiking in the Grand Gulch and nearby canyons. The author tells of the area's history, archaeology, wildlife, and plants.
History and Current Events
Bennet, Cynthia Larsen. Roadside History of Utah. Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Co., 1999. A very readable account of the state's history organized by driving tours. Full of great tales, yarns, and amazing human stories.
Krakauer, Jon. Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith. New York: Doubleday Books, 2003. The story of two fundamentalist, polygamous brothers who killed their sister-in-law and nephew upon receiving what they considered to be a message from God.
Stegner, Wallace. Beyond the Hundredth Meridian: John Wesley Powell and the Second Opening of the West. New York: Penguin Books, 1992 (first published in 1954). Stegner tells the story of Powell's wild rides down the Colorado River, then goes on to point out why the United States should have listened to what Powell had to say about the American Southwest.
Abbey, Edward. Desert Solitaire. Ballantine Books, 1991. A meditation on the Red Rock Canyon country of Utah. Abbey brings his fiery prose to the service of the American outback, while excoriating the commercialization of the West.
Childs, Craig. The Secret Knowledge of Water. Boston: Back Bay Books, 2000. Childs looks for water in the desert, and finds plenty of it.
Meloy, Ellen. Raven's Exile. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2003. Throughout a summer of Green River raft trips, Meloy reflects on the natural and human history of the area.
Williams, Terry Tempest. Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place. New York: Vintage Books, 1992. A memoir of a family devastated by cancer (caused by federal government atomic testing), overlain with a natural history of birdlife along the Great Salt Lake. Haunting, deeply spiritual, and beautifully written.
Chronic, Halka. Roadside Geology of Utah. Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Co., 1990. Utah's geology as seen by following major roadways.
Fagan, Damian. Canyon Country Wildflowers. Helena, MT: Falcon Publishing, 1998. A comprehensive field guide to the diverse flora of the Four Corners area.
Williams, David. A Naturalist's Guide to Canyon Country. Helena, MT: Falcon Publishing, 2000. If you want to buy just one field guide, this is the one to get. It's well written, beautifully illustrated, and a delight to use.
Adkison, Ron. Hiking Grand Staircase-Escalante & the Glen Canyon Region: A Guide to 59 of the Best Hiking Adventures in Southern Utah. Helena, MT: Falcon Publishing, 2011. The vast Escalante/Glen Canyon area of southern Utah is nearly roadless, and hiking is about the only way you'll have a chance to visit these beautiful and austere canyons. This guide includes detailed information on 59 hikes, including Paria Canyon and Grand Gulch, in addition to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
Allen, Steve. Canyoneering: The San Rafael Swell. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2000. Eight chapters each cover a different area of this exceptional, though little-known, canyon country. Trail and route descriptions cover adventures from easy rambles to challenging hikes. The author provides some climbing notes, too. Detailed road logs help you get there, whether by mountain bike, car, or truck.
Belknap, Buzz, and Loie Belknap Evans. Belknap's Waterproof Dinosaur River Guide. Evergreen, CO: Westwater Books, 2008. Topo maps show the canyons and points of interest along the Green and Yampa Rivers in Dinosaur National Monument of northeastern Utah and adjacent Colorado. Includes Lodore, Whirlpool, and Split Mountain Canyons of the Green River. The Belknaps' other river guides are also go-to guides.
Bjørnstad, Eric. Desert Rock I: Rock Climbs in the National Parks. Helena, MT: Falcon Publishing, 1996. One of several excellent climbing guides by one of Utah's most respected climbers. Also see Bjørnstad's Rock Climbing Desert Rock IV: The Colorado Plateau Backcountry: Utah for information on climbing outside Utah's national parks.
Bromka, Gregg. Mountain Biking Utah. Helena, MT: Falcon Publishing, 1999. Detailed route descriptions of more than 100 rides, from the Salt Lake City area through Moab and Brian Head. Easy-to-use maps and elevation profiles included.
Brinkerhoff, Brian and Greg Witt. Best Easy Day Hikes Salt Lake City. Helena, MT: Falcon Publishing, 2009. More than 20 short hikes in the Wasatch Front canyons near Salt Lake City.
Campbell, Todd. Above and Beyond Slickrock. Salt Lake City: Wasatch Publishers Inc., 1999. Exploring the slickrock country of southeastern Utah.
Crowell, David. Mountain Biking Moab. Helena, MT: Falcon Publishing, 2003. A handy guide to the many trails around Moab, from the most popular to the little explored, in a handy size: small enough to take on the bike with you.
Day, David. Utah's Incredible Backcountry Trails. Provo, UT: Rincon Publishing, 2006. Good selection of trips within Utah, with simple but very clear maps.
Green, Stewart M. Rock Climbing Utah. Helena, MT: Falcon Publishing, 1998. Comprehensive guide to climbing routes throughout the state. Route maps are superimposed over photographs to make sure climbers find the right route.
Kelsey, Michael R. Canyon Hiking Guide to the Colorado Plateau: Non-Technical. Provo: Kelsey Publishing, 2006. A classic guide to hiking in southeastern Utah's canyon country. The author persists in using only the metric system, and the layout is a bit dense, but it's certainly comprehensive. Kelsey is also incredibly prolific—he has written many guides to the Southwest, and if you like this one, you should search for his others.
Lambrechtse, Rudi. Hiking the Escalante. Salt Lake City: Wasatch Publishers Inc., 1999. An introduction to the history, geology, and natural history of the Escalante region in southern Utah, with descriptions of 42 hikes. Now out of print, but widely available used, this is still essential background reading for anyone considering canyoneering the Escalante.
Matson, Mike. Moon Utah Camping Berkeley, CA: Avalon Travel, 2009. The best guide to public and private campgrounds across the state. A great resource if you're planning on doing any backcountry exploration.
Probst, Jeffrey. Hiking Utah's High Uintas: 99 Day and Overnight Hikes. Helena, MT: Falcon Publishing, 2006. Nearly 100 hiking trails, from easy to long-distance, and information on the area's 600 lakes.
© W.C. McRae and Judy Jewell from Moon Utah, 9th Edition