Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan's six-part, 12-hour 2009 documentary series The National Parks: America's Best Idea tells the dramatic story of the origin of the national park system. Starting in the 1850s with the appreciation of the areas that became Yosemite and Yellowstone national parks, the series depicts the ongoing battle between the preservation of the parks and industrialization and commercialization of the land. You can watch scenes from the series at, or purchase the DVDs, companion book, and soundtrack CD.

Recommended Reading

The following books are interesting, informative, and easy to find: A Ranger’s Guide to Yellowstone Day Hikes, by Roger Anderson and Carol Shiveley Anderson (Farcountry Press, 2013); Empire of Shadows: The Epic Story of Yellowstone, by George Black (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013); The Art of Yellowstone Science: Mammoth Hot Springs as a Window on the Universe, by Brad W. Fouke and Tom Murphy (Crystal Creek Press, 2016); Death in Yellowstone, by Lee H. Whittlesey (Roberts Rinehart Publishers, 2014); Yellowstone: The Official Guide to Touring the World’s First National Park, by the Yellowstone Association (Yellowstone Association, 2014); Falcon Press also publishes a long list of hiking, fishing, climbing, and other guides to the Yellowstone/Grand Teton region.

If you cannot find these publications in your local bookstore, many can be ordered from Yellowstone Forever (; tel. 406/848-2400).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.