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These Utah guide books are favorites of the Book Corner editor (Valerie Clark) and her family and friends. We encourage any site visitor who wants to share a great outdoors book to e-mail us. If you recommend a trail guide, you have to have done at least one of the trips in the book so you can rate the instruction and description against real life.
Utah Trail Guides
 
The way we see it, trail guides have four main functions:  1- They describe trips you can take.  2- They provide instructions on how to get to the trailhead and what route to follow.  3- They describe the scenery you can expect and 4- They rate the difficulty of the trip.  Before you know if you can trust the guide, you have to take some of the trips and compare your experience with the author's. In this section we try to let you know which guides we trust and how far we think you can trust them
 
by Steve Allen
 
This is the most accurate Utah trail guide I know of. It is well-written, clear, and concise.  It deals with specific hikes/backpacks in the San Rafael Swell, ranging from easy walks to challenging scrambles and climbs.  We have done 19 of the trips in this guide and the trail description was right on every time.  His hike ratings are also excellent.  If he says it's easy, it is.  If he warns you about potential difficulties, pay attention.
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by Steve Allen
 
Another top-notch quality guide. This one is for advanced canyoneers only. Buy it at Amazon.com
 
by Steve Allen
 
More great hikes, same trusted descriptions. The trips in this guide range from novice to expert. Buy it at Amazon.com
 
by Bill Schneider
 
This book includes directions for many popular hikes, backpacks, and four wheel drives in these parks.  In my experience the Falcon guides all offer clear, succinct, reasonable descriptions.  They give detailed distance and difficulty information, carefully pointing out any scary parts along the way.  However I felt that on the trail we followed from this guide,  the ratings were aimed at day hikers (of which there were many) and not backpackers.  Carrying a water-heavy pack made a big difference to me in the difficulty of various spots.  Also, ratings are for the average fit hiker, not the hesitant paved-path stroller. Buy it at Amazon.com
 
David Rose
 
This new (April 2004) hiking guidebook obviously comes highly recommended, as the author is also the owner/webmaster for this website. But you don't need to take our word for it -- it has been getting great reviews, including one from the Deseret News. Don't let the word "climbing" in the title scare you off: the routes are actually hikes and scrambles, not rock climbs. Buy it directly from author OR Buy it at Amazon.com
 
Michael R. Weibel and Dan Miller
 
Engagingly written two to three page descriptions of each hike including basic statistics, how to get to the trailhead, tips and precautions, directions on reaching the summit and a brief background on each peak. Times are estimated for both slow and quick hikers.  Some of the directions (e.g. Bull Mountain, Mt. Waas) on reaching the trailhead are a bit unclear.  Aside from that, we prefer this one to the Huff- Wharton guide. Buy it at Amazon.com
 
by Jeffrey Probst, Brad Probst
 
The #1 selling High Uintas trail guide. Features 99 great hikes, ranging from simple day hikes to long treks each with photo, map and trip planner. Buy it at Amazon.com
 
Mel David, updated by John Veranth
 
A Hiking and Backpacking Guide to the High Uintas Wilderness and surrounding areas. This is a comprehensive guide - it covers just about everything in this area.  The hikes are not rated, but there are clear directions to trailheads and good descriptions of the scenery you can expect. This guide plus a topo map are about all you need to hike the Uintas. Buy it at Amazon.com
 
Dave Hall
 
The 75 hikes in this guide cover the entire state. Hall is more of an editor, as the hikes are written up by many different authors.  Each hike gets two-three pages including directions to the trailhead, maps needed, special attractions, best season, where to get more details, and instructions on the route to follow.  This guide is particularly useful because of its diversity. Buy it at Amazon.com
 
Paula Huff and Tom Wharton
 
This guide to Utah's county peaks emphasizes the history and story to the detriment of the guide section.  We used this for many peak hikes.  We disagreed with several of the ratings and felt some important details were missing from description sections. The best solution would be to read the hikes as described in both this and the Weibel-Miller guide. Buy it at Amazon.com
 
Buck Tilton
 
Hikes arranged by 6 geographic regions.  Descriptions are very short (usually less than one page) but include distance, time, elevation gains, user groups (i.e.  horses, dogs, bikers, etc.), and ratings based on "overall appeal" and difficulty.  The strength of this guide is not the descriptions (they're too brief) but the large number of possibilities included.  Use this book for ideas on where to go. Buy it at Amazon.com
 
Michael Kelsey
 
Mr. Kelsey has been there and done that and is not shy about mentioning it.  All his guides (he has published many in addition to this one) cover large areas of subject matter, but many people feel they don't give enough details for the average hiker.  Unless you're a mountaineer equal to the author, look for more complete instructions. Buy it at Amazon.com
 
John Veranth
1991, Wasatch Publishers / University of Utah Press
 
A solid guide for beginner to intermediate level skiers and snowshoers. If you've always wanted to experience the peace, solitude, and beauty of winter backcountry travel in the Wasatch, but didn't know where to go, or how to do it safely, get this book. Probably the best part about this book are the maps. Each map has avalanche-prone areas clearly marked (30 degree and above slopes, and known avalanche paths), so you'll have peace of mind about safety. The back cover of the book even has a handy ruler to figure out slope angle based on topo map contours. The book also profiles groomed tracks, and provides advice on gear. Buy it at Amazon.com
 
Wasatch Tours: Volume 1, An Introduction
Alexis Kelner and David Hanscom
Wasatch Tours Publishing, 1993
 
This excellent guide to Wasatch cross country skiing begins with advice about equipment, mountain hazards, technique, etc.  The second half of the book details beginner ski tours from Ogden to the Wasatch Plateau.  Heaviest emphasis is on Salt Lake area tours.  Book is a bit dated in spots - for example they warn about lack of parking at Daniel's Summit (book was written before the hotel went up).  Authors ski mountaineers, so their idea of "beginner" is stretched a bit.
 
Climbing and Exploring Utah's Mt. Timpanogos
by Michael Kelsey
(Kelsey Publishing, 1989)
 
Also featuring History of Provo & American Fork Canyons, Sundance, Heber Creeper, Timp Hike, Timp Cave, Airplane Crashes, Hiking Deaths, & Rocky Mountain Goats and Geology.  The subtitle says it all.  The strength of this book is not the guide to the trails but the history included.  Fascinating for those interested in Utah's most beautiful mountain.
 
Hiking the Wasatch
John Veranth
(Wasatch Mountain Club, Revised 2nd edition, 1994).
 
This book is now out of print, but if you can get hold of a copy it's an excellent guide to trips along the Wasatch Front.  Hikes range from easy walks to scrambles.  Possible difficulties are carefully noted.  But bear in mind the author is a talented mountaineer. The Book emphasizes environmental awareness.
Books About Utah
 
Edward Abbey
 
Beautifully written, funny, touching, inflammatory -- the book on the Utah desert, something everyone should read. And if you don't enjoy it, the reflection is on you not Abbey. Buy it at Amazon.com
How-To Books About Outdoor Skills
 
Karen Berger
 
Berger is a regular Backpacker Magazine contributor and a long distance hiker. This book covers all you need to know about serious backpacking. Well-illustrated, easy to use. Buy it at Amazon.com
 
Richard Spellenberg
 
A compact, easy-to-use guide for identifying wildflowers.  Precise color photographs, helpful and detailed information about each flower, excellent index. Buy it at Amazon.com
 
Chris Townsend
 
Townsend is British but his ideas are universal.  He's hiked all over the world and brings his extensive experience to this useful guide. Buy it at Amazon.com
 
Charles Campbell
 
Campbell is an excellent photographer, and this guide is written specifically for those who want to carry their photography gear into the woods. Buy it at Amazon.com
 
Annie Getchell
 
Getchell is a Backpacker editor.  This book covers all kinds of outdoor gear including tips on buying, using, maintaining and repairing. Buy it at Amazon.com
 
David Seidman
 
A clear, easy-to-understand guide to reading topo maps, using a compass, and becoming proficient at route finding. Buy it at Amazon.com
 
Paul Parker
 
Parker is a dedicated ski mountaineer.  His technique explanations are about as clear as possible when you're reading a book, not watching a video. Buy it at Amazon.com
 
Galen Rowell
 
Rowell is an expert in three fields - he's an accomplished climber with many first ascents to his credit, an internationally recognized nature photographer, and an author of many fine books.  This wonderful book has some of his most gorgeous photography along with explanations of how and why he made the images. Buy it at Amazon.com
 
Galen Rowell
 
This is another title full of great photography with thoughtful discussion and explanations. Nature photographers will find this a very intriguing look at the stories and process behind many of Rowell's classic adventure photographs. Buy it at Amazon.com
 
Don Gradon
 
A classic that's been around for years.  It tells you all you need to know if you're serious about mountaineering. Buy it at Amazon.com
 
Ray Jardine
 
These tried-and-true principles were first outlined in The Pacific Crest Trail Hiker's Handbook, (now out of print). Here he has generalized his principles to apply to all long distance backpacking. You shouldn't try to backpack any distance without at least considering these ideas.(If you're interested in these principles, there are dedicated afficionados who post regularly on backpackinglight@onelist.com.) Buy it at Amazon.com
Books About the Outdoors
 
Jim Wickwire
 
It's surprising that Wickwire is still alive.  He has had more near escapes than any mountaineer you can think of.  So many of his climbing partners have been killed, one wonders who might dare accompany him.  This is an amazing story. Buy it at Amazon.com
 
Anatoli Boukreev
 
Boukreev was an Everest guide in 1996.  This book is his rebuttal to Krakauer's claims that Boukreev's actions during the storm were negligent. Anyone who would like the full story should consider this.  Boukreev died in December 1998 while climbing on Annapurna. Buy it at Amazon.com
 
Jon Krakauer
 
This was Krakauer's first book.  It's a collection of mountaineering essays.  The situations, the characters, the description of the climbing world—it's all riveting.  This book is every bit as good as Into Thin Air. Buy it at Amazon.com
 
David Roberts
 
If anyone can equal (or surpass?) Krakauer in writing about mountaineering, it's David Roberts.  (Fittingly,  Roberts is Krakauer's mentor and friend.)  These essays are beautifully done.  Moments of Doubt (Mountaineers, 1986) was Roberts' first essay collection and contains writing about his earliest climbs and expeditions.  It's equally compelling.  Both of these books are highly recommended. Buy it at Amazon.com
 
Andrew Todhunter
 
About Dan Osman, who, after he had pushed rock climbing to its limits, began his own special sort of free-fall roped jumping.  Todhunter follows Osman around, does a jump himself, questions “why” people do it.  In the book he speculates on how long Osman can keep this up and survive.  In fact Osman did die on one of his jumps early in 1999. Buy it at Amazon.com
 
Jochen Hemmleb, Larry A.  Johnson, Eric R. Simonson
 
This book tells the story of Mallory's doomed attempt to summit Everest in 1924 in parallel with the story of the expedition that located his body 75 years later.  The detective work is fascinating.  And a remarkable and satisfying part of the story is the cooperation and good will between the modern expedition members. Excellent photography. Buy it at Amazon.com
 
Peter Potterfield
 
Three stories about survival in extreme conditions, all totally gripping.  This is a page turner.  You won't be able to stop reading until you finish it.  Potterfield has a gift for making the fear and misery his subjects felt totally real to the reader. Buy it at Amazon.com
 
Jon Krakauer
 
This is the book that made mountaineering writing mainstream.  And for good reason.  Krakauer is an excellent writer and the 1996 Everest disasters made for unbeatable outdoor adventure drama.  Climbing books don't get better than this. Buy it at Amazon.com
 
Rick Ridgeway
 
This may be the story of a 1970's expedition, but it's every bit as gripping as current forays into thin air.  The interplay betwteen the expedition members is fascinating.  This is another classic. Buy it at Amazon.com
   
Child is an Australian rock climber and mountaineer.  Witty, understated engaging writing.  He's had many, many climbing adventures. Buy it at Amazon.com