100 books like Hiking the Grand Canyon's Geology

By Lon Abbott, Terri Cook,

Here are 100 books that Hiking the Grand Canyon's Geology fans have personally recommended if you like Hiking the Grand Canyon's Geology. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Volcanoes of Northern Arizona

Why am I passionate about this?

Since my earliest memories, I have been fascinated with rocks, landscapes, and the movement of time. It was perhaps only fitting then, that I should have landed in the bottom of the Grand Canyon in the 1970s working as a backcountry ranger where I discovered GEOLOGY! Since then, my world view has been shaped by the record of earth history that is held in sedimentary rocks, mountain belts, and the colorful and varied landscapes of the Desert Southwest and Colorado Plateau. I am in love with these landscapes and know them well. This love affair causes me to visit other landscapes around the world and ponder their development. 


Wayne's book list on the geology and magic of the landscapes of the American Southwest and Colorado Plateau

Wayne Ranney Why did Wayne love this book?

Who knew there were volcanoes in northern Arizona? Wendell Duffield takes readers on a visual and literary tour de force of this amazing region. The San Francisco Volcanic Field contains over 600 vents and cones with one large stratovolcano, a half a dozen or more silicic dome volcanoes, and hundreds of basalt cinder cones. All are explained in clear, concise prose. And who knew the Grand Canyon had volcanoes too, some of which spilled cascading lava flows into the canyon, damming the river at least 17 times. It’s all here in this little book that has a big impact.

By Wendell A. Duffield, Michael Collier (photographer),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Volcanoes of Northern Arizona as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book provides a popular look at the fiery origin of Northern Arizona’s landscape. With magnificent aerial photographs, original geologic illustrations, and detailed road logs to many of the key features, this book is an indispensable tool for the traveler, the educator, and all who are interested in the remarkable landscape of northern Arizona.


Book cover of Desert Heat, Volcanic Fire: The Geologic History of the Tucson Mountains and Southern Arizona

Why am I passionate about this?

Since my earliest memories, I have been fascinated with rocks, landscapes, and the movement of time. It was perhaps only fitting then, that I should have landed in the bottom of the Grand Canyon in the 1970s working as a backcountry ranger where I discovered GEOLOGY! Since then, my world view has been shaped by the record of earth history that is held in sedimentary rocks, mountain belts, and the colorful and varied landscapes of the Desert Southwest and Colorado Plateau. I am in love with these landscapes and know them well. This love affair causes me to visit other landscapes around the world and ponder their development. 


Wayne's book list on the geology and magic of the landscapes of the American Southwest and Colorado Plateau

Wayne Ranney Why did Wayne love this book?

I used to teach Topics in Regional Geology at Yavapai College (Prescott) and when preparing for field trips in the Santa Catalina and Tucson Mountains, I leaned heavily on this clearly written and engaging book with a fascinating storyline. Dr. Kring brings readers of all levels on a wondrous journey through time in the desert southwest. I think one of the most amazing aspects of the book is that none of the main parts of the story are readily obvious to anyone. Only geologic sleuthing has unearthed them.

By David A. Kring,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Desert Heat, Volcanic Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

softcover


Book cover of Geology of the Canyons of the San Juan River

Why am I passionate about this?

Since my earliest memories, I have been fascinated with rocks, landscapes, and the movement of time. It was perhaps only fitting then, that I should have landed in the bottom of the Grand Canyon in the 1970s working as a backcountry ranger where I discovered GEOLOGY! Since then, my world view has been shaped by the record of earth history that is held in sedimentary rocks, mountain belts, and the colorful and varied landscapes of the Desert Southwest and Colorado Plateau. I am in love with these landscapes and know them well. This love affair causes me to visit other landscapes around the world and ponder their development. 


Wayne's book list on the geology and magic of the landscapes of the American Southwest and Colorado Plateau

Wayne Ranney Why did Wayne love this book?

I’ve been fortunate to have “stumbled” into a geologic writing career and if I had to put my finger on a single book that has the greatest effect on me choosing this path, it would be this little river guidebook. Maybe you will not run the San Juan River (but you should!). Nevertheless, the introductory chapters to the rocks and landscape of Monument Valley and the San Juan River will have you planning a trip there in no time. The chapter called “Permianland” was especially enlightening to me - I have read the first two paragraphs in it innumerable times. Great book!

By Four Corners Geological Society,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Geology of the Canyons of the San Juan River as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Four Corners Geological Society Staple-bound Pamphlet 1973. 94 pp. Size 8" by 5" by about 0.25". Binding intact; no loose pages. Covers and pages clean and unmarked EXCEPT a red upside-down "PAID" stamp on front cover and an occasional dirt spot. All text pages are unmarked. Numerous B&W photos, charts, maps, and drawings. Articles by D.L. Baars and Jack A. Ellingsen (both of Ft. Lewis College, Durango) and Gary C. Huber (of Colorado School of Mines, Golden) discuss the geology and canyon structures of the river from around Aneth westward to about Big Bend. The last chapter is the "River…


Book cover of Geology of the American Southwest: A Journey Through Two Billion Years of Plate-Tectonic History

Why am I passionate about this?

Since my earliest memories, I have been fascinated with rocks, landscapes, and the movement of time. It was perhaps only fitting then, that I should have landed in the bottom of the Grand Canyon in the 1970s working as a backcountry ranger where I discovered GEOLOGY! Since then, my world view has been shaped by the record of earth history that is held in sedimentary rocks, mountain belts, and the colorful and varied landscapes of the Desert Southwest and Colorado Plateau. I am in love with these landscapes and know them well. This love affair causes me to visit other landscapes around the world and ponder their development. 


Wayne's book list on the geology and magic of the landscapes of the American Southwest and Colorado Plateau

Wayne Ranney Why did Wayne love this book?

Of all the books I am recommending, this might the one that may be a bit more technical for the average reader. But after reading the other four, I think you will be ready for this comprehensive look at the evolution and development of the Southwestern landscape. Baldridge has written the complete reference to how the very ancient rocks play a role in how the modern landscape looks. Most folks I talk to who have read this were very happy they did so.

By W. Scott Baldridge,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Geology of the American Southwest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two billion years of Earth history are represented in the rocks and landscape of the Southwest USA, creating natural wonders such as the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and Death Valley. This region is considered a geologist's 'dream', since its rocks provide a slice through a huge range of Earth history, and provide examples of many of the geologic processes shaping the Earth. For this reason, the region attracts a large number of undergraduate field classes, and amateur geologists. Geology of the American Southwest, first published in 2004, provides a concise and accessible account of the geology of the region, and…


Book cover of Grand Canyon

Leslie Barnard Booth Author Of A Stone Is a Story

From my list on rocks and geology for children.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child growing up in the Pacific Northwest, my pockets were often full of rocks. Rocks are beautiful and soothing to hold. They are ubiquitous treasures, available to all. But even more than this, rocks are portals to the past—to a time before humans, before animals, before plants, before microbes. I am endlessly fascinated by the stories rocks tell and by the secrets they share with us through their form and structure. I still collect rocks, and now I also write picture books about science and nature for children. The books on this list are all wonder-filled. I hope you enjoy them!

Leslie's book list on rocks and geology for children

Leslie Barnard Booth Why did Leslie love this book?

I’m obsessed with time—how to define it, the way it reshapes all things, the sheer immensity of it. Rocks are our only link to Earth’s deep past, and we rely on the stories rocks tell to understand our planet’s history.

This nonfiction picture book offers a detailed introduction to the geology and ecology of one of Earth’s great natural wonders, showcasing the Grand Canyon’s distinct ecological communities and explaining its formation.

As a parent and child hike the canyon, we explore it alongside them, and through momentary leaps back in time, we see how the landscape and its inhabitants have changed over the course of more than 1 billion years.

By Jason Chin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Grand Canyon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Rivers wind through earth, cutting down and eroding the soil for millions of years, creating a cavity in the ground 277 miles long, 18 miles wide and more an a mile deep known as the Grand Canyon.

Home to an astonishing variety of plants and animals that have lived and evolved within its walls for millennia, the Grand Canyon is much more than just a hole in the ground. Follow a father and daughter as they make their way through the cavernous wonder, discovering life both present and past.

Weave in and out of time as perfectly placed die cuts…


Book cover of Stars Above, Earth Below: A Guide to Astronomy in the National Parks

Emily Hoff and Maygen Keller Author Of Scenic Science of the National Parks: An Explorer's Guide to Wildlife, Geology, and Botany

From my list on exploring the National Parks without Roosevelt, Mather, and Muir.

Why are we passionate about this?

Nature enthusiasts, David Attenborough superfans, and the best campsite hot toddy makers you’ll ever encounter… We’re best friends who have been traveling through national parks together for millenia. During our travels, we’ve developed our own style of tourism based on science and following our curiosity. We’ve hiked with paleontologists, asked renowned scientists ridiculous questions about which prehistoric creature they’d want for a pet, and introduced a parks astronomer/pilot/ER doctor to bourbon. In 2023, we released National Parks Trivia: A Card Game so that when you’re done hiking around with our first book, you have something to keep you entertained at the campsite all evening long. 

Emily's book list on exploring the National Parks without Roosevelt, Mather, and Muir

Emily Hoff and Maygen Keller Why did Emily love this book?

The catchy phrase “half the park is after dark”? Yeah, Nordgren came up with that!

An astronomer, artist, and reformed college professor, Nordgren’s guide is essential for anyone who knows a little or a lot about what’s going on in the skies above your favorite parks. It’s not just about stargazing, though—he also points out when the land you see is similar to something you’d see in the cosmos.

Our joint copy went to every park with us and is thoroughly highlighted and dog-eared… there might be some whiskey spills on there too. 

By Tyler Nordgren,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stars Above, Earth Below as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stars Above, Earth Below uses photographs and sky charts to form a connection between what is seen on the ground and in the sky, and looks at the deeper scientific meaning behind these sights. Nordgren describes other objects in the Solar System with features similar to those on Earth and links the geological features seen in the national parks to the very latest NASA spacecraft discoveries on other planets and their moons. Additionally, historical context is discussed to show why we humans (who have lived in and around our national parts for tens of thousands of years) have always been…


Book cover of Earthshake: Poems from the Ground Up

Brenda Z. Guiberson Author Of Yours 'Til Niagara Falls

From my list on the fascinating and connected layers of world.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a writer of dozens of books for children, I always learn much more that can go into each effort. A “wow” moment gets me started. It could be a giant cactus that grows so slowly, frogs that don’t ribbet, maybe a moment with a sea turtle, or thoughts on geology and natural wonders. Each book comes into a hazy focus after tons of research but much gets left out. What goes in? The best “wow” details get woven into an incredible story full of surprise, joy, and admiration for this world of constant change and those struggling to survive.

Brenda's book list on the fascinating and connected layers of world

Brenda Z. Guiberson Why did Brenda love this book?

Humor and poetry brought to the natural wonders of earth? Wow! This book has twenty-two poems such as “Recipe for Granite,” “Obituary for a Clam” and “Instructions for the Earth’s Dishwasher.” A favorite is a plea for a glacier, so sluggish and slow. “Just once, when no one is looking, peel out!” The illustrations are bright and fun and the endnotes provide extra information.

By Lisa Westberg Peters, Cathie Felstead (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Earthshake as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Principles of Geology

Robert M. Hazen Author Of The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years, from Stardust to Living Planet

From my list on planet Earth.

Why am I passionate about this?

Robert M. Hazen, Senior Staff Scientist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Earth and Planets Laboratory and the Clarence Robinson Professor of Earth Science at George Mason University, received the B.S. and S.M. in geology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Ph.D. at Harvard University in Earth science. His most recent book is The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years from Stardust to Living Planet, which explores the intricate coevolution of the geosphere and biosphere.

Robert's book list on planet Earth

Robert M. Hazen Why did Robert love this book?

Lyell’s Principles, though published almost 190 years ago, is a masterful argument for the veracity of deep time. Drawing on his skills as a lawyer as much as his scientific perceptions, Lyell lays out the case for the power of gradual processes operating over vast expanses of time to change the face of our planet. His lucid, compelling case that “the present is key to the past” greatly influenced many subsequent discoveries, including Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. And, happily, various editions are freely available in facsimile on the web.

By Sir Charles Lyell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Principles of Geology as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the key works in the nineteenth-century battle between science and Scripture, Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology (1830-33) sought to explain the geological state of the modern Earth by considering the long-term effects of observable natural phenomena. Written with clarity and a dazzling intellectual passion, it is both a seminal work of modern geology and a compelling precursor to Darwinism, exploring the evidence for radical changes in climate and geography across the ages and speculating on the progressive development of life. A profound influence on Darwin, Principles of Geology also captured the imagination of contemporaries such as Melville, Emerson,…


Book cover of Annals of the Former World

Brian Villmoare Author Of The Evolution of Everything: The Patterns and Causes of Big History

From my list on former English majors who like science.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a college professor and paleoanthropologist–I study human fossils and the evolution of the human lineage. My field site is in the Afar region of Ethiopia, and I regularly spend a month or so wandering across the desert, picking up fossils. I view myself very much as a scientist and believe that the scientific view is the most reliable in some important ways. However, I came to science fairly late in life–I was an undergraduate philosophy and English literature student and didn’t go to graduate school until I was 30. Because of my liberal arts background, I have always felt it was important to bridge the science-humanities divide. 

Brian's book list on former English majors who like science

Brian Villmoare Why did Brian love this book?

Geology can be a tough sell for the popular science audience. It can seem boringly commonplace yet remote in relevance to our day-to-day lives. But it is probably the most important science for understanding how and where we live.

In this beautifully written compilation, McPhee drives across North America, generally in the company of a local geologist, exploring the deep past and our modern relationship with it through roadcuts, quarries, eroded exposures, volcanoes, and mountains pushing up through the sediments.

McPhee is a New Yorker writer, with all that implies–his work is meticulously written, detailed, and literary. This book is simply a visceral pleasure to read–I recommend you find a hammock and a few days.

By John McPhee,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Annals of the Former World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Pulitzer Prize-winning view of the continent, across the fortieth parallel and down through 4.6 billion years

Twenty years ago, when John McPhee began his journeys back and forth across the United States, he planned to describe a cross section of North America at about the fortieth parallel and, in the process, come to an understanding not only of the science but of the style of the geologists he traveled with. The structure of the book never changed, but its breadth caused him to complete it in stages, under the overall title Annals of the Former World.

Like the terrain…


Book cover of If the Universe Is Teeming with Aliens ... WHERE IS EVERYBODY?: Seventy-Five Solutions to the Fermi Paradox and the Problem of Extraterrestrial Life

Fernando J. Ballesteros Author Of E.T. Talk: How Will We Communicate with Intelligent Life on Other Worlds?

From my list on humanistic answers from the skies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an astronomer and astrobiologist, and my field of work leads me to wonder about the origin of life in the universe and how scientific discoveries (and especially those related to space) affect culture, people's lives, or even civilization itself. All of the books listed here focus precisely on answering some of these concerns, which is why I find them extremely interesting.

Fernando's book list on humanistic answers from the skies

Fernando J. Ballesteros Why did Fernando love this book?

This book tries to answer one of those vital questions that we have asked ourselves since we were children and that, at least in my case, continues to be part of my interest as an adult: Why don't we have any real proof of the existence of other civilizations beyond Earth?

This question has its own name: the Fermi Paradox, the apparent contradiction between the high probability of extraterrestrial life and the lack of evidence for alien civilizations. I enjoyed how the author, Stephen Webb, goes over all the possible solutions to this paradox that science has been able to imagine. In the end, Webb gives his own solution (which does not match mine).

By Stephen Webb,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked If the Universe Is Teeming with Aliens ... WHERE IS EVERYBODY? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Given the fact that there are perhaps 400 billion stars in our Galaxy alone, and perhaps 400 billion galaxies in the Universe, it stands to reason that somewhere out there, in the 14-billion-year-old cosmos, there is or once was a civilization at least as advanced as our own. The sheer enormity of the numbers almost demands that we accept the truth of this hypothesis. Why, then, have we encountered no evidence, no messages, no artifacts of these extraterrestrials?

In this second, significantly revised and expanded edition of his widely popular book, Webb discusses in detail the (for now!) 75 most…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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