Discover the ‘Secrets of the National Parks’ with a Little Help From National Geographic [REVIEW]

Dawn is the best time to see the Grand Tetons from any vantage point. (Photo courtesy Canva)

If you have ever hit the wide open road in search of adventure at America’s gorgeous national parks, you were probably blown away by the experience. Whether you stood on the edge of the Grand Canyon staring down into its vast chasm or watched Old Faithful erupt in a stunning display of geothermal energy in the midst of Yellowstone, you might think you’ve really experienced the best these parks have to offer. But honey, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Leave it to National Geographic to pull the hair out of your eyes and lead you on a journey unlike no other. All you need is the second edition of their guidebook, Secrets of the National Parks. It’s like having a park ranger in your pocket.

National Geographic

Let’s take the Grand Tetons for example. I’ve been there a few times, and their immense height is beautiful regardless of the season. But the thing is, I only saw it from the road. They simply look too big to tackle by trail, but Nat Geo is happy to inform me otherwise. For example, almost everyone stops at Jenny Lake (we were snowed out last time we were there, so we didn’t), but our guides tell us that there’s a scenic boat ride to the distant shore of the lake where you can hike a 1.1-mile trail to see Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. Or, to capture some truly amazing photographs of Jackson Hole and the Tetons, you can drive to the top of Signal Mountain which stands at 7,727 feet and offers panoramic views of the range.

Growing up, our family stopped at the Grand Canyon a few times on cross-country road trips. We usually pulled over to the South Rim and watched the light play upon the craggy walls for a bit, or we went to watch the IMAX movie about the park. That was probably all my tired parents could take before they shoveled us kids back into the car to continue our drive between Arkansas and California. But if I visit again, I want to be among the 10 percent who go beyond the rim. Now I know that I can take a shuttle along Hermit Road to a part of the Rim Trail that is rarely accessed called Hermits Rest. Be sure you’re the among the first on the shuttle in the morning, however, if you want to know how it feels to experience these transcendent views in solitude. If you’re feeling particularly athletic and adventurous, you can also descend into the canyon via the Hermit Trail, although it’s not for beginners. It’s a 2.2-mile hike one way to Santa Maria Spring, hugging tightly to the wall along a switchback trail that has eroded over the years. But you’ll be rewarded for your adventurous spirit by the sight of fossil reptile tracks in the stone.

Finally, there’s Yellowstone. The last time we visited, we were with friends from Idaho who took us camping up in the Tetons in August, and then we made our way over to Yellowstone later during the same trip. Just when we got to Old Faithful, we were caught in the midst of a freak blizzard and had to cut our trip short. Yeah, in August. Go figure! So there are still loads of things we want to return and see, such as the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone where two waterfalls plunge into a spectacular yellow-rock gorge. There, you can take Uncle Tom’s Trail down to the base of the Lower Falls for a face-on view of the falls. In the Southeastern part of the park, you can head to Yellowstone Lake, the largest Alpine lake in North America above 7,000 feet, with 110 feet of shoreline. Sounds glorious!

There are many more parks discussed here too, and loads of other great insider tips in store for you when you get Secrets of the National Parks. Whether you want to visit the Gateway Arch, Denali National Park, Pinnacles National Park, or others, the expert travelers, rangers, and park managers who contributed to this volume have dished on all the best sites that are often overlooked. Wouldn’t you love to be the one who returns from vacation with jaw-dropping photos that make your friends envious? You might even become in Instagram sensation overnight! Your chances are great if you diverge from the road most travelled and explore like an insider, and National Geographic is the one to help you do it.

Packed with all the insights you need to plan your camping trip, hikes, backpacking trips, and more, this is the best little guidebook you never knew you always needed. Haven’t you been cooped up long enough? It’s time to return to nature and realign your energy center. Pull out this book and start dreaming again of all the places you want to see. This volume helps you find the best spots to seize Zen-worthy moments in solitude, or with your significant other or whoever else you choose to take along. Escape the city. Breathe deeply again. Life is still out there, and nature is inviting you to come back and live it.

National Geographic logo


One of the world’s leading nonfiction publishers, National Geographic has published more than 1,700 titles, featuring such categories as history, travel, nature, photography, space, science, health, biography, and memoir.

A portion of its proceeds is used to fund exploration, conservation, and education through ongoing contributions to the work of the National Geographic Society.

To find out more about Nat Geo, visit, like them on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

By National Geographic
288 pp. National Geographic. $24.99.

TLC Book Tours

Purchase Secrets of the National Parks direct from Jathan & Heather Books or from one of these other fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Half Price Books, Hudson Booksellers, IndieBound, Powell’s, Target, or Walmart.

Secrets of the National Parks, Second Edition is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

2 Responses to Discover the ‘Secrets of the National Parks’ with a Little Help From National Geographic [REVIEW]

  1. Pingback: National Geographic Guide to National Parks of the United States and National Geographic Secrets of the National Parks, 2nd Edition, on tour February 2021 | TLC Book Tours

  2. Sara Strand says:

    I loved this duo as well! Thank you for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: