Book Review: “Super Parks: Grand Canyon National Park” by James Buckley Jr.

Among the book facts: Scientists and rangers have counted this many species living in the Grand Canyon National Forest: Mammals: 91, Fish:48, Reptiles: 17 Birds: 440.

The cool and sometimes gloomy days of February in Las Vegas are the time to plan. How about a trip…to the Grand Canyon? One can drive there, ride a bus or a train or park nearby and take a shuttle. Some folks make it a day trip; others stay overnight and some folks stay even longer. Once at the canyon some visitors do nothing but look; others enjoy miles of hiking or biking tails. The bravest of the visitors hike or ride mules to the bottom of the canyon. (Editor’s Note: We never recommend taking a day trip to Grand Canyon from Las Vegas. Doing so, would entail more than 10 hours driving and very little time at the Grand Canyon.)

The canyon scenery is worth the Grand Canyon’s designation as one of the seven wonders of the world, and pictures can be spectacular. But do you learn a thing or two? You do if you take a guided tour OR if your family or adult travel companions purchase a book I recommend, Super Parks: Grand Canyon by James Buckley Jr. This book is part of the author’s Super Cities series.

What I liked about the book is that it is filled with interesting information about the canyon and its surroundings and is full of pictures and illustrations. With the book, one of the folks on a trip (older or younger) can read aloud about the canyon. While the book was written for children, there are plenty of interesting facts for adults to ponder as well.

(Editor’s Note: One of the best books ever written about the Grand Canyon is this one written by James Kaiser: Grand Canyon National Park: The Complete Guide. Here is a review published on And one of the books published by Imbrifex Books, Base Camp Las Vegas, features a long hike inside the Grand Canyon. And Rick Quinn’s book, Arizona and New Mexico, includes some suggestions for traveling in and around the Grand Canyon, including a little-known road that drives into the Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon is perfect for picture-taking.
Photo by Rick Quinn
–Click on the photo to see a larger version

Sorry to say, I have visited the Grand Canyon twice and never studied anything except a map. When I received Buckley Jr.’s book I read it eagerly. Even after the fact, one can learn (or re-learn if school was a few years ago). For example: “Tens of millions of years ago, the area where the Grand Canyon formed was flat as a pancake. Atop the massive Colorado plateau, the land was mostly dessert and stone. But the Colorado River began doing its work. About 30-50 million years ago, the flow of the river began to erode (wear away over time) the land, slowly forming a canyon that grew and grew over millions of years. Eventually, the river’s scouring power created what we see today.”

Because so much information is contained in this small book, including information about side trips, the book can also be used as a guide in planning a trip to the canyon. Another example:

“Summer is by far the busiest time of the year at Grand Canyon especially on the South Rim. If you can go in spring or fall, you’ll see the same amazing views but with fewer people around. If you have to go in summer, plan ahead and expect to wait in lines for parking, food and some activities.”

Not every day at the Grand Canyon is wonderful. On one of my trips, a huge fog came to the canyon and those folks who had taken just a one-day train trip to the South Rim missed seeing the canyon altogether. Fortunately our group had booked an overnight so we were able to see the canyon’s South Rim on day two.

(Editor’s Note: Fog is such a rarity at the South Rim, that long-time visitors consider seeing a day with fog–a very special treat.)

More outtakes from the book:

“Watch for Bison: A herd of bison live in the forest on the north side of the. canyon. Watch for them as you drive South on Highway 67 into the park.”

“..In all of the Grand Canyon’s ecosystems, different plants thrive. In fact, there are more different species of plants in Grand Canyon National Park than in any other national park.”

Every American and/or foreign visitor should make it a priority to take a trip to the Grand Canyon.


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