You can deepen your park experience by learning more about Yosemite’s unique flora and fauna, from giant sequoia trees and black bears to the smallest mountain frogs and colorful wildflowers. Here are just a few of our trustworthy favorite field guides to carry with you in the car and on the trail as you explore Yosemite’s natural grandeur.
Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada, John Muir Laws (Heyday Books, 2007). Colorful, approachable and conversational field guide is filled with watercolor illustrations for easy species identification.
National Audubon Society Field Guide to California, Peter Alden, et al. (Knopf, 1998). Sturdily bound, comprehensive, and academic field guide comprehensively covers the state, including Sierra Nevada habitats, conservation and ecology, geology, and astronomy.
Pacific Coast Tree Finder, Tom Watts (Wilderness Press, 2004). Slim, lightweight, and family-friendly pocket guide will help nature novices identify both native and introduced species of trees throughout California.
Roadside Geology of Northern and Central California, David Alt (Mountain Press, 2000). Learn about the shake, rattle and roll of California’s fault lines, which uplift the Sierra Nevada. This guide includes a driving tour of Yosemite National Park.
Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America, David Allen Sibley (Knopf, 2003). Excellent portable identification guide for over 700 species of birds, with 4600 illustrations.
Sierra Birds: A Hiker’s Guide, John Muir Laws (Heyday Books, 2004). Condensed guide for beginning birders, with color-coded keys that allow you to identify species more quickly.
Sierra Nevada Natural History, Tracy I. Storer, Robert L. Usinger & David Lukas (University of California Press, 2004). Comprehensive field guide to flora and fauna, geology, climate, and topography, with a brief overview of the region’s human history.
Sierra Nevada Wildflowers, Karen Wise (Falcon, 2000). Pint-sized field guide with a durable cover includes color photos of more than 200 common species of wildflowers, including those found throughout Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.