Although it is possible to find virtually any location in the United States using a GPS, many of us, especially oldtimers, prefer to use maps and guide books as sources for our destinations and day trips.
It is impossible to list all of the good travel books about the southwest United States, so I will offer a few of the easily accessible books that serve me well as I travel in my RV.
This brief review may be helpful in identifying interesting sights, sounds, mysteries and destinations as you travel through and around the southwest part of the country. Dozens of other interesting, stimulating, motivating, helpful books may be found in most every library, bookstore, museum, visitor center, national park or monuments and online.
The following books have been helpful to me.
Lost Cities and Ancient Mysteries of the Southwest by David Hatcher Childress
At the very least this is a book filled with fantastic suggestions and claims about historic and pre-historic life in what is now the Southwest USA and northern Mexico. Claims abound about the presence of huge underground cities, of treasure troves, of mummified giants and of dozens of recent and ancient mysteries. Buried and lost treasures, aliens from outer space, lost oceans, seas and waterways which enabled ships from Africa, Egypt, South America and beyond to sail into the regions that we now know as Death Valley, central California, the Grand Canyon and throughout the southwest.
Also mentioned are clues to several lost mines of enormous value, such as the Lost Dutchman, PegLeg and many others. The mysteries of the Marfa Lights, of other ghost lights and ghost towns are described. Take this exciting fantasy trip with the author and his friends. Be prepared for frequent stops in bars and honky tonks where the author and friends may have secured some of their inspiration for the descriptions of the tall tales that are detailed in this amazing tour guide to lost cities and abundant mysteries of the Southwest USA.
I found this to be a most enjoyable and exciting travelogue which is even more personal and exciting because I purchased my author-autographed copy in the bookstore, located in Old Town Cottonwood, Ariz., which is owned by the author’s mother. It was my pleasure to meet and talk with her. I plan to read the book again and to use it as a reference guide as I plan more RV travel throughout the southwest.
More than 210 citations, footnotes and bibliographic references are listed. Many recent and historic photos and maps are included to help the explorer locate some of the sites. Eight chapters describe a variety of interesting remains of ghost towns and mines in Mexico, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Texas, California and Nevada.
To order, click here.
130 Day Hikes and Five Vortex Sites Around Sedona, Ariz., by Richard and Sherry Mangum
The authors have hiked each of the trails, and I have hiked about 20 of the 130 described hikes, some a few times. I have found the directions and information for each of those hikes to be accurate and complete. The description of each of the 130 hikes offers all the following features:
- A U.S. Geographical Survey map
- Driving distance
- Hiking distance and time, one way
- Exertion rating: easy, moderate, strenuous
- Key features and Trail Head markings
- Map of driving and walking distance
- Description of the trail and visual features
- A photo of one co-author on the trail
- Best hiking weather
- Elevation change
However, I have yet to experience a vortex. To order the book, click here.
Southwest Camping Destinations by Mike and Terri Church
This is a guide to great RV and car camping destinations in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. It also contains information about camping in southern California and Baja, Mexico.
- Location/region within the state.
- Number of camping sites
- Campground phone number
- Campground email address
- Photos of amenities
- Information about destinations near the campgrounds
- Campgrounds including Bureau of Land Management and commercial parks
- Spread sheet of snowbird parks
- A chapter on snowbird destinations
- A chapter on travel in Mexico
To order the book, click here.
Roadside Geology of Arizona by Halka Chronic
As we travels throughout the great and beautiful state of Arizona the outstanding features include the magnificent mountains, canyons and cliffs that can be observed from the highways and off-roads. From the Arizona strip south to the Bisbee area and from east to west borders there are many geological formations of diverse types.
Unfortunately, I earned a bachelors degree in physical education, a masters in science education and a doctorate in microbial ecology without every taking a single course in geology. Now, while traveling extensively in the southwest, geology is a prime interest for me.
This book offers an introductory course or geology 101 in Chapter 1 followed by more than 240 pages of text, photos and drawings explaining the geological formations which are visible from the Interstates and other primary highways of Arizona. A final chapter provides key information about the geology of the 11 national parks and monuments within the Arizona borders. One may wish to study this book prior to traveling in various sections of the state.
Similar books of this type may be obtained as guides to the geology of other states in the America. It is not necessary to be a scientist to understand and appreciate the information provided.
To order this book, click here.