The books offer a bevy of options for the casual and serious tourist.
NEW YORK (AP) -- If you're planning a trip to a national park this summer, make sure to check out the extensive information offered about every part of the parks system at the www.nps.gov Web site.
However, if you need more guidance about what to see and do, where to stay, how to get there and other aspects of your visit, several new guidebooks may help.
National Geographic has published the "Guide to the National Parks West," with information on Yellowstone, Yosemite, Rocky Mountain, Olympic and 14 other parks. The book gives a quick overview of must-sees in each park with just enough specific information on mile markers and trailheads to make planning easy but not overwhelming.
Insight Guides has a new book called "U.S. National Parks West" with chapters on California and the Pacific, the Southwest, the Rockies and the Pacific Northwest. It's lushly illustrated with extensive background on the history, geology and ecology of each park, in addition to offering practical information about driving itineraries, trails, amenities and attractions.
Lonely Planet's guide to "Zion & amp; Bryce Canyon National Parks" is particularly useful for travelers looking to budget their time. The book offers sample itineraries for each park -- including Grand Staircase, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands and Arches in addition to Zion and Bryce -- for a half-day, a full day or a couple of days.
For example, a half-day in Zion should include the Zion Canyon Shuttle to the Temple of Sinawava, the Riverside Walk and a stop at Weeping Rock and the Court of the Patriarchs. A half-day at Bryce would begin at Sunset Point, then a one-hour hike along the Navajo Loop Trail followed by the Queen's Garden Trail. End with a drive to Bryce Point and a meal at Bryce Canyon Lodge.