National parks, where landscape and culture intersect

A photography book explores the history of travel within our nation’s parks.

  • Switchbacks on the Big Oak Flat Road leading into Yosemite Valley, 1903.

    Julius Boysen/NPS
  • Snow on Fall River Road, Rocky Mountain National Park, June 1926.

    Fred Clatworthy


Most national park visitors view these beloved landscapes from inside their cars, driving down the roads that wind through them. How and why these roads came to be, the best ones to tour, the trade-offs involved in building roads through scenic landscapes, as well as thoughts about the future of park transportation — these are the subject of historian Timothy Davis’ National Park Roads.

The large-format book combines stunning photographs, both old and new, with historical context and discussions of the purpose and place of park roads. University of Colorado professor Paul Sutter comments: “Roads share the view, define the line between preservation and use, and demonstrate above all else that our national parks are landscapes where nature and culture intersect.” This book invites you to explore these intersections as you journey through the history of travel in national parks.  

National Park Roads
By Timothy Davis.
330 pages, hardcover: $49.95.
The University of Virginia Press and The National Park Foundation, 2016.