There's nothing quite like a good guide book to get one excited about heading off on an adventure. One area that we've nosed around over the years but never fully explored is the Four Corners area around the common – and unique! – border of Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. Along comes Illustrated Guide to Exploring the Grand Circle, by Daniel Pierce and Joel Anderson.
The Grand Circle doesn't have a single definition. In this book it's defined as being mostly in Utah plus the Grand Canyon in Arizona. If you visit The Grand Circle Association – a great source of travel tips for the area – you'll find a much larger diameter to their circle. Any way you draw it the Grand Circle has more cool places per square mile than just about anywhere, and IGEGC is a great way to get excited about visiting.
The book's centerpiece is its artwork, all of which is done in retro travel poster style with saturated colors and grand vistas. And the art is gorgeous, a feast for the eyes and the imagination, making it easy to pick up and hard to put down. All of the posters featured, and a lot more, are available in various formats on the ADG website as well.
The layout of the book starts with maps, itineraries and history, then moves on to detailed treatments of eight areas: Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Capitol Reef, Moab, Blanding/Bluff, Glen Canyon, and the North Rim Grand Canyon. Throughout are interesting side trips exploring activities like horseback riding, fossil hunting and offroading, as well as features like hoodoos, rock art and slot canyons. Bottom line: if the Grand Circle isn't on your bucket list, add it now, and pick up a copy of Illustrated Guide to Exploring the Grand Circle to start dreaming.