Cave of the Mounds Stone Sign

Rocking Road Trip: Books to Help You Plan

May 2022

Written by Jenny

Road trips. Loading up the car for a day, or a week, of picnicking, music, conversation, learning and relaxing while exploring places both near and far. But perhaps my favorite part of a road trip is the planning and imagining each trip. Surrounding myself with books, maps and stories activate my imagination while sparking my curiosity about the world we live in. When in town for a visit to Cave of the Mounds, why not also consider some of the other interesting geology of Wisconsin?

Photo of People exploring the cave at this must see place

Wisconsin Rocks! A guide to Geological Sites in the Badger State

Colorful photographs draw you into the pages of Wisconsin Rocks!. The photos, maps, and diagrams depict choice geological features throughout the state. The inclusion of a brief geologic history of the area helps explain and illustrate the morphology of the landscape while inspiring you to notice the natural features. This series also includes books for Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington.

Book Cover of Wisconsin Rocks by Scott Spoolman book cover

Wisconsin State Parks: Extraordinary Stories of Geology and Natural History

This book is filled with colorful photographs and information outlining the interesting geological sites within some of Wisconsin’s state parks. The geologic timeline of an area is presented with enough detail to weave a picture of what happened to create the landscape, yet accessible to those of us without extensive backgrounds in geology. Details for specific hiking trails within select parks add to the experience by giving us a preview of what to look for as we enjoy the time exploring. This is a great book to skim through again and again while dreaming about adventurous morning hikes, leisurely afternoons, or cozy evening around a campfire.

Book Cover of Wisconsin State Parks

Roadside Geology of Wisconsin

Roadside Geology of Wisconsin is a treasure trove of easy to find geological sites throughout the state. There are numerous photographs, maps and diagrams to explain how natural forces shaped the features we see today. While the text goes into greater detail about geology and geological timelines, the diagrams and illustrations help create context for grasping the details of each formation. This book is a favorite for learning about the rocks and cliffs that spark our curiosity while driving, as well as for providing detailed explanations for the spaces we explore when we arrive. In addition to Wisconsin, Roadside Geology books are available for 34 other states.

Book Cover of Roadside Geology in Wisconsin

101 American Geo-Sites You’ve Gotta See

This book focuses on sites throughout the United States, listing only 2-3 locations in each state. This book starts with a introduction to geological timelines and provides diagrams and illustrations to help keep the information orderly and accessible. Each highlighted location offers information about the area and how it formed as well as photos and illustrations or diagrams to explain and map out the area. Dickas also has a book on fossils titled 101 American Fossil Sites You’ve Gotta See for those who would like to add fossil hunting to their road trip.

Book Cover of 1010 American Geo-Sites


Dickas, Albert Binkley. 101 American Geo-Sites You’ve Gotta See. Mountain Press Piblishing, 2012.

Dott, R. H., & Attig, J. W. Roadside Geology of Wisconsin. Mountain Press Publishing Company, 2004.

Spoolman, Scott. Wisconsin Rocks! A Guide to Geologic Sites in the Badger State. Mountain Press Publishing Company, 2018.

Spoolman, Scott. Wisconsin State Parks: Extraordinary Stories of Geology and Natural History. Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2018.