Centre for Continuing Education

Classic Journeys: America's National Parks - the Culture and Landscape of the American West

History. See the future. It’s in the past.

The world as we know it today has been shaped by events of the past. Learn about history the smart way with History courses at the University of Sydney.

Join us on a 5000 mile journey through the American West, a region unique with plant and animal life, geographic wonders, human history and settlements. We visit fifteen national and state parks which protect and honour the landscape, and learn about some of the fascinating indigenous and European discovery. We will cast aside the West of Hollywood stereotype and visit these fascinating and accessible areas through the eyes of an Australian travelling through America. During the course, we will see bears, elk, squirrels, huge landscapes and waterfalls, ‘Old Faithful’ in Yellowstone, as well as two gold mining towns.


At the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Decide which American National Parks to visit.
  2. Have a good background to the history of the parks.
  3. Have a greater understanding of the importance of the American National Park system, and be confident of planning a journey to visit the American West and her parks.


This course covers the following topics:


  • Early American history.
  • Grand Tetons N.P.
  • Yellowstone N.P.
  • Chico Hot Springs.


  • Flathead Lake, Montana.
  • Glacier National Park.
  • Arches N.P, Utah.
  • Dead Horse point S.P.
  • Canyonlands N.P.
  • Mesa Verde N.P. Colorado.


  • Monument Valley, Utah.
  • Tuba City, Arizona.
  • Grand Canyon N.P.
  • Hoover Dam, Arizona.
  • Las Vegas, Nevada.


  • Death Valley.
  • Bodie Historical Park.
  • Yosemite N.P.
  • Columbia State Historic Park.
  • Calaveras Big Trees State Park.
  • Kings Canyon / Sequoia N.P.
  • Los Angeles.

Intended Audience

Anyone interested in America’s outdoors and wilderness areas or in travelling to visit the National Parks.

Delivery Style

I structure the course using a mixture of visual powerpoint presentations, readings by participants, discussion and a class quiz to assist with personal retention of the course material.

Recommended Reading

  • The Story of America, Allen Weinstein & David Rubel, 2002.
  • Yosemite National Park, Jeffrey P. Schaffer, Wilderness Press, 1997.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Small class sizes
  • Free, expert advice
  • Student materials – yours to keep
  • Statement of completion