Gayle M Irwin

Gayle & Jeremiah,
her rescued shih tzu.

National Parks Make Inspiring Settings for Romance Stories

Jun 07, 2023 by Gayle M Irwin
Grand Tetons - Wyoming. Photo by Gayle Irwin

America’s national parks speak to the hearts and spirits of visitors from around the world. From the grand expanse of the Grand Canyon in Arizona and red rock spires of Bryce in Utah to the mighty mountain peaks of Rocky Mountain in Colorado, Grand Teton in Wyoming, and Glacier in Montana and the geological wonders of Yellowstone that comprises the states of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana to the vast array of wonders found in the other 50+ places designated as national parks, each setting has its unique and breathtaking qualities.

Such sites serve as settings for many romance books ... and a few movies! Have you watched the recent Hallmark movies showcasing Yosemite National Park, Glacier National Park and Zion National Park? Historical romance author Regina Scott crafts stories set in Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, and Mount Rainier national parks in her trilogy American Wonders Collection. Each story highlights historical aspects of the various parks, including real people who were park of each park’s history and the lifestyle led during those early years as well as her own crafted interpretations of what her characters may have encountered and how they may have behaved during that time period.

For example, in Nothing Short of Wondrous, which takes place in Yellowstone in 1886, widow and hotelier Kate Tremaine assists Calvary Lieutenant William Prescott and his detachment learn about the wilds they are to protect, creating a map and then guiding them in the area near her Geyser Gateway Hotel in exchange for light carpentry and other work needed at her establishment. Capable, courageous, and comely, Kate interacts not only with Will and his men, but other officers, engineers, hotel guests, and outlaws. In one scene, as she awaits a continuation of her lease, to be granted or not by Will’s superior officer, Kate is not cowardly as she talks with the man:

            Kate made a face. “Oh, then the manager of the National Hotel hasn’t offered to house you over the winter?”

            His smile was crisp. “He has not.”

            “Pity.” She smiled at the other two lieutenants. “Well, you are all welcome at the Geyer Gateway any time you’d care to visit. We fully support the Army’s good work in Yellowstone.”

            And later, after the meal:

           Kate made sure to bring the discussion back to hotels before she left.

           “Thank you for a lovely evening,” she told Captain Harris as he and Will accompanied her to the door. “I do hope we’ll have an opportunity to return the favor soon.”

            “I’ll see if I have time before winter sets in,” Captain Harris replied. But certainly when I come through on my inspection tour next spring.”

            “And if I could improve the Geyser Gateway in any way before then?” Kate asked. “What would you advise?”

            He smiled. “From what I understand, the Geyser Gateway is a rare jewel. Just see that it retains its shine.” He bowed to her. She inclined her head.

Women of substance, men of good character – with a few bad apples thrown in for drama and intrigue, that’s what you’ll find in Regina Scott’s national park love stories. I have read two of the three books, the Yellowstone story and the book set at the Grand Canyon, titled A Distance Too Grand. I thoroughly enjoyed the books and recently purchased the third installment, A View Most Glorious. If you enjoy historical fiction, romance, and national parks, I highly recommend these books!


Learn about the trilogy, available in paperback and e-book forms, and order from Amazon here:

Author Karen Barnett also has written a national park trilogy of love stories, set in Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Mount Rainier. Her work is set in the 1920s and 1930s, when automobiles began arriving in America’s national parks. Her writings are also enjoyable, and I highly recommend her books as well. Find more information about Karen and her national park series of stories on Amazon here:


With the season of high travel upon us now that summer is arriving, what inspiring stories of romance, drama, hope, and nature appreciation these two women authors offer readers. America’s national parks are filled with awe and splendor, reasons they were set aside by presidents and members of Congress over the years. Great settings for romance stories, including those I’ve written, and a reason I chose Yellowstone in particular as backdrop in chapters of my books.


My stories in e-book format are on sale this month as I recently re-released several with new content and new covers. Find them on Amazon here: as well as through other e-book platforms, including Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Apple Books.



Happy reading and happy traveling!


Northern entrance to Yellowstone National Park, Gardiner, MT. Photo by Gayle Irwin