Our Favorite Books for
Grand Canyon Rafting Trips
Here are some of our favorite Grand Canyon rafting books for those interested rafting the Colorado River within Grand Canyon. This post just scratches the surface of the best writing on the Colorado River through Grand Canyon.
Most Popular book on Rafting the Grand Canyon
The Emerald Mile
by Kevin Fedarko
A journalistic novel of a high-water speed run through the Canyon. Mixed with a wonderful blend of historical content and Glen Canyon dam operations during the huge water year of 1983.
Grand Canyon Guide Books
Belknap’s and Larry Steven’s guides are commonly given out to guests by Grand Canyon rafting companies. Both waterproof guides have much of the same information. The other two guides go into greater depth on the plants and animals within Grand Canyon.
Belknap’s Waterproof Grand Canyon River Guide
by Buzz Belknap / Loie Belknap Evans
Waterproof guide with map of the Colorado River through Grand Canyon. Includes information on plants, animals, human history, geology and more!
The Colorado River in the Grand Canyon: A River Runner’s Map and Guide to Its Natural and Human History
by Larry Stevens
An in depth guide to the Colorado River through Grand Canyon. Includes information on rapids, geology, human history, plants and animals of the canyon.
River and Desert Plants of the Grand Canyon
by Kristin Huisinga
Comprehensive field guide of plants within Grand Canyon with detailed descriptions of more than 300 plant species.
A Field Guide to Grand Canyon
by Stephen R. Whitney
Field guide to animals of Grand Canyon which includes descriptions and color drawing of plants and animals.
Books on John Wesley Powell’s initial Grand Canyon River Trip
These are the 3 most popular books in John Wesley Powell and his river trip though Grand Canyon.
The Promise of the Grand Canyon
by John F. Ross
The most recently written biography of John Wesley Powell and his exploratory trip down the Grand Canyon. Very well researched and delivered.
Down the Great Unknown: John Wesley Powell’s 1869 Journey of Discovery and Tragedy Through the Grand Canyon
by Edward Dolnick
Book about John Wesley Powell’s trips down the Colorado River.
The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons
by John Wesley Powell
Account by John Wesley Powell of his trips down the Colorado River through Grand Canyon starting in 1869.
More Grand Canyon Rafting Reading
A mix of some of our favorite reading on the Colorado River and Grand Canyon.
There’s This River… Grand Canyon Boatman Stories
by Krista Sadler
Mixture of stories told about the Colorado River and about those that travel down it.
The Doing of the Thing
by Brad Dimock
Biography of Buzz Holmstrom, the only person to ever run all the rapids of the Grand Canyon and he did it alone in the 1940’s.
No Barriers: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon
by Erik Weihenmayer
Story of a blind man who learns to kayak so he can run the Colorado River through Grand Canyon.
Sunk Without a Sound
by Brad Dimock
A recently married couple decides to try to be one of the first to run the Grand Canyon and they disappear never to be heard from again. The author runs through the many theories while also providing details of their run down the canyon before they disappeared.
Where the Water Goes: Life and Death Along the Colorado River
by David Owen
A deep look into the complicated issue of dividing up the decreasing supply of water from the Colorado River.
Grand Canyon Reader
Collection of stories, essays and poems written over a span of 50 years about the Grand Canyon. Authors include John McPhee, Ann Zwinger, Edward Abbey, Terry Tempest Williams, Barry Lopez, Linda Hogan, and Craig Childs
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Concluding Thoughts + Runner-Up Books
There is an incredible amount of written information on the Colorado River through Grand Canyon. Reading prior to your trips adds to the experience and reading afterwards helps relive the experience. Below are some more out-of-print books that can sometimes be found on amazon.com.
Raging River Lonely Trail
River Runners of the Grand Canyon by David Lavender
History of GC river runners. Fantastic.
Canyon by Michael Ghiglieri
Great mix of on river stories of commercial boating and historical content.
Grand Canyon, An Anthology by Bruce Babbit
Wonderful mix of famous writers and their impressions of the Grand Canyon.
The Very Hard Way by Brad Dimock
Bert Lopper biography.
Colorado River Controversies by RB Stanton
Stanton sharing some of his favorite stories from the Canyon.
Down the River by Edward Abbey
Compilation of Abbey’s river trips. From Glen Canyon to Alaska to Grand and back…
A River Runners guide to the History of GC by Kim Crumbo
Fun mile by mile highlights of GC river running.
The Log of the Panthon by George Flavell
A journal from the first pure fun trip through GC in 1896. One boat two guys, lots of good times.
River to Rim by Nancy Brian
GC place names. Amazing research and depth.
We Swam the Grand Canyon by Bill Beer
Two guys swan the river in the mid-50’s. Super fun and adventurous.
Encounters with the Archdruid by John McPhee
The great Environmentalist, David Brower, goes on the river with Dam building boss, Floyd Dominy and more…