Essential Grand Canyon Books


Essential Grand Canyon Books

Planning a rafting trip down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon? One thing you definitely should add to your packing list is a good book, or two.  We’ve narrowed it down to our top 6 books that will enhance your knowledge in different aspects of the Canyon. For ease, these essential Grand Canyon books are broken down by category.

Let us know if we’ve missed any of your favorite books in the comment section.




Essential Grand Canyon Books

Carving Grand Canyon
Evidence, Theories, and Mystery
by Wayne Ranney

Carving Grand Canyon provides a clearly written synopsis of the intriguing and innovative theories geologists have advanced about canyon formation. Updated with ideas that emerged from the most recent symposium on Grand Canyon geology, this new edition reflects the latest thinking on the canyon’s formation, supported by dozens of new illustrations and photographs and a foreword by noted Grand Canyon author Stephen Pyne. The story of a fascinating landscape is told in an engaging style that non-scientists will find inviting. The story’s end, however, remains a mystery yet to be solved.



River Map


Belknap’s Waterproof Grand Canyon River Guide
by Bill Belknap

Colorado River: Lees Ferry, Arizona, to Lake Mead, through Marble & Grand canyons, 288 miles. Highly detailed, easy-to-read maps. Illustrated sections on geology, natural history and archaeology, written by experts in these fields. Trip enrichment sections including a photo workshop and a section on how rivers and rapids work. Dramatically illustrated with full color diagrams and photographs. Now with USGS GCMRC miles. 120 pages.



Field Guide


Essential Grand Canyon Books

A Field Guide to the Grand Canyon
by Stephen Whitney

If you’ve ever marveled at the natural beauty of the Grand Canyon, you’ve probably thought about taking an “up close and personal” look at the area, too. Well, now you can! This fully updated edition of the popular field guide is both thorough and easy to use. A Field Guide to the Grand Canyon describes and illustrates the area’s plants and animals, and offers fascinating in-depth information on the natural history and geology of this dramatic region.









Essential Grand Canyon Books

The Exploration of the Colorado River and its Canyons
by J.W. Powell

Major Powell wrote the account of this remarkable expeditions, and his narrative is one of the great classics of exploration, as thrilling as the feat itself. As we follow Powell’s journal (expanded for publication), we find the ten men sailing through wild waters, momentarily expecting rapids around the next bend; and finding rapids, throwing out drag anchors, while one advanced boat tries to find through-flowing channels. We see mutiny, as 3 men refuse to face the perils an longer and desert – to be massacred by the hostile Indians. Famine – the beans are sprouting, the apples are fermenting, and the flour has gone mouldy. Yet 6 men finally emerged, after 95 days of peril, and new continent of experience was recorded.





Essential Grand Canyon Books

The Grand Canyon Reader
edited by Lance Newman

This anthology brings together stories, essays, and poems written across five centuries by people inhabiting, surviving, and attempting to understand the Grand Canyon – or, as one explorer called it, the “Great Unknown.” Lively tales written by unschooled river runners, unabashedly popular fiction, and memoirs stand alongside finely crafted literary works to represent the full range of human experience in this wild, daunting, and inspiring landscape.













Essential Grand Canyon Books

Going Down Grand
Poems from the Canyon
edited by Peter Anderson and Rick Kempa

Going Down Grand, the first full-length anthology of Grand Canyon poetry, gathers the voices of cowboys, explorers, river-runners, hikers, artists, geologists, rangers, and other whose words bear witness to this complex and magnificent place. For readers on the river, the trails, the rim, or beyond, the poems on these pages will make fine canyon company.









Interested in additional books? Visit our online bookstore or contact us for more suggestions.

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