Holding up a book on Colorado River

Grand Canyon Reading List

One of the greatest aspects of a Colorado River trip is the lore associated with early expeditions and the river guides who have made the Grand Canyon their home for decades. At Arizona River Runners we celebrate our rich history by reading stories of early river runners and the adventures that made this trip famous. We also believe that reading about the place before or after a trip can create a greater connection with the wild. We never want to diminish the courage it took to pioneer river rafting in the Grand Canyon, and we know that we stand on the shoulders of giants. Therefore, we yearly recommend a reading list to encourage our guests to contextualize their Grand Canyon expedition. This year, we have recommendations for all ages and all levels of interest.

Who Pooped in the Park: Grand Canyon National Park

Written by: Gary D. Robson \\ Illustrated by: Elijah Brady Clark

51RTKBRBKFL For those of you who have been with us before, you may have heard your guides reminding you to clip up your bag at camp. Ringtail Cats are notorious for getting in to your pack and causing a little raucous. This book is great for young kids and parents who want to teach their kids about different animals in the park and how they interact with the environment. The silly title draws kids in, but it would be difficult to finish this book without learning a bit about Grand Canyon animals. Find it on Amazon.

Rim To River

Written and Illustrated by: Lucy Bellwood

Grand Canyon cartoonRapids cartoon

This is a sort of graphic novel of one particular river trip, seen through the eyes of a swamper (an assistant boatman). Lucy Bellwood illustrates her way through the canyon infusing humor and wit to describe the amazing wildlife, whitewater, and the experience of curling up each night under a multitude of bright stars. Even though this is a cartoon, we recommend it for ages 16 and up. Enjoy the shenanigans and adventure in Lucy’s short book by purchasing it on our online store.

The Emerald Mile

By: Kevin Fedarko

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We recommend this book just about every year, but there’s a good reason we do. The book describes the successful speed run of three veteran river guides during the 100-year flood of 1983. They pushed off from Lee’s Ferry in a single wooden dory boat named “The Emerald Mile” and set the record for the fastest navigation of the Grand Canyon. This book will stimulate not only your sense of adventure, but also give some context about the controversial Colorado River dam system and the river guiding community. This book is great for teenagers and empty-nesters alike. Find it on Amazon.

Belknap’s Waterproof Grand Canyon River Guide

By: Buzz Belknap and Loie Belknap Evans

river guide book

This 119 page guide book is the very same guidebook our guides use in training. The book highlights certain historical moments related to the ancient people groups and early explorers, it gives a run-down of local geological formations, and it gives a mile-by-mile account of whitewater and side hikes. This book is full of fun and useful information. Many of our guests will mark where we stop along the river for camp or their favorite hikes. This is one of the best extra items to bring along with you on your river trip. You can find it at our online store.

Flipped Out for Grand Canyon

By: Tom Myers and Bronze Black

Book boat flipping in rapid

We recommend this book not to frighten anyone. Flipping a motor rig is a rare occurrence and one we are grateful not to have experienced. This book uses images old and new to tell the story of Grand Canyon rafting, from its infancy to modern times. All proceeds for this book benefit the Grand Canyon Youth, a wonderful organization designed to teach all sorts of kids the value of natural science, research, and the environment.  You can find Flipped Out for Grand Canyon on Amazon.

This concludes this years reading list. Please feel free to comment below or find us on Facebook to tell us your favorite Grand Canyon book.