A Short List of Favorite Grand Canyon Books
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Grand Canyon Hiking Safety
Trail Guides and Trip Reports
Grand Canyon History
Grand Canyon Natural History

Maps and Other Useful Stuff

Hiking the Grand Canyon (A Sierra Club Totebook) by John Annerino.

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This is the Grand Canyon trail guide I turn to most often. Anytime someone asks me a Grand Canyon question I can't answer off the top of my head, this is the book I pull from the shelf. more ...

Grand Canyon Hiking Safety

Over the Edge : Death in Grand Canyon
by Michael P Ghiglieri, Thomas M Myers

This book could save your life! Every Canyon enthusiast should read this book.

Ghiglieri, a river guide, and Myers, who ran the Grand Canyon Clinic for many years, focus their extensive Grand Canyon experience on elucidating the factors contributing to mishaps in the Grand Canyon.

With wit and eloquence, they explore falls from the rim and within the canyon, environmental hazards (hypothermia and hyperthermia), flash floods, the Colorado River, air travel risks, and lightening. They also chronicle suicide and murders that have occurred within the canyon.

Some of their conclusions are surprising and instructive. Guys, for example, need to be extra careful when choosing where to wizz in the night. Read the book to find out why. Flash floods claimed 5 lives in the canyon this August. The flash flood chapter is a must read if you hike the canyon during the monsoon season.

Highly recomended!

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Trail Guides and Trip Reports

Hiking Grand Canyon National Park by Ron Adkison

A handy guide to 15 of the Grand Canyon's trails. Provides details on easy and expert only trails.

Click to buy from Amazon.com right now!Best Easy Day Hikes Grand Canyon by Ron Adkison.

A useful collection of short hikes on and from the Grand Canyon's South and North Rims.

Hiking the Grand Canyon (A Sierra Club Totebook) by John Annerino.

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This is the Grand Canyon trail guide I turn to most often. Anytime someone asks me a Grand Canyon question I can't answer off the top of my head, this is the book I pull from the shelf. This squat paperback is full of good info (e.g., mean temps by month, brief cultural, geologic, and natural histories). Trail descriptions leave a lot to the imagination and are a bit dated, but useful nonetheless. (To get a feel for where Annerino comes from read his book "Running Wild.")

Click to purchase On Foot in the Grand Canyon from Amazon.comOn Foot in the Grand Canyon: Hiking the Trails of the South Rim by Sharon Spangler

Spangler offers intimate accounts of her experiences backpacking a number of the Grand Canyon's trails. Her mix of personal reactions, history, and folklore makes an enticing read. Lots of books detail the trails of the Grand Canyon. This books provides a sense of what it feels like to backpack the Grand Canyon's trails.

Click to purchase The Man Who Walked Through Time from Amazon.comThe Man Who Walked Through Time by Colin Fletcher

The Man Who Walked Through Time (TMWWTT) is a chronicle of Fletcher's hike from the Western end of Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP) to the GCNP's Eastern boundary. I first read this book many years ago, while in high school. It is rare for me to read a title more than once, yet. I've reread TMWWTT many times since. And I find myself entranced each time. I also find myself longing to load my pack and revisit my favorite National Park.

Click to order your copy of The Complete Walker IV today from  Amazon.com The Complete Walker IV -- a complete revision and update to Fletcher's enduring classic guide to backpacking gear and technique. Highly recommended! Order your copy today from Amazon.com in hardback or paperback.

River : One Man's Journey Down the Colorado, Source to Sea, Colin Fletcher's latest book, chronicles his solo trip the length of the Colorado River via foot and boat. Doing so, Fletcher retraces and extends John Wesley Powell's historic pioneering trip through the Grand Canyon.


Click to purchase Grand Canyon Treks from Amazon.comGrand Canyon Treks : 12,000 Miles Through the Grand Canyon by Harvey Butchart

Harvey Butchart is the undisputed king of Grand Canyon hikers/backpackers. Butchart's meticulous trip notes make clear that he has covered more of the Grand Canyon than any other living person. Grand Canyon Treks is a compilation of three volumes, now out of print, published originally by La Siesta Press. Those original volumes became classics because of they provided the only published documentation of many remote Grand Canyon routes and because of Butchart's breezy writing style. Butchart, who was for many years a professor of math at Northern Arizona University, is a man of few words. He is also a man of refined climbing and route finding skills. What Butchart describes as a 'sporty climb,' many of us would look at and say, "You've got to be kidding!"

Grand Canyon Treks contains slightly edited versions of the original Grand Canyon Treks route descriptions. One consequence of the edits is that the book contains legal disclaimers and advice for novice Grand Canyon hikers. Historically, Butchart assumed competence among his readers. I suppose this is a reflection of our post-modern, risk-intolerant, culture. Sigh.

Bottom line: I consider Grand Canyon Treks essential reading for experienced Grand Canyon backcountry hikers.

The Thousand Mile Summer, Fletcher's account of his walk the length of California, is another great read. Unfortunately, it is out of print. Fortunately, used copies are easy to find by searching abebooks.com Hiking in the Grand Canyon Backcounty: A no nonsense guide to Grand Canyon by J. D. Green (Jim Holman, editor). Looking for trip ideas beyond the Corridor Trails? This book will spark your imagination! Order your copy Amazon.com.

The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons by John Wesley Powell. Powell's classic account of his two expeditions down the Green and Colorado Rivers.

PBS' The American Experience episode "Lost in the Grand Canyon," details Powell's expedition down the Colorado It is available in video.

Speaking of John Wesley Powell, PBS' interactive timeline of Powell's first expedition down the Colorado river is available here.

Grand Canyon Loop Hikes I by George Steck.

Have you hiked the corridor trails and a number of non-corridor trails? George Steck outlines a half dozen off trail hikes that begin and end on the North Rim. For experienced Grand Canyon hikers only!

Falcon Guide Hiking Grand Canyon Loops Adventures in the Backcountry
(Falcon Guide.)
by George Steck, Craig Childs

This book compliles--in a single volume-- updated and revised descriptions of GC loop hikes that were previously published in two separate volumes. For experienced Grand Canyon hikers only!

The Hidden Canyon:
A River Journey

by John Blaustein

This is a magnificant volume. A visual feast.

John Blaustein's photos capture the Canyon's myriad hues, textures, and moods. Runrises and sunsets. Lichens and lizards. Blasts of color counterbalanced by the monochromatic moments as the final light escapes the sky. Blooming globe mallow and golden light reflected in a slot canyon stream. Birds in flight and dories on water. The Colorado river captured at its most tranquel and also exhibiting the turbulant tantrums that draw river runners from across the globe to challenge the mighty Colorado each year. A visual feast.

Yet, there's more. A Journal, by Ed Abbey -- irrepressible desert rat, and author of "Desert Solitare" and "The Monkey Wrench Gang"-- accompanies Blaustein's stunning photos. Abbey captures the Canyon experience in words better than anyone I've read. Abbey and Blaustein together make a stunning combo.

I rate this book a Must Have for any canyon enthusiast.

Keep a copy on your coffee table. Better yet, Keep a copy on your night stand and enjoy it for a few moments each night. Sweet canyon dreams are guaranteed.

Scenic Photography 101: A Crash Course in Shooting Better Pictures Outdoors
by Kerry Drager

Looking for more than the photo basics? Check out Kerry Drager's excellent book, "Scenic Photography 101: A Crash Course in Shooting Better Pictures Outdoors," As the title suggests, this book will improve your scenic photos. Kerry's organized this seminar in a binding into four sections:

  • Developing your vision
  • Light and Color
  • Composition
  • Capturing Details

This book is primarily about "seeing." Sure technical know-how is important. And Kerry covers essential technical details. With today's technically advanced cameras, exposure fundamentals are much easier to master than ever before.

The ability to "see" a photo, of choosing where and how to point your camera, remains a uniquely human activity. The ability to "see" is what makes the difference between a mundane and a spectacular photo.

Whether you are an amateur with a point and shoot camera, or an advanced amateur with an extensive kit, Kerry's book, exhaustively illustrated with striking photos, will inspire you and guide you to better photos.

Grand Canyon History
Kolb Brothers of Grand Canyon : Being a Collection of Tales of High Adventure, Memorable Incidents and Humorous Anecdotes by William C. Suran, P. Frazier (Editor), R. Houk (Editor). Adventures of the Grand Canyon's most famous (and adventurous) brothers. On the Edge of Splendor : Exploring Grand Canyon's Human Past by Douglas W. Schwartz. Curious about the first humans to live in the Grand Canyon region? Want to learn about the people behind the myriad ruins scattered throughout the Grand Canyon's backcountry? This book offers a concise and approachable treatment of these questions.
Living at the Edge : Explorers, Exploiters and Settlers of the Grand Canyon Region by Michael F. Anderson, Pamela Frazier In the House of Stone and Light by J. Donald Hughes. More on the early human inhabitants of the Grand Canyon area.
Grand Canyon Natural History
A Field Guide to the Grand Canyon by Stephen R. Whitney. A useful reference featuring grand canyon flora and fauna. Color illustrations of most species. Deserts by James Macmahon, Charles Elliott (Editor). A very nice guide to North American deserts. Includes color photographs of many species described.
Roadside Geology of Arizona by Halka Chronic. Interesting narrative of geological features visible along Arizona's primary roadways. This book is a real eye-opener!
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Maps and Other Useful Stuff
The Geologic Map (Eastern Part of Grand Canyon National Park) is both beautiful and a great way to become better acquainted with the Grand Canyon's geologic structure.

Grand Canyon National Park, AZ by Trails Illustrated.

This map, which comes darned close to covering the entire Grand Canyon backcountry, is a great tool for planning your Grand Canyon adventure. It provides a good sense of the Canyon's layout, and your hiking/backpacking options within.

The map also packs a lot of useful details. Backcountry use areas, campsites, water sources, and more are listed.

Alas, the map's scale and 80' contour interval yield too little detail to make this map of use on trail. For that, get the appropriate USGS 7.5' quads.

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