25 Best Grand Canyon Books to Inspire You

Best Books for the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Books: Are you looking for the best books on the Grand Canyon? This list of Grand Canyon Books includes Grand Canyon Guide Books, Grand Canyon literature, and Grand Canyon coffee table books.

grand canyon best hikes

There are so many good Grand Canyon stories on this list. You are sure to find the perfect Grand Canyon book for you. You can check out my favorite Grand Canyon book here.

Thank you for supporting this website written by an American. This post may contain affiliate links. This means I earn a small commission on these links at no extra cost to you.

25 Best Grand Canyon Books – Guide Books, Coffee Table Books and more

Grand Canyon: The Complete Guide: Grand Canyon National Park (Color Travel Guide) 

This is the Grand Canyon guidebook to get if you can only get one. This is also the best guidebook to get if you want to get an idea of what the Grand Canyon looks like. 

James Kaiser, a photographer, and author of national park guidebooks has spent months of his life exploring the Grand Canyon from rim to river. Grand Canyon: The Complete Guide helps you have an unforgettable experience in the park by providing beautiful pictures, insider tips, and detailed maps.

Grand Canyon National Park offers a variety of activities, including hiking, biking, and river rafting. A vacation there, though, might be daunting without prior planning. The Complete Guide to the Grand Canyon will help you make the most of your visit to the park.

Whatever your interests are, whether it’s hiking the Bright Angel Trail, riding mules to Phantom Ranch, watching the sunset from Hopi Point, or relaxing at a historic lodge, this beautiful travel guidebook puts the wonders of the Grand Canyon at your fingertips.

The park’s top perspectives and destinations are captured in vivid color photographs. The story behind the scenery is revealed through fascinating chapters on geology, history, and wildlife. Traveling using detailed maps is simple.

Read the Reviews and Price on Amazon

Grand Canyon by Jason Chin

Rivers wind through the earth for millions of years, cutting down and eroding the soil, creating the Grand Canyon, a 277-mile-long, 18-mile-wide, and more than a mile-deep canyon in the Earth.

This is one of the best picture books for kids you’ll ever see! This book will be immensely satisfying to any child who is interested in nature, the outdoors, evolution, paleoecology, geology, or natural history. Beautiful, precise images alternate between the Grand Canyon as it appears today and how that terrain appeared hundreds of millions of years ago, capturing the essence of this high desert landscape and each elevation’s distinct ecological zone.

As viewed through the eyes of a young girl exploring the Grand Canyon with her father, the book conveys a real sense of our planet’s past in a way that will be particularly approachable to children of all ages.

Jason Chin’s “Grand Canyon” is a wonderful book that he wrote and illustrated. It’s a non-fiction picture book full of scientific and historical information about the origin, ecology, and geology of this natural wonder.  It even includes the characters’ routes for future hikers to reference. The back section of the book has a great deal of information. This is a fantastic nonfiction addition to your library because of the beautiful and detailed pictures.

Read the Reviews and Price on Amazon

Fodor’s InFocus Grand Canyon National Park (Full-color Travel Guide) 

Whether you want to trek along South Rim trails, go rafting on the Colorado River, or learn about the Canyon’s fauna and vegetation, the local Fodor’s Grand Canyon travel experts are here to help!

The Fodor’s in Focus Grand Canyon National Park handbook is jam-packed with maps, professionally curated recommendations, and everything else you’ll need to make the most of your time and ease your trip preparation. This book is great as this brand-new edition features an easy-to-read layout, updated content, and stunning color photographs.

Fodor’s Travel has been a trusted resource for expert travel information at every stage of a traveler’s journey for over 80 years. They engage local authors who know their destinations better than anyone else, allowing them to offer the best travel advice for all tastes and budgets in over 7,500 destinations throughout the world. Every trip can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience thanks to their books.

Read the Reviews and Price on Amazon

Lonely Planet Grand Canyon National Park 6 (Travel Guide) 

Lonely Planet Grand Canyon National Park 6, is your passport to the most current, up-to-date recommendations on what to see and skip, as well as what hidden surprises await you.

Hike the Hermit Trail, swim at Oak Creek, and take a trip down the Colorado River with your favorite travel companion. Get to the heart of Grand Canyon National Park and start your adventure right away!

This is a great guidebook as the information inside the book is all up to date: all businesses were rechecked before publication to ensure they are still open. This is also user-friendly since the highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests. This book also guides you on how to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots.

Moreover, this focused on the best hikes, drives, and cycling tours and gives you a richer, more rewarding travel experience – history, geology, wildlife, and conservation.

Read the Reviews and Price on Amazon

National Geographic Park Profiles: Grand Canyon Country: Over 100 Full-Color Photographs

The breathtaking 277-mile-long gash in Arizona’s red-rock country—dubbed “the most impressive piece of scenery I have ever looked at” by Theodore Roosevelt in 1903—and much more are explored in Grand Canyon Country.

The book explores ancient Indian cultures, distant forests of the Kaibab Plateau, lonely stretches of the Arizona strip, and the multi-hued vistas of the Painted Desert, in addition to geological marvels and stunning views along the popular South Rim and higher, cooler North Rim.

The book is great for anyone who would like to understand the geography, history, and thrills one can see firsthand in this wonder of the world, this book will give you as much as you need and more. The magnificent photographs are a treat, but don’t let them detract from Mr. Fishbein’s text’s visual vision.

From awe-inspiring sunsets to treacherous trail treks to an exhilarating cruise down the Colorado, this first-person story captures all of the Grand Canyon’s delights.

Read the Reviews and Price on Amazon

The Grand Canyon: Unseen Beauty: Running the Colorado River

This is a brilliantly photographed Grand Canyon coffee table book and a great guidebook you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home.

People who are familiar with the Grand Canyon believe that there are two canyons: the one viewed from the top, which is a lifeless, abstract tableau, and the one felt up close at the bottom.

The average rim visitor spends five to seven hours on the rim and spends an average of 17 minutes peering into the abyss. River runners, on the other hand, take it in every waking minute for 100 to 200 hours, depending on how long their trip is. The river perspective immerses you both literally and metaphorically.

The Grand Canyon, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and America’s most famous national park, attracts six million visitors each year. Only a small percentage of those people, however, have the opportunity to raft down the Colorado River and experience the canyon. 

What began as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Tom Blagden to raft through The Canyon with Rod Nash at the lead in 2006 has turned into a lifelong photographic passion.

The route—the River—remains consistent, but the experience is ever-changing and powerful. Rafters never get tired of it, and each journey only makes them more awestruck by the Canyon’s beauty. From the drama of the rapids to the unimaginable scale of the canyon walls to the subtle rock patterns and diverse living forms, the Grand Canyon encapsulates and evokes the power of that journey.

The photographs of Tom Blagden and the article of Rod Nash present the canyon from a different perspective, depicting what it’s like to be on the river and buried a mile deep, surrounded by rock nearly half the age of the earth. 

The book weaves a fantastic experience that will take readers on a journey while also asking concerns about the importance of a national park and an iconic American river, as well as how to keep them alive for future generations.

Read the Reviews and Price on Amazon

The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon 

The Emerald Mile is one of those rare books where you learn a lot while having fun. This guidebook tells the account of Kenton Grua rowing a wooden dory, similar to the “one I took through the Grand Canyon during a major flood in 1983”, from Lee’s Ferry to Lake Mead.

The Colorado River was flooded to the point where the Glen Canyon Dam was in danger of bursting. So, using the raging river to attempt to beat the all-time fastest boat record at this time was nothing short of insanity. The outcome is an intriguing story to read. Even more so when you’ve been in a comparable dory through the canyon before, though with considerably lower water levels.

Along the way, you’ll learn about Glen Canyon Dam, the Colorado River’s rapids, the growing conservation movement, and the colorful lives of the people who call the river home. If you only read one book about the Grand Canyon before traveling, make it this one.

This is a great companion book for the experience of river rafting through the Grand Canyon.  

Read the Reviews and Price on Amazon

Sunk Without A Sound

Sunk Without A Sound relates the story of Glen and Bessie Hyde, who went missing during their honeymoon on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.

Glen and Bessie Hyde took a honeymoon trip across the Grand Canyon in 1928. When they didn’t show up, an investigation into their location revealed their boat, which was upright and laden with supplies.

Sunk Without a Sound uncovers their disappearance. The twists and turns keep you on edge as you try to distinguish fact from fiction in this part adventure novel, part murder mystery. This book will appeal to fans of Into the Wild. It has the same feel of an idealistic teenager starting on a wild voyage amid natural splendor, with a tragic and mysterious finale.

This is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River, but practically everyone will be enthralled by this strange human interest story. Author Brad Dimock does an excellent job of blending together the myths and suspicions surrounding the mysterious 1928 disappearance with Dimock’s harrowing and hilarious recreation of their journey. The author’s extensive knowledge and experience as a river guide give this unresolved enigma a distinct viewpoint. 

Read the Reviews and Price on Amazon

The Hidden Canyon: A River Journey 

John Blaustein’s amazing images are combined with Edward Abbey’s renowned narrative in The Hidden Canyon to offer you an intimate impression of the Grand Canyon from the river (a view that most people never see). 

You go down the river in wry, awed moments thanks to Abbey’s notebook notes. The wild maelstrom of the rapids and the stunning magnificence of the canyon are captured in over 100 photographs. In addition, he did it in a wooden dory.

This is a great book because of the wonderful journey, and no book conveys the thrill, beauty, and sheer wonder of a Grand Canyon River trip more than this one. Indeed, a fascinating look at boating through the Grand Canyon. Beautiful photographs and words capture the canyon at river level.

Read the Reviews and Price on Amazon

The Grand Canyon: Between River and Rim

This book is for anyone who has ever stood on the rim of the Grand Canyon and wondered what was hidden deep within the canyon’s fabric. The richness, exquisite textures, and subtlety of that massive gaping hole defy the God’s eye view from the rim.

Fast forward five decades, and photographer Pete McBride and author Kevin Fedarko are the latest adventurers to stroll the 750 miles between the river and the rim of the Grand Canyon. 

Pete McBride’s photographs convey a breathtakingly intimate connection to a National Park that is so large that it can be seen from space, so deep that it bisects the entire State of Arizona with an impassible mile-deep moat, and yet so fragile that it is being destroyed by developers who want to benefit from the Grand Canyon’s worldwide brand.

In addition to their 2019 documentary, Into the Canyon, this stunning coffee table book, featuring photos by McBride and essays by Fedarko, will take you on a harrowing and eye-opening journey through a threatened wilderness.

Read the Reviews and Price on Amazon

The Grand Canyon Reader 

This magnificent book puts together some of the most powerful and captivating writing about the Grand Canyon, including stories, essays, and poetry written by people living in, surviving in, and striving to understand what one explorer termed the “Great Unknown” over five centuries.

Lance Newman, an English professor and river guide, has chosen works for this anthology from early explorer stories, popular fiction, and current literature by authors as different as John McPhee, Ann Zwinger, Edward Abbey, and Terry Tempest Williams.

Organized into sections on the rim, the river and people, The Grand Canyon Reader and its compelling stories of the great unknown that span five centuries are just the best thing for Grand Canyon visitors.

This is a great read as lively tales written by unschooled river runners, unabashedly popular fiction, and memoirs stand alongside finely crafted literary works to represent full range of human experience in this wild, daunting, and inspiring landscape.

Read the Reviews and Price on Amazon

How the Canyon Became Grand: A Short History 

This book is excellent because a remarkable presentation of two sides of the canyon’s history: the discovery and exploration of the canyon, as well as the cultural significance of the canyon is shown.

The Grand Canyon was dismissed as a wasteland by the early Spanish explorers and went practically forgotten for three centuries until nineteenth-century America found it and adopted it as a national emblem. This magnificent work of intellectual and environmental history relates two stories about the Canyon: the physical Canyon’s discovery and exploration, and the cultural Canyon’s invention and evolvement of humanity came to fill it with legendary importance.

From John Wesley Powell to Wallace Stegner, acclaimed historian Stephen Pyne examines major shifts in Western attitudes toward nature and recounts the achievements of explorers, geologists, artists, and writers who transformed the Canyon into a fixture of national identity. 

This ground-breaking book takes us on a wholly unique journey across the Canyon in search of a new understanding of its place in the American psyche, a journey that mirrors the nation’s formation.

Read the Reviews and Price on Amazon

Canyon 

Fasten your life jackets for an unforgettable ride. A seasoned whitewater guide with a desire for sharing one of the world’s most magnificent experiences has recreated the thrill of a raft trip through the Grand Canyon.

Michael Ghiglieri, a river guide for over 17 years, has authored the first book to chronicle the trip from the perspective of a modern boatman.

Canyon interweaves heart-pounding adventure with factual insights into the world of Grand Canyon, retelling a true journey through this geological wonder. Between the rapids, Ghiglieri tells stories of past and contemporary river runners, geology and wildlife lessons, reflections on the influence of Glen Canyon Dam, and Native American legends ranging from Anasazi ancestors to Havasupai Rastafarians. For the passengers on board, this adventure is full with human drama, leaving them with their own stories to tell.

This is a great guidebook as you’ll go downstream with an experienced guide and biologist from Lees Ferry to Diamond Creek. Ghiglieri also combines a travelogue with high adventure, drama, and a plethora of knowledge on the Colorado’s history, geology, and ecology.

Read the Reviews and Price on Amazon

River Notes: A Natural and Human History of the Colorado 

River Notes is an excellent book to read to know the human history of the Colorado. This is a love letter to the Colorado River, as well as a fascinating narrative of Wade’s Grand Canyon rafting adventures and a vivid assessment on the state of the American West.

In this remarkable blend of history, science, and personal observation, acclaimed author Wade Davis tells the story of America’s Nile, how it once flowed freely and how human intervention has left it near exhaustion, altering the water temperature, volume, local species, and shoreline of the river Theodore Roosevelt once urged us to “leave it as it is.” 

The Colorado River’s story is one of humanity’s quest for development and its unforeseen consequences—as well as an opportunity to learn from past mistakes and help the rebirth of America’s most renowned waterway.

This is a fascinating voyage down the river and through mankind’s tangled and destructive relationship with one of its greatest natural resources, portrayed in a brilliantly told story of historical adventure and natural beauty.

Read the Reviews and Price on Amazon

Grand Canyon Women: Lives Shaped by Landscape 

Grand Canyon Women presents the experiences of twenty-six extraordinary women—Native Americans, river runners, biologists, wranglers, architects, rangers, hikers, and housewives—each of whom discovers her identity in the midst of nature’s indiscriminate universe.

This book is great to read before you visit Grand Canyon, and it will make this beautiful place come alive when you go with the people who have inhabited it over the years. These are fascinating women with lives very different from yours, and surely you will be enriched by making acquaintance in this book. 

Women’s stories are so often overlooked in history, which makes this book even more important.

Read the Reviews and Price on Amazon

On Foot: Grand Canyon Backpacking Stories

This anthology dedicated to Grand Canyon backpacking has twenty-seven stories of adventure, discovery, danger, and deep solitude. Hikers of all levels, rangers, trail workers, scientists, and guides all provide their unique perspectives.

Rick Kempa has carefully guided these essays into existence with the assurance of a seasoned Canyon hiker. The grit of cliff-edge peril and the exhilaration of life below the rim are brought to armchair hikers in this collection, which is unique in its focus on the path experience. Each of the numerous noteworthy authors’ essays was written on the trail, complete with the sweat, thirst, and freedom that only hiking in the Grand Canyon can bring. 

This would be a worthwhile volume to carry on your next desert walk for the extra half pound in your pack. Each essay is a small dose of inspiration, perfect for a pit stop under the shade of a sagging boulder.

Those who have enjoyed long walks in the Grand Canyon will enjoy this book. The stories’ quality varies, but they all go above the standard “as gorgeous as a postcard” response to the Canyon. 

Read the Reviews and Price on Amazon

American Southwest Obsessed

Nicole is a travel expert who has been traveling to the American Southwest since 1992. There is so much to see and do in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and California. I spend part of the year in Phoenix and travel around the area visiting all the best places and going on the best hikes. Check out my detailed destination guides, the best hiking in each state guides, and the travel gear you need for your next trip.

Recent Posts