Our hand-picked list of Grand Canyon books.  Grand Canyon has inspired many tales, from real accounts of the first river runner, tales of other early explorers and pioneers, to personal stories of modern-day adventurers and workers, and fictional stories set in this inhospitable environment.  There are also plenty of sensational picture books on Grand Canyon to inspire you or to help you remember your trip of a lifetime.  The best of the best books about the Grand Canyon …

Books about the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon: Between River and Rim 

Hike from your armchair with these stunning photos of the canyon captured while hiking the entire 750 miles of the canyon. 

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Grand Canyon National Park Arizona (Down Bright Angel Trail)

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Historic photos taken by Josef Muench in 1928 of the Grand Canyon.

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How the Canyon Became Grand: A Short History

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This is a fascinating presentation of two aspects of the canyon’s history – the history of its discovery and exploration and the history of its cultural significance.

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Give It to the Grand Canyon  

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This novel is a tour de force. The main character heads to the Grand Canyon as a summer worker to escape heartbreak and finds something complex and meaningful in his experience.

Heart-felt and well-written, this makes a great vacation read.

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Grand Canyon Rafting Books 

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

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The Emerald Mile is the story of Kenton Grua rowing a wooden dory just like the one I took through the Grand Canyon called named “The Emerald Mile” through the Grand Canyon from Lee’s Ferry to Lake Mead during a mega flood in 1983.

The Colorado River and the Glen Canyon Dam were so swollen that the dam was in danger of bursting.  So, choosing this time to use the gushing river to try and break the all-time fastest boat record was nothing short of insane. The resulting story is an exciting read. Even more so when you’ve been in a similar dory through the same canyon, albeit with much lower water levels.

A great companion book for the experience of river rafting through the Grand Canyon.  

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The Hidden Canyon: A River Journey 

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A great insight into boating through the Grand Canyon (of a great souvenir hit those who did it). The canyon is captured at river level in gorgeous photos and words.

More than 100 photos capture the crazy maelstrom of the rapids and the incredible grandeur of the canyon. And he also went through it in a wooden dory.  

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There’s This River… Grand Canyon Boatman Stories 

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When you take a boat trip through the Grand Canyon, the guides are a big part of your trip. Young, fit, upbeat and extremely competent, they totally add to your experience. We all found ourselves frequently asking about other trips they’d done, other passengers… well, here are the best stories all gathered together.

This a collection of real-life takes from Grand Canyon boatmen. Fun and a little gossipy. This will make you feel glad you didn’t feature in the book (or wishing you did!).

A fun read.  

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Down the Great Unknown: John Wesley Powell’s 1869 Journey of Discovery and Tragedy Through the Grand Canyon 

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In 1869, John Wesley Powell, and nine others traversed the length if the Grand Canyon for the first time.

Powell had one arm, the boats were tiny wooden dories, only six if the ten survived. It’s an incredible story, pieced together by diaries and journal entries. 

It’s truly awe-inspiring learning of the journey and imagining what it would have been like.

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Breaking Into the Current: Boatwomen of the Grand Canyon 

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We often think of river running as a man’s domain, and even to this day, 85% if the commercial boat pilots are men. However, 15% are women.

The trip that I did through the Grand Canyon was led by a woman, so It’s nice to read the stories of 11 women who became commercial boat pilots in the 1970s. They were among the first and their stories are both tales of women’s rights, love affairs with the canyon and boating, and inspiring personal stories of people who did what they loved and loved what they did.

An inspiring and interesting read. 

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Grand Canyon Book for Kids

Good Night Grand Canyon

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Suitable for ages 3 and up, children can explore all the Grand Canyon has to offer, including the wildlife, hiking the Bright Angel Trail, park rangers, taking a mule ride or helicopter sightseeing trip, white water rafting, and more.

A great way for kids to explore this iconic national park.

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Brighty of the Grand Canyon

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A charming story of a burro who roamed around the Grand Canyon and brought joy to several human characters, including President Roosevelt, a game hunter and an old miner, who named him. When the miner is murdered, Brighty the burro helps bring the perpetrator to justice.

A charming story set in the canyon that kids will love. Suitable for reading age 8 – 12 years.

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Whose Tail on the Trail at Grand Canyon?

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Recommended for young readers, but fun for all ages, this book identifies the various animals that live in Grand Canyon. It has beautiful color illustrations to help young readers identify the animals.

This will help them to get ready for a trip, remember a trip they took – or travel to Grand Canyon from their homes.

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Where Is the Grand Canyon?

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This book covers all aspects of Grand canyon, from its formation, to the early inhabitants and its wildlife and to to modern day tourism.

Informative and fun to read, this book is suitable for readers 8 – 12 old.

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The Grand Canyon (Wonders of America)

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Gives an easy-to-understand and enjoyable overview of the canyon and how it was formed. Makes a great introduction to the canyon for kids about to visit.

Suitable for read age 4-6 years.

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In the Canyon

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Explore the Grand Canyon through the eyes of a child seeing it for the first time. From close up views of tiny lizards to panoramic views from the rim and things you see as you descend down to the Colorado River at the bottom of the canyon, kids will love learning all about the canyon and seeing them brought to life in colorful pictures.

Suitable for reading age 4- 8 years.

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Are you traveling to Grand Canyon National Park? Check out my Guide to Grand Canyon National Park.

If you love reading about national parks, check out more books about national parks.

If you liked this reading list, pin it to your Books and national Parks boards:

The Best Books About Grand Canyon_For Adults and Kids
Fascinating Books About Grand Canyon National Park


About the Reviewer 

James Ian Yosemite

James Ian has traveled to 82 countries and all 7 continents.  He has visited all of the main national parks in the United States, as well as many national monuments and state parks.

He has rafted through the Grand Canyon; rappelled down slot canyons near Zion and Arches; hiked among the hoodoos in Bryce and the enormous trees in Sequoia; admired the waterfalls in Yosemite and the colored hot springs in Yellowstone; seen moose in Grand Tetons and seals in the Channel Islands, and much more.

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