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  • Post last modified:December 3, 2021

While the internet is a great resource there is nothing like flipping through a whitewater guidebook while lounging on the couch dreaming of your next boating road trip. Or flipping through it on your extended road trip figuring out how to find put-in when there is no cell service. Scroll to books on California, Grand Canyon, Idaho, Oregon, and Instruction.

Western Whitewater Guidebook

 – Great descriptions on the classic rafting runs of the west.



Thorough descriptions of classic California rivers

Less in-depth than California Whitewater but covers way more runs.

Best New Book on paddling California with a focus on Norcal.

Best Field Guide to the Sierra



Classic Guide to Oregon and WAY better layout than “Paddling Oregon

Comprehensive Field Guide for the Pacific Northwest

Illinois River

Handbook to the Illinois River – Overhead photos of all the rapids with detailed routes.


Information about hiking in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area and along the Illinois River

Rogue River

The preferred guide to the Rogue for Professional River Guides

Nice topo map guide to the Rogue River




Amaral’s classic guide, Idaho – The Whitewater State, still does the job.

Great field guide for Idaho!

Middle Fork of the Salmon

Most popular guidebook for the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.

Historical Guide to the Middle Fork Salmon

Selway River

Pete From writes about wintering along the Selway River

Best Guidebook for the Selway River

Fun stories about the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness Area

Best historical information on the private in holdings along the Selway River.

Topo Map of the Selway River Section of the Wilderness Area.

Stories about early workers in the Selway Bitterroot

Story about growing up in the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness Area

Great field guide for Idaho!

Washinton – Olympic Peninsula Kayaking


Grand Canyon – Colorado River

Does it all: mile by mile guide with an excellent field guide and geology information

Nice write-up on hikes from the river

Good book on Powell’s journey through the Grand Canyon

In depth information on plants of the Grand Canyon

History – Grand Canyon


Interesting adventure that gives a good feel for river and canyon conditions before Lake Powell

About Buzz Holmstrum; Self taught, he soloed the Rogue, Salmon, and Grand Canyon.

Instructional Books

Bennett covers all the important fundamentals of rafting in a concise manner.

Nate Ostis has put together the best and most current book on river rescue.

William Nealy’s hilarious and informative book on how to kayak. Book is also good for rafters.