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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, International and Instruction.

Western Whitewater Guidebook

Great descriptions on the classic rafting runs of the west.



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

Thorough descriptions of classic California rivers

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.

HIstory of rafting on the Middle Fork 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.

International Rivers

Vlad tells entertaining and mind blowing stories about rafting in throughout Soviet Union in the 1970’s and 1980’s while also providing information about how to run trips.

Larry’s guide book provides detailed information for paddling in Ecuador. It’s amazing how many rivers are so accessible in a such a small country.

An fantastic guide to New Zealand’s amazing whitewater rivers.

A surprisingly in depth overview of whitewater rivers throughout the world.

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.

Franco’s offers another current prospective on whitewater safety and rescue. He does a nice job with his focus on preventative practices.