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, Idaho, Oregon, and Instruction.

General Whitewater Guidebooks

 – 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.

– Helpful topographical map of the Middle Fork and Main 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.

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

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

– In depth information on plants of the Grand Canyon


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

Interpretive Books

Rocks and Rapids of the Tuolumne River

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. Thanks Nate!

– William Nealy’s hilarious and informative book on how to kayak.