Paddling the John Wesley Powell Route

Exploring the Green and Colorado Rivers

On May 24, 1869, John Wesley Powell and nine crewmen in four wooden rowboats set off down the Green River to map the final blank spot on the American map. Three months later, six ragged men in only two boats emerged from the Grand Canyon. And what happened along the rugged 1,000 river miles in between quickly became the stuff of legend.

Read an excerpt on my blog!

Today, the JWP route offers some of the most adventurous paddling in the United States. Across six southwestern states, paddlers will find a surprising variety of trips. Enjoy flatwater floats through Canyonlands and the Uinta Basin; whitewater kayaking or rafting in Dinosaur National Monument and Cataract Canyon; afternoon paddleboarding on Flaming Gorge Reservoir and Lake Powell; multiday expeditions through Desolation Canyon and the Grand Canyon; and much more, including remarkable hikes and excursions to ancestral ruins, historic sites, museums, and waterfalls.

Paddling the John Wesley Powell Route is a narrated guide that combines a multi-chapter retelling of the dramatic 1869 expedition with stunning landscape photography, modern discoveries along the route, overview maps, and information about permits, shuttles, access points, rental equipment, guided trips, and further readings. Come celebrate the dramatic 1869 expedition by exploring the route and learning the story.

“A must-stow companion for beginning paddlers, seasoned river runners, and armchair adventurers with dreams of exploring these storied rivers. Bezemek successfully weaves essential planning info with a vivid narration of the 1869 expedition and interviews and episodes from his own worthy pilgrimage down the Green and Colorado. The result is informative and inspirational, awakening paddlers of all levels to a deeper history and wider scope of opportunities along the JWP route.”

Dave Shively, editor of Canoe & Kayak Magazine

“An exciting new format for river information, one that is not sectioned off by state boundaries but rather by a connecting story. Progress downstream right along with Powell and his men.”

–Susan Elliot, author of Paddling America

Paddling the John Wesley Powell Route  is now available at local bookstoresBarnes & Noble, and Amazon.

“150 years after John Wesley Powell’s Green and Colorado River expedition, Mike Bezemek does an outstanding job retracing the journey in a clear and comprehensive river guide. The Major would have given his left boot for a copy of this book.”

Tom Martin, guidebook author and co-winner of a 2007 National Outdoor Book Award

Learn more in the following articles!

A brief history of boats used by explorers on the JWP Route over 150 years, plus an overview of modern recreational opportunities. (Duct Tape Diaries)

Mishaps and adventures while returning to rafting to explore the JWP route. (Rafting Magazine)

Learn about the Pyranha Fusion hybrid kayaks my friends and I use to explore the JWP route. (Pyranha Kayaks blog)

Journey into some of the hidden canyons on the JWP route. (The Eddy blog)

A week of paddling across Flaming Gorge Reservoir (Canoe & Kayak)

How many ways can you paddle Red Canyon? (Canoe & Kayak)

A solo trip through Desolation Canyon: Searching for Sumner’s Amphitheater (Canoe & Kayak)

Haunted by the High Water of Cataract Canyon (Canoe & Kayak)

A weekend expedition to find a packrafting loop from Lees Ferry into Glen Canyon (Canoe & Kayak)

A fresh-eyes descent of Grand Canyon during winter (Canoe & Kayak)

Montana couple completes source-to-sea expedition down the Powell route (Canoe & Kayak)

A trip through time in Desolation Canyon (The Eddy blog)

Labyrinth Canyon joins Wild & Scenic Rivers system (Canoe & Kayak)

Explorations along the Powell route inspire a plunge into packrafting (Kokopelli blog)