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 at Men’s Journal!

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
a relief mural outside the John Wesley Powell River History Museum in Green River, Utah

“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!