Then & Now

Belknap’s Waterproof River Guides
The ORIGINAL – 46 years of publishing success!
In 1969, in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of Major John Wesley Powell’s historic journey down the Colorado River, the first Belknap Guide was published, the Grand Canyon River Guide: Powell Centennial Edition by Buzz Belknap. This waterproof edition, printed on a heavy plastic-coated paper and unconventionally bound by a tentmaker’s stitching, was the first of its kind. The rugged workhorse, just 56 pages long, made more than 100 Canyon trips with some pioneer boatmen. The maps used were based on the U.S. Geological Survey Plan and Profile of Colorado River from Lee’s Ferry, Arizona, To Black Canyon, Arizona, 1924, and the 1962 fifteen Minute Series quadrangle maps.In 1974, Westwater Books began publishing waterproof Guides on other parts of the Green and Colorado river system: Dinosaur River Guide covering the Green and the Yampa; Desolation River Guide, including Desolation and Gray canyons on the Green River, and Canyonlands River Guide on the Green and Colorado to Lees Ferry linking with the Grand Canyon River Guide.Through the years and many updates later—from black and white to color, conventional pasteup to computers and digital imaging, old base maps to new, improved topographical techniques to shaded relief—Westwater Books has continued to publish this entire River Guide Series. We are dedicated to providing highly accurate, user friendly books that enhance the experience of all river adventurers: commercial, private or even those of the arm chair variety.Originally designed with map pages only, our River Guides now include expanded sections on geology, history, natural history, archaeology and photography, researched and written by experts in their fields. Maps have improved, campsites have been added, and now access to the Interet allows us to expand information beyond the Guides by including important links to many useful resources.

GPS Waypoints Too

For those who like pinpointing locations for fun or research using GPS waypoints, you can now download waypoints for all four Guides. Go to the Download tab.


Whether you’re about to embark and need to do some trip planning or have just returned from the river and want a valuable reminder of your adventure, we hope you’ll pick up a copy today. Just click on Products to see what each of our Guides has to offer.