Canyons of the Colorado

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(4.6 stars; 21 reviews)

John Wesley Powell was a pioneer American explorer, ethnologist, and geologist in the 19th Century. In 1869 he set out to explore the Colorado and the Grand Canyon. He gathered nine men, four boats and food for ten months and set out from Green River, Wyoming, on May 24. Passing through dangerous rapids, the group passed down the Green River to its confluence with the Colorado River (then also known as the Grand River upriver from the junction), near present-day Moab, Utah.

The expedition's route traveled through the Utah canyons of the Colorado River, which Powell described in his published diary as having …wonderful features—carved walls, royal arches, glens, alcove gulches, mounds and monuments. From which of these features shall we select a name? We decide to call it Glen Canyon. (Ironically, now almost completely submerged by Lake Powell, behind the Glen Canyon Dam.)

One man (Goodman) quit after the first month and another three (Dunn and the Howland brothers) left at Separation Rapid in the third, only two days before the group reached the mouth of the Virgin River on August 30 after traversing almost 1,500 km. The three who left the group late in the trip were later killed—probably by Indians.

Powell retraced the route in 1871-1872 with another expedition, producing photographs, an accurate map, and various papers, including ethnographic reports of the area's Native Americans and a monograph on their languages. --adapted from Wikipedia (8 hr 7 min)


Preface 6:30 Read by Joan Freeman
The Valley of the Colorado 21:36 Read by J. M. Smallheer
Mesas and Buttes 32:50 Read by J. M. Smallheer
Mountains and Plateaus 20:31 Read by Bryan Ness
Cliffs and Terraces 28:31 Read by Bryan Ness
From Green River City to Flaming Gorge 17:38 Read by Bryan Ness
From Flaming Gorge to the Gate of Lodore 20:46 Read by J. M. Smallheer
The Canyon of Lodore 21:04 Read by Bryan Ness
From Echo Park to the Mouth of the Uinta River 29:35 Read by Bryan Ness
From the Mouth of the Uinta River to the Junction of the Grand and 25:50 Read by Kirsten Ferreri
From the Junction of the Grand and Green to the Mouth of the Little 57:41 Read by Kevin McAsh
From the Little Colorado to the Foot of the Grand Canyon 1:07:45 Read by Robin Cotter
The Rio Virgen and the Uinkaret Mountains 1:04:51 Read by Sibella Denton
Over the River 32:05 Read by geofred
To Zuni 16:39 Read by Michelle Crandall
The Grand Canyon 23:34 Read by Sarah Jennings


very eloquent descriptions of amazing places

(4 stars)

(5 stars)

Anyone interested in the seemingly intractable controversies over the future of the Colorado River (2023) should listen to the narration of this fascinating book written by the inimitable John Wesley Powell.