Share This Article

The Colorado wends 277 river miles through Grand Canyon National Park. Along the way, to quote author Norman Maclean, it “runs over rocks from the basement of time.”

On May 24, 1869, one-armed Civil War veteran and geologist John Wesley Powell and party set out downriver. Three months later they completed the first known passage through the canyon. In 1871–72 Powell and others retraced much of the route, again using wooden boats. Today adventurous souls can follow in Powell’s oar strokes on guided or private rafting trips.  

Wooden boats used on an expedition through the Grand Canyon in 1871-72. (Kathleen Norris Cook.)

historynet magazines

Our 9 best-selling history titles feature in-depth storytelling and iconic imagery to engage and inform on the people, the wars, and the events that shaped America and the world.