Travel & Pictorial

The Grand Canyon: Unseen Beauty: Running the Colorado River

The majesty of the Grand Canyon is celebrated from the Colorado River as it continues to carve America's natural wonder from a mile below the rim.

As one of the Wonders of the World and the most iconic national park in America, the Grand Canyon enthralls six million visitors each year. Only a small fraction of those people, however, have the privilege of experiencing the canyon by rafting down the Colorado River. The Grand Canyon captures and evokes the power of that journey from the drama of the rapids and the immeasurable scale of the canyon walls to the subtle rock patterns and varied life forms.
What started as an exceptional opportunity for Tom Blagden to raft through The Canyon in 2006 with Rod Nash at the oars has evolved into a passionate photographic pursuit that still continues. The route--the River--is the same every time but the experience constantly variable and deeply profound. Rafters never tire of it and, if anything, feel more in awe of the Canyon's magnificence with each trip.
Tom Blagden's images and Rod Nash's essay reveal the canyon from a different perspective portraying what it's like to be on the river and immersed a mile deep, surrounded by rock almost half the age of the earth. On the centennial of Grand Canyon National Park it seems only fitting that we journey together to this unique place through the pages of this astonishing book. The book weaves a wondrous adventure that will bring readers along on a journey while raising questions about the significance of a national park and an iconic American river and how to sustain them for generations to follow.

About The Author

Tom Blagden Jr. is the official photographer for Grand Canyon Expeditions. He is the photographic author of eight books, including Rizzoli's Acadia National Park. His images have appeared in numerous exhibits and magazines, including on the covers of Smithsonian, Audubon, Outdoor Photographer, Nature Conservancy, and Sierra. He has served on the board of the Nature Conservancy of South Carolina and is a fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers and the North American Nature Photography Association.
Roderick Fraser Nash taught American history and environmental studies at the University of California Santa Barbara for 30 years. His 1967 publication Wilderness and The American Mind has been cited by Outside Magazine as one of the books that changed our world. Nash began guiding river trips in the 1950s and has made more than 70 descents of the Colorado through the Grand Canyon.
The Grand Canyon Conservancy is the official nonprofit partner of Grand Canyon National Park, working hand-in-hand with the National Park Service to support projects including trails and historic building preservation, educational programs for the public, and the protection of wildlife and their natural habitat.
Grand Canyon Expeditions is one of the oldest outfitters running trips through the Canyon.

  • Publish Date: May 07, 2019
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Category: Travel - Special Interest - Hikes & Walks
  • Publisher: Rizzoli
  • Trim Size: 10 x 10
  • Pages: 224
  • US Price: $50.00
  • CDN Price: $67.50
  • ISBN: 978-0-8478-6640-3


2019 Holiday Gift Guide Selection: The Great Outdoors—the magnificent books in this list celebrate our national parks.."
— Publishers Weekly 

"Take in the glory of the Grand Canyon from home with this beautifully-shot coffee table book. People who know the Grand Canyon well agree that there are in fact two canyons: the one seen from the top, a lifeless, abstract tableau, and the one experienced intimately at the bottom. The typical rim visitor, one of six million per year, stays from five to seven hours and spends an average of 17 minutes looking at the abyss. River runners, conversely, take it in every waking minute, 100 to 200 hours, depending on the duration of their trip. Literally and figuratively, the river perspective immerses you.
Timed to this park’s centennial, Rizzoli just released The Grand Canyon, by the veteran, official photographer of one of its oldest river outfits, which may be the next best thing to being 'down there.' The foreword by dory boatman and history professor Roderick Nash, author of the environmental classic Wilderness and the American Mind, puts the 175 color photos into their proper context. Several photos taken mid-stream and reproduced as two-page, panoramic spreads offer views closed to hikers, let alone rim walkers a mile above. Blagden’s visual journey evokes memories from your own or whets the appetite for one if you’ve never gone. This paean to a glorious gorge sings the praises of a survivor, a river hemmed in but not broken."
— UTNE Reader

New and Noteworthy Visual Books: The Grand Canyon: Unseen Beauty: Running the Colorado River. Tom Blagden Jr., a professional nature photographer, documents one of the world’s natural wonders from a raft along the river, rapids and all.” — The New York Times

"In The Grand Canyon — Unseen Beauty: Running the Colorado River, award-winning photographer and writer Tom Blagden, Jr., rafts 277 eye-opening miles of the gorge. From this refreshing, deep vantage point, he photographed bighorn rams, condors, bobcats, great blue herons, rattlesnakes, ancient juniper and mesquite trees, whitewater splashes, waterfalls, cave pictographs and many-hued horizontal striations of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rock that formed millions of years ago. As the official photographer for Grand Canyon Expeditions and photographer-author of eight books, Blagden's detailed, color-rich, light-just-right images are astounding." —

Author Bookshelf: Thomas Blagden Jr., Roderick F. Nash, The Grand Canyon Conservancy