Glen Canyon: A River Guide Remembers

“…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.”

John Wesley Powell | August 3, 1869

Aerial View of Glen Canyon by Ron Smith, 1962. Courtesy of Ron Smith and Jana Smith.


Glen Canyon: A River Guide Remembers

Iconic Utah outfitter Ken Sleight began his river-guiding career in Glen Canyon during the mid-1950s, just as the Glen Canyon Dam blueprints jumped from the drawing board to remote desert terrain. The pulse of the Colorado River through the canyon would soon be halted by a cement wall and Glen Canyon backfilled with water. Ken knew the condition of the canyon was terminal. He used every ray of daylight to memorize every detail of the canyon before inundation: to learn its 125 side canyons, to observe Native American ruins and mining relics, and to immerse himself in the lives of seminal guides who preceded him like Dave Rust, Bert Loper, and Moki Mac.

Now 88 years old, Ken and a team of Glen Canyon curators open the archives to create a museum exhibit: Glen Canyon: A River Guide Remembers. With historic landscape photographs, First American artifacts, boats and other gear, passenger portraits and journals, guides’ handwritten-packing lists, and more, this is an exhibit as simple, gritty, and rich as a trip through Glen Canyon with Ken. Within the walls of the John Wesley Powell River History Museum in Green River, Utah in 2018, Glen Canyon lives again.

Join us May 4, 2018 to March 23, 2019.


Visit the Exhibit

Glen Canyon: A River Guide Remembers is open now through March 23rd, 2019 at the John Wesley Powell River History Museum. The museum is located off the I-70 in Green River, Utah. For more information on hours and location, visit their website:


“Farewell Glen Canyon …to remember what was lost".”

Ken & Jane Sleight | 2018

Holding Boats Onshore, Wonderland Expeditions by Vaughn Short, ca. 1961. Courtesy of Carolyn Short.



Our team is currently working on an interactive, online Glen Canyon: A River Guide Remembers exhibit experience. We will post further updates about our progress right here on our website. If you would like to contribute your story or make a donation to the current exhibit or future online exhibit through Epicenter, please follow the links at the bottom of this page. Thank you!

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Vaughn Short on raft in Glen Canyon by Photographer Unknown, ca. 1962. Courtesy of Carolyn Short.