35 Years Hells Canyon


The Snake River travels a 1,056 mile journey from its headwaters at 9,800 feet elevation in Yellowstone Park to its confluence with the Columbia River.  Hells Canyon and the Snake form the Oregon/Idaho border.  With a maximum depth of over 7,900 feet, Hells Canyon is the deepest river gorge in North America.

Hells CanyonThankfully, Congress has seen fit to preserve this unique natural treasure for all by forming the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.  It has been designated "Wild and Scenic" under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

Dramatic shifts in the Canyon's appearance accompany the changing seasons, from velvety green slopes covered with wildflowers in the spring to desert vistas in the fading heat of late summer.  Hells Canyon is a diverse ecological treasure, from the Hells Canyon Creek launch site (1,438 foot elevation) and the summit of the Seven Devils Mountain (9,393-foot elevation) to cactus fields and alpine mountain meadows.  The river itself tumbles hundreds of feet between the basalt and granite walls of Hells Canyon.  Rapids such as Wild Sheep, Granite, Waterspout, and Rush Creek provide exhilaration and excitement between the relaxing calm stretches.

The small side-streams have carved deep gorges which beckon would-be-explorers as we drift by.  The earliest known settlers in Hells Canyon were the Nez Perce tribe.  More than 100 years ago, famed Chief Joseph and his tribe of Nez Perce Indians lived in Hells Canyon.  The Shoshone-Bannock, Northern Paiute, and Cayuse Indians were also drawn to the area for its milder winters.  Plentiful wildlife for hunting and abundant food for themselves and their livestock made the Hells Canyon area ideal.  Their presence is evident in the many fine petroglyphs and pictographs on the canyon walls.

There is certainly no shortage of wildlife that make Hells Canyon their home. Eagles and falcons soar above the ridges. On the ground we find elk, mule deer, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, bear, cougar, bobcat, coyote, mink, and otter.

On the Water     

It’s almost impossible to experience everything Hells Canyon has to offer in one trip.  We provide the options, equipment and expertise; you decide what you want to do.  Hiking up side canyons to 100-year-old homesteads and 1,000-year-old Indian pictographs gives you a sense of the canyon's previous inhabitants.  You can paddle one of our inflatable kayaks and challenge the power of the Snake, grab a fishing rod to experience catching and releasing sturgeon (which are both bigger and older than you are) or just lay back in the boat, work on your tan and watch the incredible scenery roll by.  Seventy-degree water, stars you can almost touch, and half a billion years of geology all add up to a mystical place you'll never forget.

"There are no words to express the warmth and personal touches that you both put into the trip that made it all the more special for me" --Laura.