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Hughes River Expeditions, Inc.
P.O. Box 217
Cambridge, ID 83610
(800) 262-1882
(208) 257-3477
Fax: (208) 257-3476
info@hughesriver.com

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Snake River Through Hells Canyon

Snake River Through Hells Canyon

Idaho-mapSnake River whitewater rafting trips through Hells Canyon are terrific Idaho vacations. Rafting Hells Canyon is one of the best family river trips in the West. In Hells Canyon, the Snake River separates Idaho and Oregon by cutting America’s deepest canyon. The staggering 8,000 foot drop from He Devil Mountain to the Snake River creates one of nature’s most breathtaking gorges.

Nez Perce Indian legend claims “Coyote” dug Hells Canyon with a big stick to protect their ancestors in Oregon’s Blue Mountains from the “seven devils” across the gorge in what is now Idaho. Eons of uplift, erosion, and volcanic activity have created the rich geologic mosaic found in Hells Canyon. When Lake Bonneville overflowed some 15,000 years ago, a massive Snake River flood scoured the area and shaped the present Canyon.

The country is amazing. Rugged walls rise from the river. Grassy hillsides are green in spring and golden in late summer. River-polished boulders shine along the banks. Tributary grottos are deliciously cool, and wildflowers and cacti bloom extravagantly. Ponderosa pines are scattered throughout the landscape, and conifer forests blanket the Canyon rims.

We explore aboriginal sites, including pictographs, petroglyphs, rock shelters, and house pits. The Canyon’s archaeology reveals more than 7,800 years of habitation. Abandoned homesteads reflect the recent past. Tales of the Deep Creek Massacre, sternwheel steamers, the Nez Perce Crossing, and unsolved murders are part of the Hells Canyon lore. At Kirkwood Bar Historic Ranch, the Forest Service has preserved and displayed remnants of the Canyon’s rich history.

viewRafting the Snake is challenging fun! Wild Sheep, Granite, Bernard, No Name, Waterspout, and Rush Creek rapids are the most powerful whitewater in the Northwest. Between rapids, there is time to enjoy the scenery of a magnificent canyon.

Fishing in Hells Canyon is unique. Any cast may bring in a smallmouth bass, rainbow trout, or channel catfish. Remarkably, all these species live in the Snake River along with steelhead (ocean-run rainbow trout), and huge white sturgeon, which can reach 10 feet or more in length. Regulations require “catch & release” fishing for wild steelhead and sturgeon.Wildlife includes Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, mountain goat, mule deer, elk, cougar, black bear, beaver, otter, and more. Songbirds, owls, hawks, eagles, chukar partridge, and forest grouse dot the ecosystem.

Hells Canyon is one of the most rugged roadless areas in the U.S. Our only contacts during the trip are hikers, horsemen, and other river parties, including jetboats. The Snake/Hells Canyon is protected by Congress as a “Wild & Scenic River,” and is inside the spectacular Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.

If you are interested in a combination rafting and ranch vacation, we have teamed up with The Seven Devils Lodge in Council, Idaho to provide you with a true western vacation experience. Before or after your river trip, you can horseback ride, join in wildlife photography excursions, or flyfish for trout and bass. To visit their website, go to www.sevendevilslodge.com.

Hells Canyon Video with Boyd Norton:

play-buttonClick the play button to view Aaron Kuntz, Idaho Public TV, interviews Boyd Norton, photographer and founding member of Hells Canyon Preservation Council *(may take a moment to load)

The Snake River was featured in Sunset Magazine’s Top 10 Rafting Trips.

Hughes River Expedition’s Snake River trip was featured in National Geograhic Adventure, October 2003. Land of Extremes. 50 Places Like Nowhere Else on Earth. #9 – “North America’s deepest canyon. More V-shaped than U-shaped, Idaho’s 8,043-foot-deep Hells Canyon has long lived in the shadow of the flashier (but 2,000-foot-shallower) Grand Canyon. The happy result: a stark, arid landscape mostly devoid of tourist facilities, park-and-gape viewpoints, or roads of any sort. It’s a place where no bridge crosses the canyon for 106 miles and the roiling Snake River is flanked by wilderness that sustains black bears, bighorn sheep, and thousands of free-roaming elk. Raft the Class IV rapids of Hells Canyon on a three-day trip with Hughes River Expeditions.”

Hughes River Expeditions Inc. and Snake River/Hells Canyon were also featured in National Geographic Society’s beautiful hardbound book,  America’s Majestic Canyons, 1979:

“At its deepest point it drops 7,900 feet, ever narrowing, from the craggy heights of the Seven Devils Mountains to the churning rapids and eddies of the Snake River. This magnificent canyon, which ranges from an alpine rim to an arid floor, is the deepest gorge in all of North America; it eclipses the Grand Canyon by 2,000 feet… Throughout the Northwest I found canyons of majesty, canyons of beauty – but to me none of the others combined the elements of history, geology, wilderness, wildlife, and scenic wonder in the dramatic style of Hells Canyon. My reactions mirrored those of Capt. L. E. Bonneville, one of the West’s early explores. Nearly a century and a half ago he ventured into the Hells Canyon area with a group of comrades. In 1837 Washington Irving published an account of the trip in ”The Adventures of Captain Bonneville, U.S.A.: – ‘The grandeur and originality of the views, presented on every side, beggar both the pencil and the pen. Nothing we have ever gazed upon in any other region could for a moment compare in wild majesty and impressive sternness, with the series of scenes which here at every turn astonished our senses, and filled us with awe and delight.’”

Hughes River Expeditions, Inc. operates under an Outfitter/Guide Authorization from Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Snake River – Hells Canyon Schedule and Rates

America’s deepest canyon, big rapids (including the famous Wild Sheep and Granite), warm water and weather, more Native American and pioneer historic sites than any other river in the region, excellent and varied fishing. National Wild & Scenic River.

Snake River trips are normally planned for 4 Days/3 Nights. Groups can plan 3, 4, 5, and 6 Day Trips. Check with HRE office.

Snake River Rafting Trip Rates
3 Day Expedition – $1060/adult; $960/youth
4 Day Expedition – $1340/adult; $1215/youth
5 Day Expedition – $1645/adult; $1495/youth
6 Day Expedition – $1930/adult; $1715/youth

Month Launch Dates
May 26, 30
June 3*, 7, 11, 15*, 19, 23, 27
July 1, 5, 9, 13*, 17, 21, 25, 29*
August 2, 6, 10*, 14, 18, 22, 26*, 30
September 3, 7

 

*Motorless Window Dates. US Forest Service Snake River management provides for Mon., Tues., Wed. to be motorless between Wild Sheep Rapids and Kirkwood Bar every other week during June-August. 2014 Motorless Window Dates are: June 2-4, June 16-18, June 30-July 2, July 14-16, July 28-30, August 11-13, and August 25-27.

Deposits to Confirm (personal check, VISA, MasterCard, Discover Card)

3 Days @$400/person
4 Days @$450/person
5 Days @$550/person
6 Days @$700/person

Snake River fishing boat rates:

 
2 fishermen/boat & guide. 3 Days @$1285/person; 4 Days @$1695/person; 5 Days @$2080/person; 6 Days @$2475/person. Tackle and gear provided.

Youth Rate applies to kids, teens, and undergraduate students.

Group Discounts are available.

Snake/Hells Canyon rafting season is mid-April through mid-October. Charter Groups can plan trips before May 26 and after September 10.

3 Days/2 Nights or 4 Days/3 Nights
32 River Miles – National Wild River
Meet in Cambridge
HRE provides transportation to put-in at Hells Canyon Cr., and from Pittsburg
Landing take-out back to Cambridge.

5 Days/4 Nights or 6 Days/5 Nights
79 River Miles – National Wild & Scenic River
Meet in Cambridge
HRE provides transportation to put-in at Hells Canyon Cr., and from Heller Bar
take-out to Lewiston, ID. Check detail sheets.

Snake River – Hells Canyon Gear List

Rafting the Wild & Scenic Snake River in Hells Canyon is one of America’s premier river trips. Snake River Hells Canyon highlights include whitewater, fishing, hiking, American native cultural sites, abandoned homesteads, swimming, and enjoying the scenery of America’s deepest canyon.

GEAR LIST

Hughes River Expeditions, Inc. Provides:

  • All meals beginning with lunch the first day, and ending with lunch the last day of the trip
  • Coast Guard approved whitewater life jackets
  • Farmer John wetsuits (chilly water and on request)
  • Freshly laundered sleeping bags, small camp pillows and self-inflating sleeping pads
  • Tents (a tent for 2 guests or a tent for singles)
  • Ground tarps
  • Dining tables with tablecloths
  • Camp chairs
  • Waterproof gear packs for your personal gear. Size of pack is 13.5″ x 26″
  • Day bags
  • Camera boxes (Pelican brand diving boxes)
  • Toilet paper
  • First aid supplies
  • ‘Real’ plates, silverware and cups
  • Plenty of ice for beverages
  • Fishing Gear and instruction
  • River Library (books, maps, articles about the area)

You should bring:

  • Nylon shorts and/or swimming suit
  • Shirts (collars &long sleeves help protect from sun)
  • Light weight pants (1 pair)
  • Nylon wind shirt/jacket
  • Good rain gear (jacket & pants) IMPORTANT! (can also be used as wind gear)
  • Camp shoes, lightweight (athletic or deck shoes)
  • River shoes (sneakers or sandals with heel straps)
  • Wool or Synthetic gloves/mittens (optional summer)
  • Wool or Synthetic socks
  • Synthetic long underwear (tops & bottoms)
  • Wool or Synthetic stocking cap or balaclava (optional summer)
  • Wool or Synthetic gloves (spring and fall)
  • Jacket (pile or polar fleece) Pile or polar fleece pants are optional
  • Small flashlight
  • Pillow case (from home – our camp pillows are small. You can stuff a pillowcase with pile clothing & our camp pillow to make a comfy pillow)
  • Plastic water bottle for drinking water at night
  • Towel, soap & toiletry items. Travel pack of handiwipes
  • Skin lotion
  • Waterproof sun screen & sun screen lip balm
  • Sunglasses with straps
  • Fishing gear with plenty of flies & lures. Serious fisherman usually prefer their own fishing gear. HRE provides fishing gear as well. Let us know if you wish to fish.
  • Camera with extra battery and memory card
  • Your favorite beverages (cans when possible)
  • PRESCRIPTION DRUGS, ALLERGY MEDICINES, ETC that you need

Spring/Fall Trips & Optional Equipment

  • Wool or Synthetic stocking cap or balaclava
  • Wool or Synthetic gloves/mittens
  • Wool or Synthetic socks
  • Jacket & Pants (pile or polar fleece) NOTE: Wool, Polypro, & fleece items are important as they provide warmth when wet. Wet Cotton fabrics drain heat from the body, and should not be substituted for these items.

Plan to “layer” clothing for maximum comfort. On the rafts, guides typically wear nylon shorts, T-shirt, cap and sandals, with rain gear and polypro underwear, etc. handy in one of our day bags in case of a shower or cool weather. Polypro long underwear is usually unnecessary on the Snake or Salmon Canyon in July or August. However, the weather is impossible to predict and you should come prepared. Key items for comfort on the river for cool, wet weather are a good rain jacket and polypro long underwear.

Hughes River Travel Bags

This cordura duffle fits perfectly into our river duffle bags. It also can be “carried on” the airlines so you eliminate the risk of your luggage not arriving with you for your trip. Purchase a bag now in our Online Company Store!

 

3-4 Day Snake River – Hells Canyon Trip Details

Click Here if you are taking the 5 or 6 Day Expedition.

Hells Canyon boatsSnake River whitewater rafting trips in Hells Canyon are first class adventure vacations. In Hells Canyon, the Snake River separates Idaho and Oregon by cutting America’s deepest canyon. The staggering 8,000 foot drop from He Devil Mountain to the Snake River creates one of nature’s most breathtaking gorges.

3 & 4 Day Expedition : (3 Days/2 Nights or 4 Days/3 Nights, 32 River Miles, Hells Canyon Cr. to Pittsburg Landing)

HEADQUARTERS & PRE-TRIP MEETING:

The Frontier Motel, P.O. Box 178, Cambridge, ID. 83610. (208) 257-3851 or www.frontiermotel.net. Meet at the Frontier about 8:00 p.m. the evening before the trip. During the meeting, we will discuss the trip, check out trip gear, and handle any last minute details.

Another lodging option in Cambridge is Cambridge House B&B, P. O. Box 83, Cambridge, ID  83610.  208-257-3555.  cambridgebb@ctcweb.net   www.thecambridgehouse.net   Super B&B.

We recommend that you make reservations at the Frontier Motel or Cambridge House B&B at the same time you reserve spaces on your river trip.

GETTING TO CAMBRIDGE:

If you are driving, you can reach Cambridge, Idaho by taking Highway 95. Cambridge is 100 miles north and west of Boise, via Interstate 84 and Highway 95.

If you will not be driving your own car, you have three transportation options:

Option I: Arrive in Boise and rent a car at the Boise Airport. (Avis, Hertz, National, Budget, etc.)

Option II: Scott McCurdy (208)377-3333 or cell (208)908-8144 to meet you at the Boise Airport and provide van service between Boise Airport and Cambridge, before and after your trip. Cost is $260.00 (2013 rates) for between Boise and Cambridge for either a 7 or 14 passenger van. If you have a full 14 person van, add $50.00 for a luggage trailer.

Option III: Large groups can arrange charter bus transportation between Boise Airport and Cambridge, before and after your trip. Check with Hughes office for cost and details.

THE TRIP:

Snake River Morning the 1st day, we provide bus/van transportation to put-in at Hells Canyon Creek. The drive is 60 miles on a paved, winding road. We leave Cambridge about 8:00 a.m., and arrive at put-in about 10:00 a.m.. The Forest Service provides an orientation on low impact camping and rules of the road. We launch about 11:00 a.m.

During early afternoon the last day, take-out is at Pittsburg Landing, and we provide bus transportation back to Cambridge. About 140 road miles. Plan to arrive in Cambridge at about 5:00 to 5:30 p.m.

The drives into and out of Hells Canyon are spectacular.

FISHING:

Hells Canyon SturgeonFishing is for trout, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, and white sturgeon is usually good from early summer through fall. Late summer and early fall fishing is often excellent. An Idaho and/or Oregon fishing license is required depending on which shore you fish from. You can fish from the rafts with either an Idaho or Oregon license.

You can purchase an Idaho fishing license and tackle in Cambridge before the trip. You can also purchase an Idaho license by contacting the Idaho Fish & Game 800-554-8685, or www.state.ID.US/Fishgame. Cost is $12.75 for the first day, and $6.00/day for each additional day. Juniors (14-17 years of age) can purchase a junior fishing license for $21.75/teen/season.

You can purchase an Oregon fishing license by calling 800-720-ODFW or www.dfw.state.or.us. Cost (2013) is $16.75/1 day; $31.50/2 days; $46.25/3 days; $58.00/4 days; and $59.75/5-7 days.

We provide fishing rods, tackle and sturgeon fishing gear for the group. Sturgeon fishing is “catch & release”. Serious fishermen “often” bring and “prefer” their own gear.

Spin Casting is usually the most successful technique. We recommend light weight gear with 6-8 lb. test line. Recommended Lures: Spinners (Mepps, Rooster Tails, Dare Devils); Crank Baits (Killer B’s, Rattletrap, Fat Wrap, Crawdad, Perch, etc.); 5″ Grub Worms with leadheads (motor oil, pearl, purple, blue, black, etc.)

Fly fishing is also available. We recommend 5-6 weight rods, double taper floating lines & sink tip lines. Recommended Flies: Joe’s Hopper, Dave’s Hopper, Elk Hair Caddis, Wooly Worm, Wooly Bugger, Muddler Minnow, Clouser Minnow, etc. Recommened Bass Poppers: Black/yellow, yellow/red, chartreuse/olive, mouse, etc.

RAFT CONFIGURATION & GROUP SIZE:

Hells Canyon RaftsMost Snake/Hells Canyon trips number a total of 24 people. (18 guests, 5 crew & 1 camp helper). A typical trip has 1 supply pontoon, 3 oar rafts, 1 paddle raft, and 3 inflatable kayaks (kayaks can be used as solo or tandem boats) -OR- 1 supply pontoon, 2 oar rafts, 2 paddle rafts, and 3 inflatable kayaks. Be sure to let us know the type of craft you prefer.

The Forest Service, Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, limits our total number of rafts & kayaks per trip to a maximum of 8 craft.

VEHICLE & LAUGGAGE STORAGE:

You can safely store your vehicle and luggage at the Frontier Motel or Cambridge House B&B during the trip.

WEATHER:

Spring and Fall in Hells Canyon bring warm days, cool nights, and possible thundershowers. Daytime temperatures may range from 55-90 degrees. Summer is very warm. Daytime temperatures may range from 70-105 degrees.

TRIP INSURANCE & RESPONSIBILITY:

We encourage the purchase of Trip Cancellation, Accident, and Baggage Insurance Policies. These policies cover cancellation, personal property, and personal injury. Many insurance companies offer such policies.

HUGHES RIVER EXPEDITIONS, Inc. spares nothing to assure that all trips we outfit are the safest and best outfitted expeditions available. Our safety record is excellent. However, river running is not without some risk, and you as a potential river runner must be willing to assume some risk.

SNAKE RIVER THROUGH HELLS CANYON BOOKS & MAPS:

Available through the Hughes Company Store.

GRATUITIES:

Gratuities are greatly appreciated and are shared among the crew. Typically tips are 10%-15% of the trip fare.


5-6 Day Snake River – Hells Canyon Trip Details

Click Here if you are taking the 3 or 4 Day Expedition.

Hells Canyon cabinSnake River rafting vacations are a wonderful family trip. In Hells Canyon, the Snake River creates a classic whitewater rafting vacation. Hells Canyon rapids are exciting roller coasters. Fishing is varied and excellent. We stop to inspect abandoned cabins and American native cultural sites.

5 & 6 Day Expedition : (5 Days/4 Nights or 6 Days/5 Nights, 79 River Miles, Hells Canyon Cr. to Heller Bar)

HEADQUARTERS & PRE-TRIP MEETING:

The Frontier Motel, P.O. Box 178, Cambridge, ID. 83610. (208) 257-3851 or www.frontiermotel.net. Meet at the Frontier about 8:00 p.m. the evening before the trip. During the meeting, we will discuss the trip, check out trip gear, and handle any last minute details.

Another lodging option in Cambridge is Cambridge House B&B, P. O. Box 83, Cambridge, ID 83610. 208-257-3555. cambridgebb@ctcweb.net www.thecambridgehouse.net Super B&B.

We recommend that you make reservations at the Frontier Motel or Cambridge House B&B at the same time you reserve spaces on your river trip.

GETTING TO CAMBRIDGE:

If you are driving, you can reach Cambridge, Idaho by taking Highway 95. Cambridge is 100 miles north and west of Boise, via Interstate 84 and Highway 95.

If you will not be driving your own car, you have three transportation options:

Option I: Arrive in Boise and rent a car at the Boise Airport. (Avis, Hertz, National, Budget, etc.)

Option II: Arrange for Boise City Taxi, Scott McCurdy (208)377-3333 or Cell (208)908-8144 to meet you at the Boise Airport and provide van service between Boise Airport and Cambridge, before and after your trip. Cost is $260.00 (2013 rates) for between Boise and Cambridge for either a 7 or 14 passenger van. If you have a full 14 person van, add $50.00 for a luggage trailer.

Option III: Large groups can arrange charter bus transportation between Boise Airport and Cambridge, before and after your trip. Check with Hughes office for cost and details.

THE TRIP:

Hells Canyon RapidMorning the 1st day, we provide bus transportation to put-in at Hells Canyon Creek. The drive is 65 miles to the dam. We leave Cambridge about 8:00 a.m., and arrive at put-in about 10:00 a.m. The Forest Service provides an orientation on low impact camping and rules of the road. We launch about 11:00 a.m.

During early afternoon the last day, take-out is at Heller Bar, WA. We provide bus transportation back to Lewiston, Idaho (34 miles), where we will drop you off at the airport or the Red Lion Hotel, 621 – 21st Street, Lewiston, ID 83501 – 208-799-1000 or 800-232-6730 – www.redlionlewiston.com. Plan to arrive in Lewiston around 3:30 p.m.

The drives into and out of Hells Canyon are spectacular.

LEAVING LEWISTON:

The Lewiston area is serviced by commercial bus and airlines, and has rental car service. Horizon Air (800-547-9308) offers flights from Lewiston to Boise. Check with Horizon Air for timing and frequency of flights. If you need to spend a night in Boise, we recommend the Vista Inn Best Western. 208-336-8100 or 800-727-5006. The Vista Inn provides free limousine service to and from the Boise Airport.

Another option is to fly or drive from Lewiston to Spokane, WA. Spokane has a major regional airport. Driving time is approximately 2 hours.

CAR SHUTTLE:

If you elect to drive to Cambridge before the trip, plan to have your car shuttled to Lewiston to meet you at the end of the trip. Contact Frontier Motel (208-257-3851) to arrange your shuttle. Cost is approximately $200/vehicle + gas. Shuttle cost is not included in the trip price.

FISHING:

Fishing is for rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, and white sturgeon is usually good from early summer through fall. Late summer and early fall fishing is often excellent. An Idaho and/or Oregon fishing license is required depending on which shore you fish from. You can fish from the rafts with either an Idaho or Oregon license.

Hells Canyon CampYou can purchase an Idaho fishing license and tackle in Cambridge before the trip. You can also purchase an Idaho license by contacting the Idaho Fish & Game 800-554-8685, or www.state.ID.US/Fishgame. Cost is $12.75 for the first day, and $6.00/day for each additional day. Juniors (14-17 years of age) can purchase a junior fishing license for $21.75/teen/season.

You can purchase an Oregon fishing license by calling 800-720-ODFW or www.dfw.state.or.us. Cost (2013) is $16.75/one day; $31.50/2 days; $46.26/3 days; $58.00/4 days; $59.75/5-7 days.

We provide fishing rods, tackle and sturgeon fishing gear for the group. Sturgeon fishing is “catch & release”. Serious fishermen “often” bring and “prefer” their own gear.

Snake River raft vacationsSpin Casting is usually the most successful technique. We recommend light weight gear with 6-8 lb. test line. Recommended Lures: Spinners (Blue Fox, Mepps, Rooster Tails, Dare Devils); Crank Baits (Killer B’s, Rattletrap, Fat Wrap, Crawdad, Perch, etc.); 5″ Grub Worms with leadheads (motor oil, pearl, purple, blue, black, etc.)

Fly fishing is also available. We recommend 5-6 weight rods, double taper floating lines & sink tip lines. Recommended Flies: Joe’s Hopper, Dave’s Hopper, Elk Hair Caddis, Wooly Worm, Wooly Bugger, Muddler Minnow, Clouser Minnow, etc. Recommened Bass Poppers: Black/yellow, yellow/red, chartreuse/olive, mouse, etc.

RAFT CONFIGURATION & GROUP SIZE:

Most Snake/Hells Canyon trips number a total of 24 people. (18 guests, 5 crew & 1 camp helper). A typical trip has 1 supply pontoon, 3 oar rafts, 1 paddle raft, and 3 inflatable kayaks (kayaks can be used as solo or tandem boats) -OR- 1 supply pontoon, 2 oar rafts, 2 paddle rafts, and 3 inflatable kayaks. Be sure to let us know the type of craft you prefer.

The Forest Service, Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, limits our total number of rafts & kayaks per trip to a maximum of 8 craft.

Storing and Transporting Luggage That You Do Not Take On the River

You can arrange with Hughes and the Frontier Motel to have non-river luggage transported to meet you at the end of your trip.

WEATHER:

Spring and Fall in Hells Canyon bring warm days, cool nights, and possible thundershowers. Daytime temperatures may range from 55-90 degrees. Summer is very warm. Daytime temperatures may range from 70-105 degrees.

TRIP INSURANCE & RESONSIBILITY:

We encourage the purchase of Trip Cancellation, Accident, and Baggage Insurance Policies. These policies cover cancellation, personal property, and personal injury. Many insurance companies offer such policies.

HUGHES RIVER EXPEDITIONS, Inc. spares nothing to assure that all trips we outfit are the safest and best outfitted expeditions available. Our safety record is excellent. However, river running is not without some risk, and you as a potential river runner must be willing to assume some risk.

SNAKE RIVER THROUGH HELLS CANYON BOOKS & MAPS:

Available through the Hughes Company Store.

GRATUITIES:

Gratuities are greatly appreciated and are shared among the crew. Typically tips are 10%-15% of the trip fare.

Snake River – Hells Canyon Fishing

Hells Canyon steelheadThe Snake River in Hells Canyon is a terrific fishing trip. Both fly fishing and spin casting techniques work well. All skill levels are welcome, from beginners to experts. Families often join a summer trip with the goal of having a child “catch that first fish”. Expert anglers can arrange fishing boats with 2 fishermen/boat & guide service. We are happy to arrange Fishing Charters for groups of anglers.

Hells Canyon fishing is unique. Any cast may bring in a smallmouth bass, rainbow trout, or channel catfish. Remarkably, all these species live in the Snake River along with steelhead (ocean-run rainbow trout), and huge white sturgeon, which can reach 10 feet or more in length.

Snake River in Hells Canyon is renowned for excellent smallmouth bass fishing, and hard fighting rainbow trout. Late September trips provide an opportunity to fish for steelhead. Steelhead return from the Pacific Ocean to complete their life cycles in Snake River tributaries. Snake River “A-Run” steelhead are famous for an acrobatic, hard fight. Steelhead fishermen can plan fall trips on the Scenic River from Pittsburg Landing to Heller Bar with McKenzie Drift Boats.

Sturgeon Video:
CLICK HERE to view footage of 8 ft. White Sturgeon after it has been landed.

On summer whitewater trips, we provide several fishing rods, tackle, and sturgeon fishing gear for the group. Sturgeon fishing is “catch & release”. Serious fishermen should bring their own bass/trout gear in protective tubes. An Idaho and/or Oregon fishing license is required depending on which shore you fish from. You can fish from rafts with either an Idaho or Oregon license.

For everything you ever wanted to know about fishing on the Snake, licensing, tackle, etc. Check out our Fishing PDF.

Fishing Boats
2 fishermen / boat & guide

You can line up a fishing boat for two fishermen on any of our Snake trips. 4 Day Trips offer a better fishing pace.

Snake River Fishing Boat Rates
Two fishermen per boat and guide.  Tackle and gear provided.
3 Days @$1285/person
4 Days@$1695/person
5 Days@$2080/person
6 Days @$2475/person

Fishing Charters
Just your group, 2 fishermen / boat & guide

Charter fishing trips are reserved for your group of 8 or more. There is a gear boatman to run ahead each day to set camp. When you arrive, the camp is organized, and ready for you to move into for the evening.
4 Day Trip (4 Days/3 Nights). Check with our office for details.

Snake River – Hells Canyon Map

Snake River / Hells Canyon Map

Snake River – Hells Canyon Testimonials

Hells Canyon Rapid“Well, the Hughes crew did it again! Our Hells Canyon trip was fabulous with great weather, wonderful food (abundant and fabulous), excellent company and best of all, the fishing! Bill caught an enormous sturgeon thanks to the patient and experienced guidance of Mike. Needless to say, we all celebrated the catch! As on our previous HRE trip, we reveled in the relaxation that comes from being unplugged and so appreciate your fine team of Joel, Aaron, Robbie and Mike, the fish whisperer.”
S. Myers, Boise, ID (2013)

“We had such a great time! Thanks for making such wonderful memories for us. It was definitely a ‘bucket list’ item, and we want to do it again.”
D. & D. Neglay, Albany, OR (2013)

“This is to thank your river crew for the wonderful trip down the Snake River August 10-13. Chris and I had so much fun.”
M. Humphreys, Sebastopol, CA (2013)

“We LOVED the trip!”
C. Cremins, Easton, CT (2013)

“I want to thank you and Carole again for the great trip. Kathy and I could not have had a better time. Everything about it was AAA+…..The friendship, stories, and laughter are already a treasured memory. Thanks again to you and your talented crew for all the hard work in putting it together.”
D. & K. Moyer, Boise, ID (2013)

“Thanks for all your work to arrange the float for our Nyssa Scout Troops – outstanding! The boys participated in a once in a lifetime experience. Thanks to everyone at Hughes.”
M. Richards, Nyssa, OR (2013)

“What a TRIP! What a PLACE! What a CREW!”
M. Otis, South Dartmouth, MA (2012)

“I want to thank you and your guides for a great trip… it’s the best vacation I have ever been on and I’ll surely be back for another one… Tony and the crew did a superb job and I wanted to let you know how pleased we were with the trip…. Please pass my thanks to all.”
J. Nuttall, Fairfax, VA (2012)

“I do have several complaints – “We want more”, “we miss Jerry”, and “can’t we go again soon?” I’ll handle them as best I can. Many, many thanks.”
C. Ellis, New Haven, CT (2012)

“It was a great trip, your guides were first class! Thanks for a great experience and we will make sure to let our friends and family know all about it!”
D. Schellenberg, Abottsford, BC (2012)

Hells Canyon group“Wow. Words cannot describe my gratitude for all you and your amazing guides did to make our raft trip so terrific!…….. From helping my boys learn to bait a fishhook, to guiding me in the kayak on the river for my first time, to the scrumptious meals and the buoyant conversation, every detail was perfect and enthusiastically, helpfully delivered!….Please let every guide – and Carole – know how grateful we are for all you did.”
C. Gray, Lake Oswego, OR (2012)

“I wanted to write to compliment you on your company, your employees, and how you do business in general. Simply put, I had the time of my life with my friends on our trip down the Snake this past weekend. And while part of what was amazing about it was the scenery, the wonders of nature, a lot of the true magic came from your team and the way you’ve put the trip together. Buzz, Aaron, and Robby were consummate professionals – yet were a blast to hang out with (and kick ass cooks to boot). Every day of the trip was unique, and relaxing in its own way. It is obvious that you take great pains to find and retain good people – as well as to train them in delivering a service that feels like you’re traveling with friends and family, not hired guides. Any of your competitors could have shown us the wonders of Hells Canyon – but it was how you showed it to us that made it a once-in-a-lifetime memorable trip. Please extend my regards to the boys – they should be commended on how hard they work, and how easy they make it look. And for you, I wish nothing but continued success, fulfillment, and happiness in your business.”
B. Glenn, New York, NY (2012)

“We are sending our heartfelt thanks to you and your fantastic team….for guiding us down the Snake River… For our family, your group could not have been better! Thank you for having so many fabulous people working with you – we were treated with kindness and caring every minute. We felt completely comfortable in a setting that was very rugged, and we enjoyed everything about our trip…. We are looking forward to coming back next summer… Thank you for being our leaders on a life changing adventure, we will never forget our Snake River Rafting Trip!”
E. Hicks, Dover, MA (2012)

“The trip down the Snake was the best family vacation we’ve ever had… We went into the trip with no expectations having never done anything like this before and were left completely transformed. … We are now in love with Idaho, her rivers and mountains, and your wonderful guides. ALL your guides were awesome: JC, Matt, Ben, and Liz. …. Most important to my husband and me, they were not only patient with our boys, but engaged them, talked to them, played with them and instructed them on the ways of the river…. Henry, 8 years old, loved it so much that he buried his head in my stomach and started to cry when we got to the end at Pittsburg Landing … heartbroken that our time on the river had come to an end…. Andrew, 11 years old, said that being on the river made him feel calm and was better than playing X-box (music to a parent’s ears…). It was a confidence builder and essential experience for him. … For me, I cannot think of Idaho and the Snake without welling up and feeling homesick. I will forever recall rising very early to the smell of fresh coffee brewing and seeing JC sitting quietly legs crossed, gazing up at the mountains and sipping his morning coffee. Whenever I feel stressed, I remember the calm he imparted … then I take a deep breath and relax… (W)e are already started planning to return next summer and raft the Salmon River! …. My words cannot really impart the depth of our appreciation but I hope I’ve given you an idea of how much we loved it!”
L. Blackburn, Needham, MA (2012)

“You have pulled me once again into the magic of the rivers. I am very glad I took my family on that trip with you. All of you guys were wonderful to us. I will never forget it.”
J. Travers, Carpinteria, CA (2011)

Sheep Creek Hells Canyon“We had a great adventure on the river with your outfit!! We have fond memories of the trip and especially appreciate your river guides. They were great. Please tell them thanks again from us. Josh’s anniversary cake was the finishing touch on a great adventure. We will hopefully be making future trips with your company. Thanks so much for a great anniversary.”
J. Uda, Boise, ID. (2011)

“It was a great weekend. Thank you and your staff for everything…. See you again next year”.
E. Casper, Los Angeles, CA (2011)

“Trip was really great. Highlight of the summer. Thanks so much….We will do it again…”
J. and L. Boone, Oakley, CA (2011)

“My whole family LOVED the Snake River trip. I did not want to leave the river. Those who could not come are really sad to have missed it. There is a strong chance we may try for the Middle Fork in a couple of years… You and your crew were outstanding. We thank you all, and continue to reminisce about the rapids, the green room, the unbelievable meals, cocktail hour music, filling water jugs from the spring…”
K. Clotfelter, San Diego, CA (2011)

“We just want to let you know we had a fabulous time on the float trip… We couldn’t have asked for better guides or weather. My children had a blast and we made memories that will last a lifetime. Tell your guides thank you from all of the Wilson’s!”
Tina Wilson, Wilsonville, OR (2011)

“Awesome trip with my daughters…guides were great, weather was great, fellow guests were fun, hope to join you on the Middle Fork in the future.”
J. Watson, Puyallup, WA (2011)

“Thanks very much for your recent letter and update on how your excellent July 5-10 Snake River crew is doing these days…. Thanks again for such an excellent trip and a truly fabulous crew; we’ve been on many a trip but none as exciting as the Snake with, hands down, the best meals we have ever had. You run an excellent operation and it was a pleasure to travel with you.”
John Jengo. Dowington, PA (2010)

“Thank you so much for the wonderful time we had on the river in Hells Canyon.”
The Cassidy’s, Twin Falls, ID (2010)

“Best trip ever!! I’m handing your name to my local travel agent.”
C. Swartzloff, Woodstock, IL. Snake River Jazz Trip (2010)

“Just a quick note to thank you and your staff for a wonderful JAZZ trip experience this year! The guides were proficient, entertaining, and always on the lookout for our safety. Hope to see the gang next year! ”
D. Adams, Walla Walla Snake River Jazz Trip (2010)

“Had a blast Jerry. Your crew on the Hells Canyon did a great job.”
B. Fitterer, Mandeville, LA (2010)

“Recently, I took the trip on the Snake River in Hells Canyon that you coordinated. I had to write to tell you that it was absolutely fabulous and just what the doctor ordered!! … I can’t imagine a better experience having been a first time camper. Feeling a little bit out of place amongst the seasoned campers in my group, you provided all the necessary elements to make my introduction an experience I would like to repeat. …Special kudos to your team of guides. They were all amazing! Besides being skilled, knowledgeable and loads of fun, they each brought their own unique quality which made the trip special…..Thanks again for such a great experience and I have already forwarded your information along to some friends and family telling them they have to take the trip….Thanks again for letting us play in your backyard.”
P. Garrison and W. Hoffman-Garrison, Pomona, NY (2010)

“My buddies… and I had a fantastic six day trip down the Snake with Ben, Art, Robbie and Marshall. They were wonderful guides and all aspects of the trip were incredible. ….We will be back! Yes, that is a threat….. Thanks again for a GREAT trip!”
J. Campbell, Livermore, CA (2010)

“A quick note to thank you for a magnificent trip on the Snake River. My boys and I really enjoyed our experience and we were so well looked after by John and David. They are fine guys and made us feel so welcome. We hope to come back sometime soon and take a trip with you on the Middle Fork, but for now we’re enjoying our memories of a great trip”.
T. Wales, United Kingdom (2009)

“I just want to express my deepest thanks for the most WONDERFUL river trip vacation ever! Matt and John were the best guides I could ever imagine. They deserve extra applause for all their hard work that made our trip so excellent. They were both simply amazing – kind, courteous, helpful, dependable, efficient, … and absolutely fantastic cooks! They treated Rosey and me like royalty. I was so grateful that they handled everything with such competency. We were completely relaxed and totally pampered. Please relay to them our gratitude! And, thanks to you for your river trip company and these special trips you provide”.
M. Wall, Novato, CA (2009)

“Just had to send a note to let you know what a wonderful experience we had on our Hells Canyon adventure. In addition to great weather and incredible daily food feasts, the company was terrific! You are wonderful folks and we felt really special to have the opportunity to get to know everyone. We were always busy with new challenges and it was fun to watch the unending energy of Tony and Matt. Spending an afternoon and evening at Sheep Creek was awesome! We have lots of great memories and look forward to getting your schedule for next season. Thanks again”.
B. Freeland, Edwardsville, IL (2009)

“Belated thanks for our wonderful river adventure in early August. It was really hard for us to leave the river”!
J. Brown, Chapel Hill, NC (2009)

“Mark and I want to say thanks for an amazing trip on the Snake in early June. Everything was better than we could have imagined, and it was difficult to leave the river behind and go home. (Our guides) Aaron, Marshall & Matt were truly terrific…(W)e are looking forward to a trip on the Middle Fork with our children next summer. Thanks again for a wonderful vacation”!
M. Thompson, San Antonio, TX (2009)

“I just wanted to write a quick note of thanks for such a wonderful vacation! We floated the Snake last week. It was so much fun. We also wanted to let you know what great guides we had. They made the trip even more fun. They were great with my kids, wonderful cooks, and full of history and stories about Hells Canyon. We felt very safe with them…Thank you again, we loved the trip and hope to come again”.
M. Blatner, Seattle, WA (2009)

“I just wanted to thank you and tell you what a FANTASTIC trip we had. It was wonderful. Eric, Mark and Ben were terrific. We have had some awesome vacations and this is certainly ranked near the top! Thanks again for making it a terrific, unforgettable experience. I wish I were on the river right now”.
S. Dean, Boca Raton, FL (2009)

“Thanks for a LOVELY Hells Canyon trip! This was our kids’ first experience, and they both enjoyed the guides, great weather, fishing, hikes and camping. We’ll be back”!
J. & L. Giles, Bryan, TX (2009)

“We are back in Indiana, and I wanted to send you a thank you note…Great food, great fun, and a group of guys that made sure we had a great time. Please let them know we appreciate all of their efforts. Thanks again Jerry, it was a great trip”.
T. Modrowski, St. John, IN (2008)

“We wanted to contact you to let you know how much of a great trip we had on the Snake River…Definitely one of the top family trips we have had. The crew was wonderful and took great care of us!…They were great and made the adventure fun for all of us from our 8 year old to my dad who turned 82 on the river. We had a perfect celebration for him and he definitely credits that birthday as one of his best! The canyon was beautiful. Camping was very comfortable. Food and provisions were delicious. We felt pampered! A great time for our family, adventure, nature, laughs, great stories and great quality “together” time. We were so sad when it had to end. Thanks so much!!!! We will do it again”.
The Dixon Clan, Stowe, VT (2008)

“Thanks for another great trip. Great river, great food, great outfitter, great crew and great fun. …Thanks again for the wonderful Hells Canyon adventure”.
J. Rothenberg, Los Angeles, CA (2008)

“I just wanted to take the time and let you all know what a great time my dad and I had on the trip we took in Hells Canyon the 5th through the 7th. Everyone was great and the food was incredible… We had a great group with us which also added to the experience. Because of this and the remarkable crew you employ, I’m planning on another one next year..Bravo to you Jerry! You have a great company. Kim was a lot of help…and your son Colin is a great kid as well..Thank you so much!”
R. Hamilton, Sparks, NV (2008)

“Great trip…The river was wonderful and we all had a great time. The crew was terrific…I am talking to the people to see if they want to do something special next year. Thanks for everything”.
R. Cohen, Philadelphia, PA (2008)

“Just a quick note to reiterate my gratitude to each of you for making the trip through Hells Canyon a wonderful experience for William and me. To be honest, I was not sure what to expect, but you all did a great job to make the trip interesting, fun and memorable. Thank you for your effort, enthusiasm and professionalism”.
D. MacFarlane, Greenwich, CT (2007)

“..Your crew did a splendid job – efficient knowledgable and with good humor…When this idea occurred to me, my wife (who thinks camping is a hotel and roughing it is a motel) thought I had hatched some diabolical plot…she was very nervous .. She had the best time she could have possibly had – thanks to you folks. The food was the best, the river beautiful, the accommodations were second to none and the Canyon was starkly magnificient. Our son tried everything, including helping to reel in the large white sturgeon (5-6 feet), the oar boat, the paddle boat and the kayaks….He thought this (trip) was the highlight of the entire three weeks we spent in the northwest…Keep up the good work”. (2007)
G. Nimmo, Warren, NJ

“..I have been meaning to write and tell you what a great trip it was – largely due to the incredible organization, food, and guides….From the first, I felt I was in good hands with your group. Everything seemed very organized and well thought-out…(K)udos for the great meals. My 19 and 20 year old sons were never hungry, which is a real accomplishment! I’m already dreaming of the Middle Fork of the Salmon”.
M. Siemon, Seattle, WA (2006)

“Thank you for a wonderful trip down the Snake. You guys did a terrific job and the whole family had a great and memorable time. I’m looking forward to more!”
S. Maritz, Fenton, MO (2006)

“The girls said the Snake River trip was the best vacation we have ever had. I think the reason your trips are so fun is becuse of the great people at Hughes River Expeditions”.
P. Jones, Westlake, CA (2006)

“…for many of the passengers, this was their first introduction to the west; its beauty, climate, food and people. Your guides were competent, charming and fun. Each of them made the trip special in their own way…They worked well as a team and made us all very comfortable and we enjoyed the trip immensely”.
G. Florescu, Paris, France (2006)

“Many thanks for a wonderful experience. The Snake is fabulous with a beauty and serenity without comparison”.
J. Tarr, Soquel, CA (2005)

“Memories that will last a lifetime in just five wonderful days!”
L. Kaufman, Nevada City, CA (2005)

“Five star experience. Memories forever”.
J. Prucha, Grass Valley, CA (2005)

“I just wanted to tell you how much fun we had on our recent trip with you on the Snake River. Thank you so much. Our guides …were all terrific… We hope to run the river with you again one day”.
L. Wagner, Redondo Beach, CA (2005)

“A vote of thanks and congratulations on a wonderfully orchestrated raft trip down the Snake River for our group. Everybody was able to do the level of activity that they wanted. My wife and I were the contrast of activity as she was very content to ride on an oar raft, and I wanted to have the active paddle rafting and kayaking experience. Jerry, you have a great guide crew. All of them know how to take care of their clients so well. Special thanks to Ashley, John, Mark, Ryan, and Eric. You have instilled the rafting “bug” in me, and I hope to get back on the river again with you in the near future”.
D. Kirkpatrick, Denver, CO (2004)

“Had a great time. The crew was wonderful with the kids, …”
A. Aulie, Redmond, OR (2004)

“A note of thanks. My wife and I have been on many river trips here in Idaho and you are the only company we would consider to float with on our next trip. Your sense of organization is superb, every aspect of our 3 day 2 night trip down Hells Canyon was put together with fun and relaxation in mind. Your crew are very professional and mingled with the rest of us in a very comfortable way, by the end of the trip we felt as though they were family. Something that sets you apart from the other companies is that you respect the environment. Each camp we made, noon or night, was kept exceptionally clean. When we broke camp to float, everything was cleaner than we found it”.
R. & S. Carpenter, Boise, ID (2003)

“Many, many thanks for a terrific Hells Canyon trip – Elizabeth and I thoroughly enjoyed it, and especially doing it with all of you. Your hospitality, professionalism, and fun-loving attitude hasn’t changed in 22 years. I enjoyed this trip every bit as much as the ones in 1978, and probably more… Again, tributes to all – you’re a great group of individuals and even better collectively as a company”.
W. Gray, Vice President, Books, National Geographic Society, Washington, DC (2000)

“I just want to take this time to express our appreciation with our raft trip experience in Hells Canyon. I’ve rafted many rivers throughout North America and have found Hughes River Expeditions to be the most professional by far of any other outfitters I’ve taken. At the end of our three-day trip, we expressed that we wished that we didn’t have to get off the river. The river and the surrounding countryside was worth the trip alone (we had close up views of black bear, Rocky Mountain Big Horn sheep, bats, and mule deer)…. (T)he best part of our trip was the guides! Their patience and good nature was overwhelming to everyone on the trip. I want to say thanks for the surprise anniversary cake baked in Dutch ovens on our last night in camp…I know that in the future when I talk about rafting in Idaho, Hughes River Expeditions will be the first and only outfitters I will recommend”.
D. Zaro, Chicago, IL (2000)

“Not many days go by that I don’t think of the Snake River and Hells Canyon. The help we received in preparing for the trip, the comraderie with everyone on our trip, expert guidance down the river, THE FOOD!, and just the spectacular river and canyon – you provide an absolutely terrific experience. We’ll do it again! Can’t tell you exactly how many times I’ve given people your web site, but it has been often”.
T. Roberts, Unionville, CT (1999)

“Just a brief note to tell you what a wonderful time our family had on the Snake two weeks ago…. Hughes is a first-class organization. I will recommend it highly to all my friends”.
S. Small, President, Taylor Investments, Concord, NH (1999)

“Hats off to HRE! Our 8/18 trip down the Snake was a blast; we can’t remember when we’ve had so much fun!..I wanted to let you know how impressed by the overall quality of the operation and that we look forward to signing up for a Salmon Middle Fork trip sometime in the future. Thanks for a truly memorable experience for both grownups and kids”.
B. Kirkpatrick, Chatham, NJ (1998)

“Your outfit put together a vacation that far exceeded any expectations we had. I don’t think anyone has quit talking yet about how wonderful the entire trip was… Hughes River Expeditions, Inc. has won our business! We will gladly recommend your outfit to friends and associates looking for a fun filled and exciting vacation”.
LASCO, Dallas, TX (1997)

“We have just returned home to New York City with great memories of our exciting and wonderful trip down the Snake River. As you can tell, the adults and children all had a fabulous time on this excursion. In fact, my 13-year old daughter Jaime surprised me (what teenager likes to travel with parents?) by saying, “This is the best vacation I have ever had”.
Robt. W. Johnson, IV, NYC, NY (1995)

“I am writing to tell you that our family had a wonderful time on our recent Hells Canyon raft trip… The kids are insisting (and this may not be hard to agree to!) that a Middle Fork trip is a basic necessity for existence for next summer. Michelle also wants to know when she can start swamping”?
L. Bowen, Morganton, NC (1994)

“Without doubt this was the most wonderful vacation and adventure that I have ever enjoyed. Barring the breathtaking scenery and thrilling Snake River with attending wildlife, our guide crew made the trip totally memorable. What an experience (one that I’ll never forget) and wish to repeat a.s.a.p.”.
D. Buckley, Tucson, AZ (1993)

“Thanks for the great picture. My ‘fish story’ is now authenticated! We had a great time on the Snake. Thanks again”.
Charles F. Knight, Chairman & CEO, Emerson Electric Co., St. Louis, MO (1989)

“I … meant to write you last year to tell you how much Tony and I enjoyed our rafting adventure with Hughes through Hells Canyon. It was everything promised and much more. ‘DeLuxe’ is the term that comes to mind to best describe it….Let me close by saying that to remember their names, I made the name association of Moe, Larry, and Curly with (our guides) Mel, Larry, and Jimbo, and they were really funny, especially Jimbo when he kept telling stories of giant sturgeons in this comparatively narrow, fast moving river. We laughed and laughed until he hooked, and let one of our party land, a 98 inch couple of hundred pound specimen which when it first hit came up from the bottom and straight into the air like a polaris submarine missile and then smacked down with a slap that echoed through the Canyon. I love to tell that story to fishermen back here in the Midwest, because they never believe it…. Then, I show them the pictures. Ha! Best Wishes”.
S. Pogue, Cincinnati, OH (1989)

“Wanted to let you know that we had a fantastic time on the Snake River…! The water was spectacular, along with the fishing and the scenery. The grandeur of the mountains was complimented by the level of service and the professionalism of the guides. You should be proud that your guides provide better service and food than we often experience at major hotels as we travel across the country. Looking forward to doing it again”.
R. Winnie, Springfield, MO (1987)