Hughes River Expeditions
Snake River - Hells Canyon Rafting Vacations
Snake River - Hells Canyon
Snake 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.
Rafting 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:
The Snake River was featured in Sunset Magazine's Top 10 Rafting Trips.
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.
© 2013 Hughes River Expeditions