Rafting Through Hells Canyon on the Snake River

Hells CanyonRafting through Hells Canyon along the Oregon-Idaho border

8,000 feet below the rim, the Snake River flows through the deepest canyon in North America – Hells Canyon – and is one of the easier permits to pull. It holds a Wild and Scenic River designation, with the “wild” section of the river running from Hells Canyon Dam to Pittsburg Landing and the “scenic” portion from Pittsburg to Dug Bar.  Huge hydraulics, class III – IV rapids, and high-desert canyon scenery keeps Hells Canyon full of rafters during the permit season. The float usually takes 3-4 days and the dam provides consistent flows. The only downside to this river is that both motorized and non-motorized travel is allowed, and anyone who has battled with jet boats in whitewater knows how much they suck. They are the worst. A great link up for those looking for a few more days on the water is hopping on the Lower Salmon River via shuttle from Pittsburg Landing. The Lower Salmon is a non-permitted class III float (with one solid class IV) featuring enormous white sand beaches to camp on, a few sweet canyons, and plenty of excitement for another 5-7 days. This run ends at Heller Bar, 20 miles downstream from the confluence of the Salmon and Snake River.

Permits for the Snake are controlled through a lottery. For more info check out our Permit Lottery for Rafting Western Rivers 2017 Guide.

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