» General Shuttle Logistics
Put in: Hells Canyon Cr.
Take Out: Pittsburg Landing or Heller Bar
Shuttle Length: 175 to 300 mi.
To reach the put-in, drive to Cambridge, north of the town of Weiser on U.S. 95. Take State Highway 71 north to Hells Canyon Dam.
There are two possible take-outs. The first is at Pittsburgh Landing, 35 miles from the put-in. To reach Pittsburgh Landing, drive north from Riggins on U.S. 95 for about 28 miles. Take the signed turn for Pittsburg Landing (about ½ mile south of White Bird), and cross the river. Follow the road up and over the divide to Pittsburgh Landing.
The second possible take-out is at Heller Bar. To reach Heller Bar, drive to Lewiston, cross the Snake to Clarkston, Wash., then drive south on State Highway 129 to Asotin, Wash. At the southern end of Asotin, there is a blinking light where the highway bears right. Leave the highway and continue along the river to Heller Bar.
Additional Information: For a mile-by-mile description of running Hells Canyon, see John Garren's Idaho River Tours.
*for private parties
The world famous Snake River is an Idaho treasure and an icon of the western United States. The Snake flows south to north through Hells Canyon along the Idaho-Oregon border. Hells Canyon consists of some of the most rugged, wild lands on earth. The staggering 8,000 foot drop from He Devil Mountain, in Idaho's Seven Devils range, to the Snake River creates North America's deepest river gorge.
The "Wild & Scenic" Snake River is renown for big waves and powerful whitewater - including the famous Wild Sheep, Granite, Waterspout, and Rush Creek rapids. Between rapids there is time to relax and study a magnificent canyon. Warm water and weather make for perfect swimming opportunities on hot summer afternoons.
Fishing is varied and excellent. Smallmouth bass and rainbow trout make up most of the catch, with catfish and fall steelhead rounding out the selection. Imagine hooking a fish twice your height! Hells Canyon boasts healthy numbers of North America's largest freshwater fish, the white sturgeon, a nearly prehistoric life form. Sturgeon fishing is "catch & release".
Hells Canyon harbors all the climatic zones of North America, and is a bird watcher's heaven with songbirds of every description, and many species of owls, hawks, eagles, falcons, waterfowl, and upland game birds. Bring your binoculars and keep an eye open for elk, mule deer, Rocky Mountain big horn sheep, mountain goat, black bear, cougar, coyote, and more.
The area contains a wealth of archaeological sites. Pit house villages and rock shelters are scattered throughout the canyon. Native Americans etched petroglyphs into rock faces, and painted pictographs. Outftters and guides lead hikes to fascinating abandoned pioneer cabins, mines, and Native American historic sites. Extended hikes to places like Suicide Point, and Carter's Mansion are additional trip highlights. At river mile 26.5 you can visit the Kirkwood Historic Ranch where the Forest Service has preserved displays of canyon life in the 1930's along with prehistoric artifacts.
A rafting trip on the wild and scenic Snake River is inside the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area and Hells Canyon Wilderness. The 652,488 acre recreation area was created by an act of Congress in 1975, and includes portions of Nez Perce, Payette, and Wallowa-Whitman national forests. The Hells Canyon Wilderness comprises nearly 215,000 acres within the HCNRA. The spectacular Canyon rims are made of Oregon's Wallowa Mountains, and Idaho's Seven Devils range. The wild and scenic Snake River covers 70 river miles from Hells Canyon Creek to Cache Creek.