208-347-3862

Hells Canyon of the Snake River

5 Days | 81 miles


Experience 5 Days of Whitewater Rafting in the Deepest Canyon in North America!

 

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS:

• Class II, III, and IV whitewater rafting

• Luxury beach camping with delicious river meals

• Extraordinary scenery and wildlife viewing

• Optional hiking and kayaking

• Exceptional smallmouth bass and sturgeon fishing

• Located on the state line between Idaho and Oregon

• Appropriate for ages 7 and up

208-347-3862

Trip Overview

Everything is BIG in Hells Canyon. Big whitewater, big mountains and big adventure! Rising nearly 8,000 feet from the bottom of the Snake River to the peak of the Seven Devils Mountains, Hells Canyon is North America’s deepest canyon.

Our Hells Canyon Whitewater Adventure offers breathtaking views of towering canyon walls, vast meadows of wildflowers, glimpses of wildlife and some of the best Whitewater North America has to offer. Between rapids, we’ll spend time exploring the long and colorful history of the canyon and uncover traces of past inhabitants from historic cabins and homesteads to ancient pictographs. Class III & IV rapids highlight our float through stunning scenery. Throughout the day, fishermen will have the chance to catch trout, small-mouth bass and sturgeon. During evenings, there’s plenty of time to relax and get back to a slower way of life. Take the opportunity to swim, hike, fish, play beach games or simply relax in our riverside camp.

Present-day adventurers can discover traces left behind by Indigenous People dating up to 10,000 years ago: Ancient Native burial mounds, rock petroglyphs, pictographs, and rock shelters. Around the turn of the 19th century, pioneers entered Hells Canyon looking to find their fortune in mining precious metals leaving behind evidence of their work. Homesteaders soon followed to settle along the river, where many successfully weathered the Great Depression. A select few of these cabins remain and allow visitors a glimpse into how life was. The canyon is rich in history and adventure.

Difficulty Rating:

The Snake River through Hells Canyon is rated Class III-IV whitewater. It is a large volume river with drop-pool style rapids, meaning a rapid is followed by a large pool of calm water. The river consists of mostly Class III rapids with a few Class IV’s. Many of these rapids are described as roller-coaster waves creating a fun and enjoyable ride appropriate for most physical abilities, including children ages 7 and up. Many of the boat landings are rocky and require walking on uneven terrain. Once at camp, the terrain is usually open and forgiving. Hikes are optional and usually easy to moderate difficulty.

Take a look at the types of boats to choose from on this trip.

Typical Itinerary

Evening before Departure: Enjoy a stay in the Cambridge, ID area and we will meet for a pre-trip meeting, provide dry bags for packing and answer any questions.

Day 1: Prepare for an early morning departure. After a scenic drive along several reservoirs, we arrive at Hells Canyon Dam and prepare to begin our river adventure. Our first day starts off with a bang with several Class II-III rapids. The trout fishing is exceptional during the first day in the swifter moving water. Lunch will be served riverside, usually with a short optional hike and leisure time. After lunch, we’ll reach the Class IV rapids and take a short hike to scout the water.  Arriving at camp in the afternoon, your tents will be ready and waiting. Feel free to spend the evening relaxing in camp, fishing, swimming, hiking and playing beach games. Each night a delicious gourmet meal will be prepared from our river kitchen: appetizers, delicious entrées, fresh baked Dutch Oven breads and decadent desserts.

Days 2-4: After sleeping under the stars, coffee will be brewing and breakfast will soon follow. Bags will be packed and boats will be boarded. Phenomenal whitewater follows with calm swimming pools, great fishing holes, rich history, tasty food, and fun. This is when the magic of a river trip happens: no clocks, no cell phones, no computers; just you, the group and your beautiful surroundings. The evening will be similar to the previous night at a camp further down river.

Last Day: We arrive at the take-out in the early afternoon and head back to civilization. You can plan on arriving back to Cambridge around 7:00 pm.  If you have any time constrictions, please let us know when you book the trip and we can adjust accordingly.

Note for booking departing flights after the trip: There’s a lot of travel time on the last day. We do not recommend flying out on the final day of a river trip. Please call us with questions about appropriate flight times and airport choices: 208-347-3862.

What to Bring Summer Rafting

Hells Canyon is usually hot and dry in the summer. Average highs are in the 90’s with some weeks exceeding 100F. The nights usually cool off with average lows in 60’s to 70’s. Bathing suits, quick dry shorts/pants, and long/short sleeve shirts are recommended for the day. Although cotton is not usually recommended on most river trips, it is appropriate and cooling during the hot days. A light rain jacket is useful for the off chance of rain or splashy rapids, especially in the early mornings or late afternoons. Protection from the sun is highly recommended. Sun hats, sun glasses, sunscreen, and long and light layers are excellent.  While in the raft or kayak you should wear sturdy shoes that will stay on your feet and should be comfortable when wet. There are many appropriate varieties of boat shoes: Teva’s, Chaco’s, Keen’s, Aqua Socks, or even old tennis shoes (although they will get wet and stay wet for the whole trip) are a few options. Flip flops are not appropriate in the boats. Packing another pair of shoes specifically for camp is highly recommended. These could be flip flops, sneakers, hiking shoes/boots or galoshes. Pick shoes that will be comfortable and match your level of activity. A separate outfit for camp is also advisable.

Check out our packing list for more details!

Spring and Fall Rafting (April, May, June, September, October)

If you have chosen to join us for a Spring or Fall trip during cooler weather, please pay particular attention to the packing list for those seasons. Air and water temperatures are cooler and the chance of rain is slightly higher. Packing appropriate clothing leads to a warm and enjoyable trip. We hope to never use the cooler weather gear, but it’s very important to have. If the weather and water temperatures call for wet suits, ARC will provide them. We offer a “farmer John” style wet suit (one piece, long pants, sleeveless and a front zipper). As always, if you have any questions about how to pack or what to wear, give us a call at 208-347-3862.

How to Pack

A large waterproof overnight bag is supplied per guest for clothing, sleeping gear, toiletries, etc. It can easily fit one sleeping bag and the contents of a good-sized duffle bag. This bag will be packed away during the day and should contain only items that you will need at camp. A smaller waterproof day bag will also be provided and will stay with you on the boat. It is accessible throughout the day and can contain items such as sunscreen, a warm fleece or rain jacket, chap-stick, and/or a camera. If packed and sealed correctly, your bags will stay dry under most conditions. ARC guides will help to ensure that they are sealed properly. In order to protect important items (such as cameras, medications, etc.), it is a good idea to pack them in zip-lock bags inside your dry bag. If you are planning on bringing an expensive camera, please let us know and we should be able to provide a waterproof box that will be accessible throughout the trip. Call the office for more information about properly storing and packing important items. We are happy to help.

Dates & Rates 2018

5 Day Hells Canyon

Adult 12 & Under
May 24

$1475

$1327

June 1

$1475

$1327

June 9

$1475

$1327

June 17

$1475

$1327

June 25

$1475

$1327

July 3

$1475

$1327

July 11

$1475

$1327

July 19

$1475

$1327

July 27

$1475

$1327

August 4

$1475

$1327

August 12

$1475

$1327

August 20

$1475

$1327

August 28

$1475

$1327

Sept. 5

$1475

$1327

 

Fishing 

The Snake River offers excellent fishing opportunities.  You’ll be able to fish from the boats throughout the day, from the bank during lunch, and in the evenings at camp. Hells Canyon runs on the border between Idaho and Oregon. You will need to obtain either a valid Idaho fishing license and/or Oregon fishing license. Either license will allow you to fish from the boat. If you would like to fish from the shore at camp, we usually camp on the Oregon side and would recommend an Oregon license.

Fly fishing recommended gear: 

  • 5-6 weight fly rod
  • 5-6 weight floating line with medium to fast sinking tip. Bass flies: varies
  • Try purple, green and white poppers. Streamer patterns.
  • Trout flies: Caddis patterns, midges.

Spinning Gear recommended:

  • Average sized trout rod with light tackle, or ultralight rod
  • 2-4 pound test line
  • Lures: Spinners, meps, spoons, jigs

Recommended Reading List:

  • Indian Creek Chronicles Pete Fromm
  • River Tales of Idaho Darcy Williams
  • Water-The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource Marq De Villiers
  • Roadside Geology of Idaho David Alt
  • Myths of Idaho Indians Deward Walker Jr.

Snake River:

  • Standing Up To The Rock T. Louise Freeman-Toole
  • Home Below Hells Canyon Grace Jordan
  • The Sterling Years Bonnie Sterling
  • Snake River of Hells Canyon Johnny Carrey, Cort Conley, Ace Barton
  • Island and Rapids: The Geologic Story of Hells Canyon Trace Vallier

Fishing:

  • Steelhead Water Bob Arnold
  • Mist on the River: An Angler’s Quest for Steelhead Michael Checcio


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