HELL, HIKE AND RAFT
Backpack through the Seven Devils Mountains to a whitewater rafting trip in Hells Canyon
Class II, III, and IV whitewater rafting
Delicious restaurant-quality meals and comfortable camping on riverside beaches
Incredible views of the Idaho scenery and wildlife
Optional hiking and kayaking excursions
Great fishing–catch smallmouth bass, trout and sturgeon
Great adventure for ages 16+
Located on the Idaho and Oregon border on the Snake River
What to Pack
The Northwest has few mountain ranges that compare to the Seven Devils.
The incredible scenery and a huge variety of trails of The Seven Devils Mountains extend along the Idaho/Oregon border. Bordered by the Snake River to the West and the Salmon River to the East, they span roughly 40 miles running south to north. The Seven Devils are Idaho’s most spectacular mountain range, with elevations varying from 1,000 feet at the Snake River to 9,393 feet at the highest peak. The tallest mountains in the range boast such names as The Orge, The Goblin, and He Devil.
Mid-July though September are the best months for hiking. Snow generally restricts passage making it inaccessible the rest of the year.
There are many side hikes to enjoy such as Dry Diggins Look Out (an old Forest Service Tower above Hells Canyon that looks out over hundreds of miles of Oregon and Washington), Rapid River, Goat Pass, Sheep Creek and The Old Boise trail just to name a few. This range is incredibly rich with history; let ARC lead the way and show you the best backpacking Idaho has to offer.
America’s Rafting Company is taking the back out of Seven Devils Backpacking by offering our customers the “pack-light option.” This allows you to take just the basics and explore the mountains while your tent, extra clothes, sleeping bag & sleeping pad await you at the next designated camp site aside one of the many crystal blue lakes. Did we mention dinner? That’s right, not only are your tents set up, but you’ll also have a gourmet dinner prepared for you as you stroll into camp. In the morning, a hearty breakfast is served, and you’ll be on your way. Another perk hiking with a rafting company is that you don’t have to go back the same way you came. Instead, we will take a path less traveled down into Hells Canyon, the deepest canyon in America, where we will spend the next 2-3 days whitewater rafting down the mighty Snake River.
Of course, we offer traditional backpacking which gives you the thrill and satisfaction of being completely self-reliant, seeing places that you couldn’t otherwise see, and offering a great means of travel. Combine that with whitewater rafting on a Snake River trip, or just take a jet boat ride out of Hells Canyon. Now you have the making of a unique once in a lifetime adventure!
Seven Devils Backpacking is rated CHALLENGING. It involves some uneven terrain and steep rocky slopes, but for the most part the trail is well maintained. The most difficult sections are taken with as much time and attention as necessary. If part or your party is uncomfortable with challenging hikes, they can skip the hike and float into Hells Canyon on rafts and meet you at the end of your hike!
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. This section 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 boat landings are rocky and require walking varied distances on uneven terrain. Once at camp, the terrain is usually open and forgiving. All hiking is optional and easy to moderate difficulty.
Trips start and end in Cambridge, ID
Day 1: After and early departure, we’ll arrive at Windy Saddle, the starting point of our hiking adventure. Each day we will face challenging hikes with huge rewards and amazing views. We typically arrive at our lakeside camp around 4:00 or 5:00 where you can swim, fish, have a drink, read a book or just relax and unwind after a spectacular day on the mountain.
A Typical Day On the Mountain: After sleeping under an incredible Idaho starlit sky, you’ll wake in the morning to the enticing aroma of gourmet coffee. After a delicious hot breakfast, we are back on the trail to experience, learn, explore and enjoy. These days have the same flow as Day 1, stocked with awesome terrain, pristine lakes, interesting history, great food, and great fun. On our last day of hiking, we spend the night camping on banks of the Snake River.
Our First River Day: Starts off with a bang; as we reach the first of major Class IV’s – Granite creek Rapids. We’ll scout the rapid before running it, after that we will have several Class II & III rapids as we drift downstream to camp, arriving in the late afternoon. The camp is already set up, which means your only job is to enjoy the surroundings. You can relax, swim, fish or play bocce ball. A fine dinner is prepared in our gourmet river kitchen with fresh bread, great entrées and topped off with a decedent dessert.
A Typical River Day: Is loaded with Idaho’s famous whitewater, calm swimming pools, interesting history, wonderful food, and plenty of fun. Soon enough, you will start slipping into what we call “river time”. No clocks, no cell phones, no computers, just you and all the time in the world. There are many optional hikes on the river offering spectacular views of the canyon and river below.
Last day: We typically arrive back to civilization at 2:00pm, where we quickly load our boats and head back to the Civilization.
Note for booking departing flights after the trip: There’s a lot of travel time from the river on the last day. We do not recommend flying out on the final day of a river trip. Please call or email us with questions about appropriate flight times and airport choices: 208-347-3862.
Are you gluten-free, vegetarian or have other food needs? Let us know when you book and we’ll be sure to pack delicious food that’s right for you!
- Freshly baked muffins and scones
- Yogurt and homemade granola
- Coffee, tea, and hot cocoa
- Chicken Salad Sandwiches on croissants
- Mediterranean Orzo Salad with feta, black olives and lemon vinaigrette
- Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Idaho Peaches
- Appetizer: Spinach Artichoke Dip with Toasted Baguette
- Main: Grilled BBQ chicken, rice pilaf, grilled onions, pineapple and peppers, Sesame Coleslaw, Blue Cornbread
- Dessert: Strawberry and Peach Shortcake with Whipped Cream
- Fresh Biscuits and Sausage Gravy
- Eggs to Order
- Idaho Cantaloupe
- Yogurt and Granola
- Coffee, tea, and hot cocoa
- Chicken and Bacon Sandwiches with housemade honey mustard
- Sweet Pickled Jalapenos
- Roasted Sweet Potato Lentil Salad
- Local Fruit
- Lemon Crinkle Cookies
- Appetizer: Baked Brie with crackers and grapes
- Main: Grilled Tri Tip, Asparagus, Couscous, Candied Walnut, Apples Gorgonzola Salad with Poppyseed Dressing, Irish Soda Bread
- Dessert: S’mores Bars
- Banana Bread French Toast
- Scrambled Eggs
- Farm fresh Melon
- Yogurt and Granola
- Coffee, tea, and hot cocoa
- Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps
- Italian Herbed Potato Salad
- Peanut Butter Cookies
- Appetizer: Pepper Jelly & Cream Cheese with crackers, Pimento Cheese & Pretzel Rods
- Main: Grilled Honey Dijon Pork Tenderloin, Apple Sauce, Baked Potato Casserole, Glazed Carrots, Watermelon Salad with arugula, feta and orange shallot vinaigrette, Rosemary Beer Bread
- Dessert: Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Whipped Cream
- Huevos Rancheros with homemade salsa verde
- Eggs to order
- Potato Hash
- Man Bacon
- Fruit Salad
- Yogurt and Granola
- Coffee, tea, and hot cocoa
- Deli Sandwiches
- Southwest Quinoa Salad with grilled corn, black beans and sweet pickled jalapenos
- White Chocolate Chip and Hazelnut Cookies
WHAT TO PACK
How to Pack
The best way to pack for this Hell, Hike and Rafting Trip is to plan for each activity to have a separate bag. You’ll backpack in with your hiking clothing and meet up with the rafts packed with a heavier bag of rafting clothing.
Included in the trip are 2 large overnight dry-bags and a smaller day dry-bag per person given out during the pre-trip meeting the night before the trip:
1st large dry-bag comes packed with your sleeping bag, pillow, and fitted sheet. It will be able to fit the contents of a good-sized duffle bag. Small duffle bags or backpacks can fit right into the dry-bag and large sized bags may need to be repacked directly into the dry-bag. This large dry-bag will be packed away during the day and should contain only items that you will need at camp.
2nd large dry-bag is to keep your backpaking gear dry through the rafting portion of the trip.
The smaller dry-bag is used to hold everything you’ll want during the day: extra clothes, sunscreen, chapstick, etc. This bag will stay you all day.
If the dry-bags are packed and sealed correctly they will stay dry under most conditions, but they are not guaranteed to be completely waterproof. In order to protect important items such as cameras, medications, etc., they should be packed in dry-bags or boxes inside of the dry-bags. Less valuable items like books, playing cards, etc. can be placed in zip-lock bags inside your dry-bag to keep excess moisture out.
If planning on bringing a nice camera, there are dry boxes available to borrow for the trip.
The Seven Devils Mountains can be cool, even in the middle of summer. We recommend packing layers. The elevations changes rapidly throughout the hike and the temperature changes just as quickly.
You’ll need to bring a backpack, personal clothing/gear, hiking boots, and a sleeping bag. ARC provides tents, and all cooking equipment. If you do not have a backpacking backpack or a sleeping bag, we may be able to provide you with one.
It is highly reccomended to hike in quality hiking boots with ankle support that have been broken in.
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). 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 set of clothes for camp is also advisable solely for comfort.
View the full packing list for more details.
Fishing Hells Canyon
The Snake River offers excellent fishing opportunities for beginners to experts: fish from the boats throughout the day, from the banks during lunch, and in the evenings at camp.
Since Hells Canyon runs on the border between Idaho and Oregon, either an Idaho fishing license and/or Oregon fishing license is needed. Either license will allow you to fish from the boat but if you’d like to fish from the shore at camp, and Oregon fishing licence is reccomended (camps are usually located on the Oregon side of the Snake River).
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
Fishing gear can be provided for you! Let us know you have an interest and a license, and we’ll pack the right gear.
Books about Hells Canyon
- 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.
- Home Below Hells Canyon Grace Jordan
- Standing Up To The Rock T. Louise Freeman-Toole
- 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
- Steelhead Water Bob Arnold
- Mist on the River: An Angler’s Quest for Steelhead Michael Chec
5 Day Hell, Hike and Raft Trip
6 Day Hell, Hike and Raft Trip
7 Day Hell, Hike and Raft Trip
- Backpacking tents, and all backpacking kitchen and cooking gear
- All rafting gear: PFD’s (life jackets), dry bags to pack in, rafts, etc.
- Rafting camping gear: roomy tents, cushy sleeping pads, freshly laundered sleeping bags, pillows, and fitted sheets
- Shuttle to & from the river from Cambridge, ID (and safe place to park while on the trip)
- Professional knowledgeable guides
- Delicious from scratch meals from breakfast on the first morning to lunch on the last day. We take care or everything: all cooking, cleaning & dishes!
- Sodas, beverages, local selection of craft beers, table wines and nightly specialty cocktails
- Fishing gear: Hells Canyon has especially good fishing that both kids and adults enjoy. Bring your own fishing gear if you’d like or use ours!
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED?
- Backpacking backpack and sleeping bag
- Transportation to and from Cambridge, ID from the airport, Boise, etc
- Hotels the night before and after the trip
- Dinner on the last night
- Gratuity for guides
- Any personal vehicle shuttling (not required but convenient)
BOOK YOUR TRIP
A 30% deposit will hold your spot on this Hells Canyon Rafting Trip. The remainder of the trip price is due 30 days before your trip.
RATHER TALK TO A HUMAN THAN BOOK ONLINE?
If flying Boise, ID is the best airport to fly into and out of
- The best travel days are full day before and after the trip. Rivers are wild and it’s best to give it some wiggle room
- Cambridge, ID is 1 hour and 45 minutes from the Boise Airport. There are 2 recommended travel options to get to Cambridge: rent a car at the Boise Airport or ask us about the All-Inclusive Packages which include airport transportation, hotels, and meals before and after you trip.
- It’s best to stay in Cambridge, ID the night before the trip.
- After the trip, it’s best to stay in Cambridge for the night or not travel more than a few hours away.
- Driving to a different destination after your rafting trip? It may be easiest to have your car shuttled to the end of the trip. Give us a call if interested in scheduling a shuttle for your vehicle.
OTHER IDAHO WHITEWATER RAFTING TRIPS:
4 DAY SALMON RIVER RAFTING
5 OR 6 DAY HELLS CANYON RAFTING
Yoga Rafting Retreat
Hells Canyon | Snake River