Hell's Canyon RaftingSnake River

WHY WE LOVE RAFTING HELL'S CANYON

Highlights

Hell's Canyon rafting trips are well-rounded and exciting due to the whitewater rapids, scenic hikes, ever-changing landscape, and abundant wildlife. Early season is best for those that want to experience the Snake River when it is running high. Later in the summer it becomes the ideal multi-generational trip for kids, parents, and grandparents. The large beaches, fishing and ideal swimming temperature water has something for everyone. Hells Canyon trips offer exceptional hiking, swimming, fishing and wildlife viewing. Inflatable kayaks are a popular way to increase the level of thrill in the whitewater.

Hell's Canyon Rafting

Hell's Canyon Rafting trips straddle the border of Idaho and Oregon. Here the Snake River is framed by mountains with golden grass, pine forests, and snow-capped peaks. The canyon is home to eagles, mountain goats and Native American legends. A three-day trip will cover 34 miles, running some of the biggest rapids in the Pacific-Northwest, including Granite Creek and Wild Sheep. A five to six-day trip floats 82 miles of the river offering more time for explore

This section of the Snake River is controlled by Hells Canyon Dam, so there are excellent rafting water levels year-round, but the highest water is typically in June and September. The river has some exciting Class III and IV rapids, punctuated by calm sections that are great for fishing. Water temperatures are usually around 60°F in June and September and 70°F in July and August.

In the spring and fall, the daytime temperatures are usually between 65°F – 85°F and most nights cool down to 45°F – 50°F. It’s warmer in late June through late August with daytime temperatures between 85°F – 95°F, dropping to 65°F – 70°F at night. It rarely rains in Hells Canyon, but sometimes you may witness a dramatic thundershower.

This trip offers a variety of activities outside of the rafting and camping. There are hikes to dramatic view points, fishing, and opportunities to try inflatable kayaking. 

Packing for your trip

You will be provided with a suggested packing list after signing up for the trip. The key equipment is good river footwear, clothing to protect you from the rain and for the sun. While rain rarely falls in the summer. If it does , proper rain gear will make it a much more joyful experience. Here is some rain gear, footwear and other clothing we recommend.

Pre-trip Meeting

Trips tyically have a meeting the evening before the launch date in Cambridge, Idaho to answer last night questions and pass out drybags so everyone can pack their gear for the next day.

Launch Day

Depending on which outfitter and trip you choose, your trip will begin in either Lewiston or Cambridge, Idaho. Transportation is provided by the outfitter to the river via a short scenic flight to Halfway, Oregon or by a shuttle bus to the Hells Canyon Dam put-in.

Take-Out Day

Depending on which outfitter and trip you choose, your trip will end at either Pittsburg Landing (3-Day) or Heller Bar (5 or 6-Day) with transportation via bus to Whitebird or Lewiston, Idaho.

Price Includes

Most outfitters will provide all the camping and river related safety equipment, along with plenty of fresh food, non-alcoholic beverages and snacks. However there are some outfitters that will ask you to supply your own camping and sleep gear. Typically these outfitters will also have an option to rent a camp/sleep kit for an additional cost. Transportation to the put-in point and take-out point from/to your start city is included.

Adventure Specialists

We’ve been connecting our clients to water adventures around the world since 1987. We partner with select outfitters who share our values and are pros at creating exceptional experiences. There is no fee for our service; we earn our commission from the outfitters we represent, and the cost of your expedition is the same as booking direct.

General Itinerary

Hells Canyon multi-day rafting trips have loose itineraries. While on the river expect to wake up to a call that coffeee is ready. After breakfast everyone packs up their gear. In the morning there will usually be floating, running a couple rapids and maybe doing a little hike expect before pulling over for lunch. Expect more of the same in the afternoon until arriving at camp for the night. After the rafts are unloaded everyone decides where they will set up for the evening and then it's time for relaxing, appetizers, and then dinner.

Making the most of your trip

We find people have the most fun when they are flexible. Rafting trips are an adventure and the guides are continually adjusting the days plans to adjust to make the most of the day as it is presented. It can be nice to leave your watch behind.

Weather

In the spring and fall, the daytime temperatures are usually between 65°F – 85°F and most nights cool down to 45°F – 50°F. It’s warmer in late June through late August with daytime temperatures between 85°F – 95°F, dropping to 65°F – 70°F at night. It rarely rains in Hells Canyon, but sometimes you may witness a dramatic thundershower.

Boats & Group Size

Your outfitter will use three different kinds of river craft. The traditional raft is a 17-foot self-bailing, oar-powered raft, which a guide controls with two large oars. They may also offer smaller 14-foot self-bailing paddle rafts that allow four to six people to paddle while a guide steers and calls out commands. On some stretches of river, your outfitter can add inflatable kayaks to the mix, making for an exciting float.

Camp Life

Whether you’re an experienced camper or it’s your first time under the stars, our outfitters are specialists in facilitating an enjoyable and relaxing camping experience. Most outfitters provide a full sleep kit with a tent, sleeping bag, and inflated sleeping pad. Some outfitters will request that you bring your own sleep kit and camp equipment, or will have a package that you can rent for an additional cost. Everyone participates in setting up and breaking down camp. A clean, private camp toilet is set up first thing upon arrival at camp and it is the last thing to be dismantled the next morning.

Meals

All meals are provided from the first day lunch through the last day lunch. There will be plenty of food. A full, hearty breakfast with cowboy coffee gets the day going. A riverside picnic sets the scene for lunch where you create your own sandwich. Dinners can be anything from a New York steak, grilled filet of salmon, or a Mexican feast followed by a hot, Dutch oven dessert. There are plenty of snacks and beverages offered throughout the day. Alcoholic beverages are not included, but you are welcome to bring your own. Please contact us when signing-up for the trip regarding any special dietary requirements to insure adjustments can be made to meet individual needs.

Length: 3 – 6 days
Price: $990 – $1,565 per person
Season: May – September
Min. Age: 7 years during Low Water Levels; 12 years during High Water Levels
Activity: Whitewater Rafting
Adventure Level: Strong

  • I cannot tell you how impressed I was with the Rivers & Oceans’ staff, their organizational skills, knowledge and simply being just nice people. Once I decided to go with them every detail of the adventure was planned, organized and implemented without a hitch.

    Steve G.

  • Absolutely wonderful. Rivers and Oceans is operated by people who truly care about your trip and have the personal experience to help you make the best choice. Now go see for yourself and let Rivers and Oceans lead you towards the adventure of a lifetime.

    Owen S.

  • The folks at Rivers and Oceans are great. Helped us find and book a trip and patiently answered many questions over the weeks preceding the trip. Thank you.

    Greg W.

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