One of the unique things about Hells Canyon Raft trips is your ability to try out all of the different types of boats we offer. Whether you’re on a Salmon River rafting trip or a Snake River trip through Hells Canyon, you’ll have the opportunity to experience oar boats, paddle boats, inflatable kayaks and possibly even stand-up paddleboards
On HCR trips, you aren’t required to choose just one type of boat for the entire trip – and then be stuck with it! You can switch up which boat you ride in throughout the trip, or even on the same day. Want to relax in the morning and take in the scenery? Jump on the oar boat. After lunch, you may be ready for more action. Grab a paddle and help your guide get the raft downstream on the paddle boat. You can even try out your own inflatable kayak in the sections of river you feel comfortable.
Here’s a little more about the types of boats you’ll experience on HCR’s guided whitewater rafting trips
An oar boat has a frame in the center of the boat where the guide sits. Two large oars are operated by the guide. Guests ride in the front or back sections of the boat
An oar boat allows you to relax, chat, soak in the scenery, or take photos. You can also try your hand at fishing the river from the boat during the calm river sections. We provide the fishing gear and the expertise while you have the fun. In the whitewater sections, all you need to do is hold on as your guide does the work and you enjoy the exciting ride!
On a paddle raft, the guests sit toward the front of the boat and paddle while the guide sits in the back of the boat and uses two large oars. This allows the guests to help power and steer the boat but the guide still maintains control.
A paddle raft allows you to get in on the action. No experience necessary, though! Your guide will teach you how to paddle correctly and how to respond to his or her commands. You’ll paddle together to help get the raft where it needs to go. Working as a team to get through the rapids will leave you grinning and wanting more! This is a more interactive way to experience the river.
An inflatable kayak is a smaller boat that holds one to two people. You’ll use a long, double-bladed paddle to steer the boat. An IK allows you to feel the waves and riffles more than a raft, so even minor whitewater is a ton of fun!
You’ll have control of your own destiny on the river! These boats are more forgiving than a hard kayak or canoe and allow even inexperienced paddlers to hop in and start making their way downstream with ease. With an inflatable kayak, you’ll get down on river level and feel the life of the water in a new way. There are calm stretches of water for beginner paddlers, while thrill-seekers can try their hand at more advanced whitewater. On a Hells Canyon rafting trip down the Salmon River or the Snake River, you can jump into an IK for a short bit, get your fill of paddling, and then hop back onto a raft.
Stand Up Paddleboards
A stand up paddleboard (SUP) is a large, surfboard-shaped inflatable board that you kneel on or stand up. You’ll steer it with a long paddle as you navigate down the river.
Try the latest craze in river life! Stand up paddleboards are everywhere now, from lakes to rivers. It’s a fun and low-risk challenge to try your balance and your bravery cruising down the river on a board. Due to river restrictions, we can’t always take SUPs on all of our trips. But if we have them along, you’ll get a chance to try them out on the more mellow sections of the river or in the calm eddies while at camp.
Don’t forget the Gear Boat!
A separate raft takes most of our camping gear, food, kitchen and personal gear down river for us. The boat goes ahead to make camp and sets up before we get there.
Having a separate gear boat means that the boats you ride on won’t be crowded or laden with gear that gets in the way of the best quality experience. It also means more time for river fun, hiking or fishing since you won’t spend your day loading and unloading gear on your family rafting vacation. Sending a gear boat down river first allows us to have camp ready and waiting for you when you arrive. The kitchen is set up for us to cook you another delicious meal. Your tent is up and your camp chair is in place for you to enjoy the sounds and sights of the river floating by with a cold drink in hand.
A guided whitewater rafting trip with Hells Canyon Raft is the perfect family vacation. Come unplug from your busy life and reconnect with what’s important. With options to meet everyone’s expectations – from the timid to the hearty adventurer – your experience will provide a lifetime of memories.