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When is the best time to take a Multi-Day River trip in Hells Canyon on the Snake River?

Anytime you can get out on the river is always the answer.  Our Snake River / Hells Canyon river trips start in May, ending in late September.  Throughout the summer we have a variety of 3, 4, and 5-day trips that offer something for everyone from the seasoned rafter to the first timer looking for a new adventure.

On a Hells Canyon Raft river trip, we provide you the opportunity to spend quality time with your family members.  We take care of all the details like before and after logistics, setting up tents, providing amazing river cuisine, and top of the line equipment.  The memories you make during a trip on the Snake River in Hells Canyon will be remembered as the trip of a lifetime for years to come.

One of the huge benefits we have in Hells Canyon is that the river is Dam controlled. This may seem a bit bizarre saying that a huge river controlled by a dam has a benefit. Constant flows throughout the summer and a slower release of the spring run-off makes for a more predictable river trip through Hells Canyon.

Typical spring and early summer river flows on the Snake River are higher because of snow melt and run off. There are many factors that play a role in how high the river will be. The largest factor is how much snow the Snake River basin receives during the winter. This is a huge drainage that starts close to Yellowstone National Park, travels across Southern Idaho, turns north and forms Hells Canyon, meets up with the Salmon River and ends at its confluence with the Columbia River in Washington State. Usually we see higher river flows in Hells Canyon starting in early May and continuing through early June. If you are looking for the possibility of rafting huge whitewater this is a great time to go.  During this time, we offer a 4-day, 81-mile trip that covers the entire Hells Canyon section.

By the second week in June the Snake River is starting its normal flows. Which means it is prime time for the rafting season. Most of our Hells Canyon river trips are 3 or 5 days.  The water temperature is close to 70 degrees, and the whitewater is at its best.  This is a perfect time for family rafting, and the start of summer.

A 3-day river trip covers the upper 34 miles of Hells Canyon. This section holds most of the larger class III and class IV rapids. Luxury camping awaits along grassy benches and beaches.  Sleep out and count shooting stars with your kids as you fall off to sleep.  Check out ancient pictographs left by dwellers possibly 7000 years ago. You will visit old homesteads and learn about the settlers that called Hells Canyon home.  Several families moved into Hells Canyon during the depression and lived had a great self-sufficient lifestyle.  One of the best accounts of this is a book by Grace Jordan called “Home Below Hells Canyon.”  Her husband Len Jordan was the Governor of Idaho, and a US Senator.  The trip ends at Pittsburg Landing on the Idaho side of Hells Canyon.  Transportation back to our meeting point is provided.  This 34-mile section can also be a 4-day trip with a leisurely pace.  More time for hiking, lots of fishing, hanging out on a beach, and relaxing.  More “River Time” is always good.

A 5-day trip continues past the 34-mile take out at Pittsburg Landing to Heller Bar, which is close to Lewiston Idaho.  This trip allows you to immerse yourself in Hells Canyon.  Some say the spirit of Snake River is flowing through you after this trip.  After a brief stop to let off the 3-day passengers and resupply with fresh food, drinks, and ice we continue down into some of the most beautiful parts of the canyon.  We pass by the spot where the Nez Pearce Indians were forced to cross the river onto their new reservation in the Lapwai Valley of Idaho.  By the fourth night we are camped at the confluence of two of the Northwest’s greatest rivers, the Snake River of Hells Canyon and the Salmon River of no Return.  The fifth day brings us to our take out.  After a short ride you arrive in Lewiston, Idaho.

Hells Canyon Fishing… is always fantastic!  We provide everything for you to catch the big one.

September trips are some of our favorites. The colors are changing, the nights are a little crisper, but the water is still warm and the rapids amazing. After the second week in September HCR can launch a trip any day you wish. This allows us to offer a small group charter trip where you can have the trip all to yourselves.

Whichever length or time of year you choose you won’t go wrong. Traveling on water– River Time — is some of the most valuable time a human can have.