Hells Canyon Raft is proud to share the news that USA Today has honored the McCall, Idaho outfitter in its 2023 10Best Reader’s Choice contest for Best Whitewater Rafting Tours in the United States!
Twenty finalists were nominated by industry experts, but it was up to the public to vote for their favorites and rank the winners. The experts said they were drawn to HCR’s appreciation for every aspect of the river experience and for the history of the beautiful areas where they offer tours.
“This Idaho-based raft company believes every turn of the river has a story to tell, and their Hells Canyon rafting trips are “journeys through a land rich in myth and geologic wonder,” reports USA Today.
Over the course of four weeks, members of the public were allowed to register one vote per day. Grass roots support pushed Hells Canyon Raft up to 10th place overall, sharing the honors with an elite list of rafting companies in the Mountain West and East Coast.
“The nature of this contest makes this award a tremendous honor,” says HCR owner Heidi Armacost. “Above all, we want to thank all of our supporters who participated in the voting. For a family-owned company like Hells Canyon Raft to beat out much larger operations is truly heart-warming. It tells us that our attention to detail and ability to cater to our guests’ needs continues to set us apart.”
Heidi owns and operates the company alongside her husband, Kurt, and it has been in the Armacost family for four decades. Kurt’s father, Gary, purchased the operation and the permit in 1983. Kurt started rowing a gear boat for his dad’s outfit when he was just 14 years old. His father and the other seasoned guides taught Kurt as much about the history and lore of the Snake and Salmon River Canyons as they did about how to safely run a river trip and properly take care of the guests. By the age of 17, Kurt was leading trips on his own and from there, he never looked back. In 1996 Kurt and Heidi purchased the company back and have been lovingly operating it for the past 27 years. Learn more about the Armacost Family History.
“When we say this company and this business are in our blood, we mean it quite literally,” says Kurt. “This is the only way of life we know, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Now, Kurt and Heidi are passing their passion for river life on to their two daughters as they continue to guide their guests toward profound experiences and lifelong memories.
“We do it because we love it and we want to share what we love,” says Heidi. “But it does feel amazing to have our supporters turn out to help us earn this incredible honor.”