Frequently Asked Questions

General Info

We do recommend purchasing trip insurance. We have several different companies that we use. Give us a call if you are interested.

THERE ARE NO MOSQUITOES, or other annoying bighting bugs. We are outside so there are still some bugs, just not the type you need to worry about.

Cell phones will not work. HCR brings a satellite telephone on all trips for emergencies only. There are companies that rent satellite telephones by the week. If you decide to bring a personal satellite phone it should be used away from camp and with discretion towards the other guests.

Please plan to leave expensive jewelry and watches at home. If you have a car it is okay to leave things behind locked in the trunk. It is a good idea to have ID and a major credit card with you in the event of an emergency evacuation due to injury. This very seldom happens, but we want you to be prepared. You may also want to have cash or checks for guide gratuities at the end of the trip.

Gratuities for guides are greatly appreciated and at your discretion, as a gesture for their professionalism and service. Usually the gratuity is given to the trip leader and later divided equally amongst the crew. A suggested per-person guideline is around 5-10% of the total trip price.

We will provide you with a complete packing list before the trip.

Most days it is suitable to wear shorts, t-shirts, hats and sunglasses with plenty of sunscreen. While floating, we provide top of the line comfortable PFD’s to wear. It is nice to have a long sleeved shirt with a high collar to protect your neck, and pants just in-case you want to cover up.

In camp you can change into dry clothing that is comfortable to you. The guides always “dress” for dinner. You are welcome to bring Hawaiian shirts, or skirts and join in.

Rapids should be respected, not feared. That’s why we offer different styles of craft. Throughout the trip you are invited to choose your level of activity, and try all the different boats. Secure handholds, life jackets, and plenty of advance preparation ensure a fun experience. All boats are self-bailing, which means you never touch a bail bucket, unless it’s for a water fight.

Oar Boat

Oar Rafts

The most stable and comfortable place to kick back, relax and fish. Take pictures and enjoy the scenery, 16′-18′ in length, controlled by your guide, with two large oars. All you need to do is hold on.

Paddle Boats

Paddle BoatParticipate in the action; teamwork and fun are key elements of paddle rafting. Each person is armed with a paddle in hand, and coached by the guide, who helps to navigate the rapids.

Inflatable Kayaks

Inflatable KayakEven with no prior experience, our one or two person watercraft will allow you to enjoy the thrill of river kayaking within minutes of putting on your life jacket. There are sections of the river that are difficult for the more experienced, and easy stretches for the more timid, or kids. When you are ready, return back to an oar boat, stretch out in the sun and relax.

Supply Boat

Each day our supply boat packs up the camp gear, river bags, and extra ice chests and moves down the river ahead of us. This allows for uncluttered guest boats, and longer days on the river. At the end of the day when you arrive in camp, your tent is pitched, and the camp is ready to move into for the evening.

Everything we bring to the river, we must take with us. Using daily-sanitized portable toilets, we carry out all human waste. The toilet tent and hand wash system are set up each day in a secluded location that assures privacy. Call us, perhaps we may “relieve” your concerns.

Yes, we provide each guest with a large and a small water-tight bag. The large bag is for your extra cloths and camp items. The small bag is carried with you on the boats for easy access to sun screen, camera, etc. We can also supply hard sided waterproof boxes for expensive cameras, and camcorders.

Breakfast – Signature favorites like sourdough pancakes, eggs benedict, or fresh pan-fried trout. Thick cut bacon, with farm fresh eggs, fruit, and coffee will keep your energy level up for the day.

Lunch – A nice midday stop along the riverbank features deli sandwiches, fresh fruit, homemade cookies, chips, and drinks.

Appetizer – Before dinner enjoy tasty treats such as baked brie with red grapes, Norwegian Jarlsberg with crustinis, and dry aged salami, or smoked oysters crackers and aged cheddar.

Dinner – We like to start with whole foods, and combine them in a sumptuous healthy way. Will tonight be thick cut rib eyes, or fresh Alaskan salmon? Sauteed veggies, fresh baked breads and save room for our famous Dutch oven deserts like pineapple upside down cake.

We provide drinks at all times. While on the raft we have cold water, lemonade, sodas, and fruit juices. At camp there is a selection of tea, coffee, cocoa, and drink mixers. We do provide a limited amount of cold beer and dinner wine. You are welcome to bring your own alcoholic beverages. We always have plenty of room and ice to keep them cold.

If you’ve never run a river or camped outdoors before you are like many of our guests. Relax. This is safari style camping at its best. Large 4-man tents are set for 1 or 2 guest, thick self inflating pads, freshly laundered sleeping bags, camp chairs, and dinning tables make your outdoor experience easy and comfortable. The best part is you won’t lift a finger unless you want to. We set up and take down everything, even the tents.

You won’t find better trained, willing, and capable staff than we have here at HCR. The guides who work with us are true river professionals with an average age of 30 years old. We don’t think of this as a job, but more a lifestyle. We maintain a guide to guest ratio of 1 to 3 or 4, on all multi-day trips. You will be well taken care of. They will captivate you with their knowledge of River Lore, comfortably transport you through some of the largest whitewater in the Northwest, and act as minstrels, gourmet chefs, and fishing guides, In other words we will not just act as caretakers, but facilitate your experience, making your adventure all that you want it to be. See our guides page.

We design our trips to be comfortable and accessible to most everyone, regardless of experience. We have taken people as young as 5 and as old as 90. People come from all over the world. We get a mix of singles, families, couples, and friends. Generally kids should be 5 years old for the Salmon and 7 for the Snake. Adults should be in good shape. Some have never been on a river trip or camping. Others are experienced campers. As a rule anyone who likes to have fun and relax will love a river trip.

HCR (Hells Canyon Raft) is not your typical river company. With over 25 years experience, we constantly set the high water mark for river trips in the west. With our attention to detail, highly trained guides, top of the line equipment, you can expect the trip of a lifetime here’s why:

  • Your safety is our #1 goal. We carry a satellite emergency telephone on all trips.
  • Top of the line equipment, we are constantly upgrading, and buying new equipment especially life jackets which are thoroughly cleaned after each trip, and replaced often.
  • We love to show you how to fish, and provide all equipment. There is always a guide ready and willing to keep the kid’s lines untangled and in the water.
  • Our gear boat travels ahead each day to set up a luxurious river camp. When you arrive at camp, your spacious tents are setup, the bags are packed up, hors d’oeuvres are set out, dinning tables and chairs are ready for dinner, our amazing river kitchen is ready, and you can settle into camp for the evening.
  • Our river fare is one of a kind, you can expect sumptuous plentiful meals artfully prepared with whole foods, in our river side kitchen. Baked brie, thick rib-eye steaks, fresh marinated Alaskan Salmon, medallions of pork tenderloins with a berry sauce, Deserts baked in our Dutch ovens; pineapple upside-down cake, cobblers with berries you helped to pick that day, or a double chocolate cake drizzled with chocolate sauce and topped with raspberries, and fresh mint.
  • Choose from a variety of river craft, oar boats, paddle boats, or inflatable kayaks
  • Kurt and Heidi oversee all aspects of your trip from the first phone call, planning activities before and after the trip, and possibly rowing you down the river.
  • Guide to Guest Ratio of at least 1 guide per 3 or 4 guests
  • You will have privacy when you need it, and camaraderie when you want
  • All personal equipment is included, tents, sleeping pads, and sleeping bags
  • We even do the dishes… 

Salmon River Canyons

The Salmon River Canyons is considered a class III river. The Salmon River is a large volume pool and drop type river.

We recommend the following:
Lower Salmon River Guide

The fishing is great. Mostly we catch small mouth bass, and trout. We also fish for the the white sturgeon which can reach up to 10 feet long.

We provide all the gear and tackle. You must provide an Idaho fishing license. You can easily buy a 3-6 day license the evening before the trip. A three day Idaho license runs about $20.

Starting in mid-June through late August daytime temperatures range between the 80′s to high 90′s; at night cooling down into the 60′s and 70′s.

The Salmon River is a desert climate and rarely receives rain during the summer months. We can experience a quick, thunderstorm once and awhile. There is nothing like hearing the thunder rolling through the canyon.

This trip earned its name because of the 4 distinct “Canyons” that we float through, thus “Salmon River Canyon’s”

A 5-day trip will take you 73 miles down river through Green, Snowhole, Cougar, and Blue Canyon

A 4-day trip puts in just below Green Canyon and travels 62 miles.

Snake River through Hells Canyon

The Snake River is considered a class III/IV river.  The Snake River is a large volume pool and drop type river.

We recommend the following:

Snake River of Hells Canyon Carrey, Conley, & Barton Islands & Rapids “A Geologic Story of Hells Canyon”, Vallier. The Hells Canyon River Map Lower Salmon River Guide Home Below Hells Canyon, Jordan

The fishing is great. Mostly we catch small mouth bass, and trout. We also fish for the the white sturgeon which can reach up to 10 feet long. We provide all the gear and tackle. You must provide either an Idaho or Oregon fishing license. You can easily buy a 3-6 day license the evening before the trip. A three day Idaho license runs about $20.

The Snake River in Hells Canyon is a dam controlled river. Which makes for excellent flows year round. May and June can have higher water due to the Spring run-off. This allows us to do the entire 81 miles.

Spring and Fall day-time temperatures range from 65 – 90; night time temperatures can get into the 50′s. Starting in mid-June through late August daytime temperatures range between the 80′s to high 90′s; at night cooling down into the 60′s and 70′s.

Hells Canyon is a desert climate and rarely receives rain during the summer months. We can experience a quick, thunderstorm once and awhile. There is nothing like hearing the thunder rolling through the canyon.

First Light - Wake to the smell of good coffee, enjoy some solitude, and listen to the birds start the day. Fresh fruit and yogurt, available. Early risers can grab a quick bite, go for a short hike, or fish.

The rising sun gently warms the canyon.

Mid morning – Pack up your gear. The guides come around to take down your tents. Get ready for some whitewater, fishing, and kayaking.

The Gear Boat leaves for the next camp.

We shove off and the adventure begins. Choose between an oar boat, paddle boat, or kayak depending on your thrill and skill level.

Take a short hike to some pictographs and an ancient camp site, or explore an abandoned Homestead.

Maybe fish a little while the guides prepare lunch, or lounge in the sun.

Shove off for more world class whitewater, spectacular scenery and adventure.

Time to catch a sturgeon.

Camp – When you arrive camp is all set… Relax and get comfortable… Take a short hike or catch some fish. Team-up for a game of horseshoes, or just relax, with an ice cold drink.

Evenings – Relax around the fire, or kick back and watch the multitude of stars appear. Relive the experiences of the day. Take time to have a game of cards with your family. Drift off to sleep with the sound of the river’s lullaby serenading your dreams of tomorrow’s adventures.

Our most popular trips are either 3, 4 or 5 days. Although ask anyone who has been with us before and they will all say it is never long enough. All trips begin in Cambridge, Idaho, where we include hotel accommodations and meet you the night before we launch. Once we leave the launch site there are only two points where a road meets the river and we can take out. The first is Pittsburg Landing which is 32 miles downstream. All three-day trips take our here, as well as 4-day trips during July, August, and September.

The second take out point is Hellar Bar, which is 79 mile from the launch. All 5 and 6 day trips plus 4-day trips during May and June take out here. During May and June the river flow is higher and faster which allows us to do the entire 79 miles in 4 days. Call us, We will help you decide which trip is best for you.