One of America's greatest rivers has played host to ROW Adventures' guests for decades. If you have not experienced rafting the Snake River, its white water rapids, incredible hikes, and history, the country's deepest river canyon with the world's greatest guides... you should not wait any longer!
Hells Canyon straddles the borders of Idaho and Oregon and is the deepest river gorge in North America. According to Nez Perce tribal legend, the mythical figure "coyote" dug Hells Canyon with a big stick to protect the tribe's ancestors in the Blue Mountains of Oregon from the "Seven Devils" across the gorge in Idaho.
Our Snake River Rafting adventures through Hells Canyon are journeys through a land rich in myth and geologic wonder. Running south to north, the Snake River cuts through some of the most rugged, spectacular landscapes on earth. Boulders and rock slides have rolled into the river to create the biggest white water rafting rapids in the Pacific Northwest. High-crested waves and paddle-swallowing holes drench us in white water excitement.
When you go to Hells Canyon with ROW Adventures, we send a cargo boat ahead to set up a comfortable wilderness camp. Instead of spending time setting up your own tent, you can be hiking, fishing, or otherwise relaxing. Our meals are superlative, made with the finest fresh ingredients and prepared by our talented staff.
Between the Snake River whitewater, there's plenty of time to kick back and marvel at the snow-capped peaks that tower more than a mile above. Mountainsides are covered in golden grass and pine forest and we commonly see soaring eagles, ambling bears, or wild mountain goats.
Honoring Native People and Lands
Recognizing the significance of our travels through the Indigenous territory, we would like to recognize the communities whose lands we visit. It is our hope, in doing so, to honor their legacies, their lives, and their descendants. To learn more about territory acknowledgment and specific information about the Native communities of this region, please visit our Territory Acknowledgement page.
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See full itinerary and trip details here
Travel from your home to Cambridge, Idaho and meet ROW’s Team Leader at the Frontier Motel at 8:00 PM Mountain Standard Time (MST) for a one-hour orientation meeting to answer last-minute questions. You'll also receive your waterproof gear bags. Dinner on your own.
Wild Sheep and Granite Rapids
Meet your team leader at 7:30am for the two-hour bus ride to Hells Canyon rafting trip on the Snake River. We'll stop along the way for a ROW-hosted breakfast. Our launch point is at the base of Hells Canyon Dam, approximately 1,500 feet above sea level. Before launching rafts the ROW staff prepares you with a thorough safety briefing while personal gear is loaded. The briefing covers how to ride in a raft, how to paddle, how to swim through rapids and other tips for the days ahead. Once this is complete everyone chooses a raft and climbs aboard.
The Snake River has “pool and drop” characteristics. This means there's a long pool of calm water followed by a rapid. Not long after launching we run several splashy Hells Canyon rapids that give a fun, roller coaster ride a taste of what's to come.
When we stop for lunch, some guides prepare the meal while others give a “camp orientation” to explain how we minimize our impact on the river. ROW adheres to "Leave No Trace" camping ethics, so you'll learn where to wash up, how the toilet system works, where to brush your teeth, place trash, etc. Then it’s time to make a sandwich and enjoy the open-air dining experience.
We usually run two big class IV rapids the first day – Wild Sheep and Granite. These impressive rapids never fail to get a guide’s heart pumping. This is also a great day for fishing. The water is a bit cooler at this elevation and fishing for trout in the tail waters of the rapids is almost always successful.
Around 4:00pm we arrive at camp with plenty of free time for hiking, fishing, reading or just relaxing. Hors d’oeuvres are served around 6:00 and dinner around 7:30. The evening sky darkens and the first shimmering stars appear, inviting contemplation on the day and conversation with friends, new and old.
You'll wake around 7:00am to the smell of fresh-brewed coffee and tea. Breakfast is served around 7:30 and while we clean up the kitchen, you pack up your personal gear. We depart camp about 9:30 for today's Hells Canyon rafting adventure. Plenty of rapids, sun and dramatic scenery treat you and we'll explore a homesteader's cabin, root cellar and farm implements. You'll get a good sense of what pioneer life would have been like 100 years ago.
After more Snake River whitewater rafting, the river mellows and we have time to jump in and float along with our rafts. The mountains tower above and you relax in the warm sun. There are over 100 Native American rock art sites along the Snake River in Hells Canyon and during the trip we'll stop to investigate a few. Hells Canyon is unique because we find both pictographs (rock paintings) and petroglyphs (rock carvings) left by the different tribes that traveled the canyon.
Camp tonight is somewhere in the Salt Creek area. After dinner another peaceful evening awaits. The night sky creates a perfect time for connecting with family and friends. Bonds grow stronger and memories build.
Kirkwood Historic Ranch, Pittsburgh Landing
Today we'll hike along the trail at “Suicide Point.” This incredible view offers sweeping panoramas some 300’ above your Snake River rafting trip. After the hike we float to our next stop at Kirkwood Historic Ranch, a historic sheep ranch. We visit the sheering shed, blacksmith shop and homesteader cabins. Before the creation of the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area thousands of sheep grazed in the surrounding mountains.
Soon the canyon opens up and we crash through some big wave rapids. When we arrive at Pittsburg Landing, we take a short hike to see one of the richest collections of Indian petroglyphs on the Snake. After Pittsburg Landing the river narrows and the area's beauty intensifies.
At camp this evening our guides may set up horseshoes or guide a hike. We'll refuel with a nutritious meal and the night sky and fresh mountain air will help you sleep like a baby.
Today’s spectacular scenery and Hells Canyon whitewater is complemented by short history lessons. We'll see the ford used by Chief Joseph and the Wallowa band of the Nez Perce Indians during the famous 1877 exodus from their homeland. At China Creek we learn about the massacre of Chinese miners who were thought to have had a large cache of gold.
The human drama in Hells Canyon rafting trips is as intriguing as the many natural wonders we discover, like the fascinating wildlife, plant life and geology. It’s been another full day of river rafting fun and discovery. Tonight we camp on a large, white sand beach.
We'll have time for playing on the beach, sunbathing and another evening of laughter and camaraderie under Idaho's star-studded sky.
Eureka Bar, Salmon and Snake River Confluence, Departure
We continue to float and marvel at the dramatic scenery. By now you’ll be completely adjusted to “river time” as you welcome a new day of adventure. There are some big waves and big rides on this section of the Snake River and also some long stretches of flat water. Depending on the river flow we may join the rafts together and use a small, quiet outboard motor to cover some of today’s river miles. As we travel downstream we'll see the original Nez Perce trail descending down the canyon to a ford used for centuries by the Nez Perce as they traveled east from the Wallowa Mountains (in today’s northeast corner of Oregon). Between the white water rapids, look for golden eagles soaring overhead. Learn about the copper mines at Eureka Bar and the era of steamboats that traveled along the Snake. In the afternoon we'll pass the river's confluence with the legendary Salmon “River of No Return.”
The Salmon, where we run our Salmon River rafting trips, ends its journey and mingles with the waters of the mighty Snake in a powerful joining of forces. We now float on double the volume of water as compared to just the Snake River alone. We stop for another fine lunch on a sandy beach then dawn big smiles for a group photo. After a few more miles of magnificent scenery, we reach our take-out spot below the Snake River's confluence with the Grande Ronde River. Gear is untied and everyone carries their personal gear to the waiting bus.
It’s a quick 45-minute ride back to the town of Lewiston, Idaho. Depart the next morning to head home, or continue on to your next adventure.
Next Morning Departure: If you drove to Cambridge and had your car shuttled north it will be waiting for you at the hotel. If you're flying there’s a free shuttle from the hotel to the Lewiston airport. Or you can take a taxi two hours north to the Spokane airport.
ROW Adventures is proud to be an Equal Opportunity recreation service provider under permit from the U.S. Forest Service, Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, and licensed by the States of Idaho and Oregon. All our operations and facilities are operated on a non-discriminatory basis. We also operate under licenses from the states of Idaho and Oregon.
Dates & Rates
|Dates||Adult (USD)||Child (USD)|
|Aug 09, 2022 to Aug 13, 2022 |
|Aug 17, 2022 to Aug 21, 2022 |
|Aug 25, 2022 to Aug 29, 2022 |
|Sep 02, 2022 to Sep 06, 2022 |
5-day shoulder season
|Sep 10, 2022 to Sep 14, 2022 |
5-day shoulder season
|Sep 17, 2022 to Sep 21, 2022 |
5-day shoulder season
5-Day Private Trip
Departures: Private Trip Rates:; May, June, July & August = $30,430; Sept = $26,265; Please inquire for availability and dates
Group Rates for 10+ guests: