Hells Canyon National Recreation Area is protected as a Designated Wild and Scenic river section. With a restriction on the number of launches and regulation by the United States Forest Service, a permitted trip in Hells Canyon means prime campsite selection and limited river users.
We offer the Hells Canyon experience in three, four, or five-day trip options. Most of the big whitewater is found on the three and four-day trips, while the five-day trip option features the opportunity for one more hike, more fishing, and a longer time to fully unplug. The most popular way to experience Hells Canyon is in four days – you hit all the major whitewater, historic sites, most of the hikes, pictographs, and great sturgeon holes. Plus the pacing is ideal for mellow days with plenty of time to do all of the extra exploring that the canyon offers.
Fishing in Hells Canyon is unbeatable, with guests commonly catching a dozen or more smallmouth bass per day. Bass fishing is relatively straightforward and all of your gear is provided and included (you’ll just need a fishing license). Other species often caught in Hells Canyon include trout and catfish. The canyon is also famous for its world class sturgeon fishing! These prehistoric fish range in size from about three to over ten feet long. Reeling in one of these beasts is often a group effort, and certainly a trip highlight.
One of the most special parts of Hells Canyon, aside from the powerful whitewater and awe-inspiring scenery, is the rich and unique history. Indigenous peoples have inhabited the canyon for over 10,000 years and we love to stop at all the historic sites to see homesteads turned into mini-museums and relax in old orchards to get a little shade break.
The camping in Hells Canyon is different than what you’ll find on the Lower Salmon River. Instead of big, sandy beaches, we typically camp up on bluffs above the river. This offers a unique perspective as well as ample opportunities for some exploring right from camp. Camp sites are usually accessed by a short hike through some rocks and dirt, but usually no more than a handful of steps from where we tie our boats off on shore. Tents are spaced out along dirt trails, with plenty of privacy from other group members.
Like all of Salmon Raft’s river trips, your experience will begin at our Boathouse in McCall. Your trip includes top-notch rafting gear, plush camping equipment, and a well-rounded menu prepared riverside by our guide staff. Multi-day experiences also include beer and wine, endless fresh drinking water, and a selection of non-alcoholic beverages, as well as daytime snacks.
Salmon Raft guides truly set us apart and are our guests’ most frequently mentioned highlight about their river experience. Aside from what we consider to be basic duties – like setting up and taking down tents, doing all the cooking and cleaning, and safely navigating the challenging whitewater – our guides are incredible men and women who are a pleasure to spend several days on the river with. They are professional and personable, kind and funny, knowledgeable and hard-working. We are also proud to staff a balanced crew of roughly 50% women, and some years we even tip the scales above that! Constellation spotters, chefs, role models, beach game experts, and back-flippers off the raft – we truly couldn’t ask for a better crew. We are positive that you’ll enjoy their company as well.
To see available launch dates, please click the big, gold “book online” button. All of our multi-day trips can be booked through this platform. Or if you prefer to book the old-fashioned way, we are always eager to take your phone calls or answer your email messages: 800-350-6654 | email@example.com