Wild and Scenic Snake River - Floater Guide Summary

Primary Season

The Primary Season extends from the Friday preceding Memorial Day weekend (May 25th) through September 10th.

Secondary Season

The secondary season extends from September 11th through the Thursday before Memorial Day.

Wild River Reservations

Wild River reservations from Hells Canyon Dam to Upper Pittsburg Landing are required for the issuance of a trip permit, seven days a week during the primary season. There are three private permit launches each day. These reservations can be obtained through the 4 rivers Lottery or by picking a cancelation once the lottery reservations have been allocated. Both processes can only be done through the website www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777.

Scenic River Reservations

Scenic River Reservations from Pittsburg Landing and Dug Bar are required for the issuance of a trip permit on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays during the primary season. Two private permit launches are available each day. Additional reservations/permits are not required for a float party continuing into the scenic river from a reserved and permitted Wild River launch. Scenic River launches on Monday through Thursday except Holidays do not require an advance reservation. Self-issue permits must be completed at a permit station at the portal of entry.

Self-issue River Permits

Self-issue river permits are required for the entire river corridor during the secondary season, but do not require an advance reservation. They can be self-issued at any river portal. They cannot be used in place of a reserved launch in the Wild River between Hells Canyon Dam and Upper Pittsburg Landing during the primary season.

Special Use Permits for Outfitting and Guiding

Special use permits for outfitting and guiding are required for all commercial float trips in the entire river corridor year round.

If you are planning on using an outfitter and guide, be sure that person has the proper license. Licensing is for the protection of the public.

Non-motorized Period

The 1994 Wild and Scenic Snake River Recreation Management Plan (revised in 1999) established a non-motorized period. The objective of the period was to provide for extended periods of remoteness by limiting encounters with motorized users in the wild river section. There are 21 non-motorized days in the 2015 primary season. The non-motorized section of the Wild river is from Kirkwood Historic Ranch to WildSheep Rapids. Powerboat access will not be authorized during those times in that section of the wild river. The 2015 Non-motorized calendar is now available.

Maximum Party Size

The maximum party size is 24 persons, including overnight use at river campsites. Multiple parties (float and/or power) may camp together as long as the maximum party size is not exceeded.

Maximum Number of Float Craft

The maximum number of float craft is 8 per party.

All boats must carry at least one U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal floatation device for every person on board.


Overnight camping is prohibited at the Hells Canyon Creek Recreation Site, Pittsburg Administrative Areas, Cache Creek Administrative Site and those areas under Special Use Permit – Sheep Creek and Temperance Creek.

Camping for one night only is permitted at either one of the Granite Creek sites or Saddle Creek during the primary season. All other sites have a two-night stay limit in the Wild River and a three-night stay limit in the Scenic River during the primary season.

Solid Human Waste

Solid human waste carryout equipment and its use is required at all times in the river corridor.


The burning of wood in firepans is prohibited in the river corridor from July 1 through September 15 each year. Gas stoves and charcoal in a firepan or barbeque are acceptable. Firepans are required yearlong and open campfires are no longer allowed. All firewood for camp use must be packed in. The use of chainsaws is prohibited.


Fireworks are prohibited yearlong.


All garbage and trash must be packed out.

Kicker Motors

Kicker motors may not be used in the Wild River but can be used in the Scenic River.

Cultural Resources

Cultural Resources are protected by law from vandalism, destruction or theft. Collection of historic and prehistoric artifacts is prohibited.
If you are planning to use an outfitter and guide, be sure that person has the proper license. Licensing is for the protection of the public.


Trip leaders are responsible for the conduct of the members of their party during the entire trip. Inappropriate behavior resulting in complaints from other river users can result in loss of access to the permit system.

More Information

If you have questions contact:

Hells Canyon Creek Launch Site

Oxbow, Oregon

(541) 785-3395

HCNRA Snake River Administrative Office

Clarkston, Washington

(509) 758-0616 

Your cooperation and support in the use of the reservation system and on the river will be appreciated by everyone.

Thank you, and enjoy your float trip!