Wild and Scenic Snake River
The mighty Snake River winds its way through Hells Canyon, the deepest river-carved gorge in North America.
At the mouth of Granite Creek, approximately seven miles downstream from Hells Canyon Dam, the river elevation is 1,480 feet. The canyon depth here is 7,913 feet when measured from He Devil Mountain, towering over Idaho's Seven Devils range at 9,393 feet. Above Rush Creek Rapids, Hat Point Lookout offers a spectacular view of the canyon from 6,982 feet, the highest point on the Oregon rim.
Although uncommon on most wild and scenic rivers, powerboats have been used on the Snake River in Hells Canyon National Recreation Area for many years and Congress included specific language in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area Act which allows their continued use.
The perpetuation of this unique environment is largely dependent upon you, the user. With a growing number of visitors, thoughtful and appropriate behavior by all is essential to the protection of the canyon's outstanding aesthetic and environmental values. Techniques are discussed in this guide which may allow visitors to enjoy the river to the fullest while preserving its fragile natural and cultural resources. The challenge is to pass through the area and leave no trace that you were there.
Main Recreation Sites
Some of the main recreation sites along the river are shown below. For a more complete list of developed recreation sites visit the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area - Snake River recreation site page.
- Hells Canyon Creek Visitor Center and Boat Launch
- Sheep Creek Ranch
- Kirkwood Historic Ranch
- Pittsburg Landing Boat Launch
- Upper Pittsburg Landing
- Snake River Trailhead
- Pittsburg Rockart Interpretive Site
- Copper Creek Lodge
- Dug Bar Boat Launch and Trailhead
- Cache Creek Historic Ranch
Boater Reservation and Information
For more information about boating on on the Wild and Scenic Snake River, please select one of the following;
- Private Floatboat Permits and Reservations
- Private Powerboat Permits and Reservations
- River Flows
- Non-motorized Calendar
- The Wild and Scenic Snake River Boater's Guide
- Outfitters and Guides for Jetboat trips and Float trips
- Trip Planning
- River Use and Etiquette
- Wild and Scenic Snake River Proposed Permit Fee
River Management Plan and Monitoring
The Wild and Scenic Snake River is managed by the 1994 (revised 1999) Snake River Wild and Scenic River Recreation Management Plan. This plan guides the management direction for the river. In addition to better understand the unique use and features of the river, the Forest Service has compiled several years of Visitor Use studies, and partnered with other agencies and universities on other research studies...more
There are several active backcountry airstrips along the Snake River and in the Hells Canyon uplands available for both commercial and public use...more
River History and Classification
For more information about river classification, resources and history of Wild and Scenic Snake River, please select one of the following;
- River Classification
- Fast Facts about Hells Canyon and the Snake River
- Hells Canyon Wilderness
- Historical and Cultural Sites along the Snake River