Snake River Classification

Grassy slope above Pine Bar on the Snake River in foreground

Designation and ORVs

About 67.5 miles of the Snake River in Hells Canyon National Recreation Area were designated in 1975 as a component of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Here, the river is managed to preserve its free-flowing character and unique environment while providing for continued public use. The outstanding remarkable values (ORVs)for which the river was designated include: scenic, recreation, geologic, wildlife, fisheries, and cultural resources (historic & prehistoric).

River Classifications

The 31.5-mile section of the river between Hells Canyon Dam and Upper Pittsburg Landing is designated wild under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. This act defines wild as "free of impoundments and generally accessible only by trail" representing "vestiges of primitive America." The 36-mile section of river downstream from Upper Pittsburg Landing to mile 180.2 is designated scenic, which is defined as "free of impoundments with shorelines and watersheds still largely primitive, and shorelines largely undeveloped, but accessible in places by roads." An additional 4.2 miles of the river from mile 180.2 north to the HCNRA boundary at the Oregon-Washington line is recommended for scenic designation.

River Corridor

The Wild and Scenic Snake River corridor extends approximately one-quarter mile back from the high water mark on each shore. The river corridor itself is not wilderness and wilderness regulations do not apply. Developed campsites and human-made structures exist, and some motorized equipment is allowed. Some areas on either side of the corridor, however, are designated wilderness, and are closed to all mechanized travel. If you want to visit the wilderness it must be on foot or horseback.