Hells Canyon Adventures has always operated as a small family business dedicated to helping guests experience the south entrance of Hells Canyon. We run the largest rapids in Hells Canyon, averaging 300 trips per year. Here’s how we came to be pioneers of Hells Canyon tours.

  • 1973: The Zanelli Family founded Hells Canyon Navigation
  • 1980: Gary Armacost purchased Hells Canyon Navigation and changed the business name to Hells Canyon Adventures
  • 1981: Hells Canyon Adventures starts running jet boats daily in the south end of the Wild Section of the Snake River
  • 1980s: Accessibility into the Wild Section of Hells Canyon increases with introduction of jet boats. People of all shapes, sizes, and abilities experience the deepest portions of Hells Canyon in a half day or full day.
  • 1980s: Bentz Boats in Lewiston builds jet boats specifically for Hells Canyon Adventures, designed for the turbulent waters of the Wild Section of the Snake. Hells Canyon Adventures continues to operate only Bentz Boats.
  • 1981-2001: Jet boat tours expand and change based on the skills of boat captains and consumer demands.
  • 1989: Introduction of the One-Day Rafting Adventure with Jet Boat Return — a trip not offered by any other outfitter in Hells Canyon.
  • 2001: The Yates family purchases Hells Canyon Adventures. Mark Yates begins driving jet boats daily. His sons, Dillon and Dustin, are currently HCA’s primary boat captains and raft guides.
  • 2010: United States Forest Service discontinues 1 day rafting, due to the 2008 new forest regulations.
  • 2015: Hells Canyon Adventures purchases a raft permit and reintroduces the 1 Day Rafting trip. Believing that everyone deserves the chance to raft Hells Canyon at least once in their lives, Hells Canyon Adventures expands its rafting adventures to better accommodate people with mobility issues or physical disabilities.
  • 2015: Hells Canyon Adventures leases the Sheep Creek Historic Cabin from the U.S. Forest Service and the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. The company maintains this historic treasure; it quickly becomes a favorite spot for lunch and camping.
  • 2016: Hells Canyon Adventures cements its reputation as the outfitter’s outfitter, cultivating strong and positive relationships with other Snake River outfitters. If an operator has an emergency, forgets equipment, or needs to shuffle guides, we assist. If they can’t provide a service but we can, they refer travelers to our business. We want all Snake River outfitters to thrive.
  • Future: Hopefully, Mark’s grandchildren Weston and River will embrace the dream some day!
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Find Us


Hells Canyon Adventures Warehouse
4200 Hells Canyon Dam Road
Oxbow, OR 97840


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