Frequently Asked Questions

We’re the only company that starts at the south entrance — the deepest portion — of Hells Canyon. We have many years of experience safely navigating the Snake River in Hells Canyon. Hells Canyon Adventures is a family owned business that has been in operation since 1973. We’re the only company that offers short jet boat adventures and one-day rafting trips that travel through the deepest portions of Hells Canyon. We feature homemade lunches or snacks on our tours.
The south end of the canyon, where we are located, is the deepest part of Hells Canyon and features sheer rock walls. The north end of the canyon, accessible from Lewiston, has wide-open areas and flat water. Lewiston tour operators must travel many river miles to arrive at the south entrance — it’s 110 river miles from Lewiston to Hells Canyon Dam.
All tour services offered by Hells Canyon Adventures launch one mile below Hells Canyon Dam on the Oregon side of the Snake River at the Hells Canyon Creek Visitor Center and Launch Site (south entrance into Hells Canyon). Directions are included in the reservation confirmation emailed to each party leader.
Reservations are confirmed by a nonrefundable 30% deposit. All final balances will be paid 7 days prior to your arrival. ALL TOURS RUN ON DEMAND WITH MINIMUM PASSENGER FARE REQUIREMENTS. Captain/Guide and deckhand gratuity not included.
HCA emails you a reservation confirmation at the time of booking. You will see the payment schedule at the bottom of the confirmation. You will receive a second email 8 days before your trip departure, reminding you that the final payment for your trip will be charged to your credit card, financial details included.
The 30% required deposit is nonrefundable. The final 70% will be collected 7 days prior to your tour departure and is nonrefundable once collected. All tours are charged full price if you fail to show up. Hells Canyon Adventures reserves the right to cancel due to circumstances beyond our control or safety concerns, such as water levels. Hells Canyon Adventures wants you to know that this is an outdoor adventure that does involve risk to your health and/or life.

If HCA cancels a trip we will refund your money in full, we consider that our problem not yours. If you cancel HCA will refund the money you paid (excluding the 6% reservation booking fee) in the form of a gift certificate. The gift certificate does not expire and can be applied to any tour we offer. We DO NOT refund back to credit cards, no exceptions made
You are required to sign a liability release form. The link to the electronic form can be found in your reservation confirmation email.
Easy access from Oregon or Idaho to the South Entrance of Hells Canyon: (1) Highway 71 from Cambridge, Idaho – Allow 1 hour and 45 minute travel time (2) Highway 86 from Baker City, Oregon – Allow 2 hour travel time (3) USFS Road #39 from Wallowa Lake/Joseph, Oregon – Allow 3 hour travel time All roads lead to the famed “Devils Tail,” the last 22 miles from Oxbow to the Hells Canyon Dam. Drive slow and enjoy the scenery — drive fast and join the scenery. All roads are paved. The South Entrance of Hells Canyon is a remote location. We want you to enjoy all that a remote location has to offer so come prepared. Have a full tank of gas, have a cooler full of snacks and drinks, and be prepared to turn off your phone because the cell phone service is spotty.
Check your adventure package to discover if bedding linens, other items, or meals are included on your specific trip. No matter which trip you choose, you’ll want to bring along the following items.
  • Quick-drying clothing - You are going to get wet!
  • River shoes (not flip flops or other summer shoes than can easily slide off)
  • Swimsuit (swim stops included in July and August)
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Camera with waterproof bag (Ziplocs bags work great!)
  • Snacks
  • Water bottle
No, you drive to the launch site (Hells Canyon Creek Visitor Center and Launch Site). We will meet you there. You will drive along the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway, exceptional byway with many landscapes, allow time to really enjoy your drive!
The Snake River, which flows south to north.
Hells Canyon has the biggest whitewater rapids in Idaho. Rapids are based on a scale from I to VI, VI being unnavigable. Hells Canyon Adventures runs the Wild Section of Hells Canyon. There are two Class IV rapids: Wild Sheep Rapid and Granite Rapid. These two rapids remain Class IV rapids even when water levels are low. If water levels are 30,000 CFS or greater, they transform into Class V rapids. Depending upon water conditions, Water Spout Rapid and Rush Creek Rapid can become Class IV rapids. Hells Canyon Adventures runs a variety of Class II and Class III rapids, too. We navigate around 30 different rapids on our day trips.
A gas station/convenience store is located at Pine Creek on Oregon Highway 86, 25 miles from the Hells Canyon Adventures launch site. A second convenience store/gas station/cafe is located on Idaho Highway 71, 41 miles from the Hells Canyon Adventures launch site. There are no food or drink services available at the launch site.
Idaho Power owns and maintains 4 campgrounds in the Hells Canyon Area. Online reservations -
  1. Wood Head Park (1 hour, 15 minute travel time to launch site)
  2. McCormick Park (1 hour travel time to launch site)
  3. Copperfield Park (45 minute travel time to launch site)
  4. Hells Canyon Park (30 minute travel time to launch site)
Refer to our lodging page on our website.
Yes, in moderate amounts. We have room for a small cooler.
Yes! Just let us know ahead of time so our staff is on hand to assist.
Yes, you’ll find it at the Hells Canyon Creek Visitor Center and at the launch site. If possible, we ask that drivers or party leaders drop handicapped guests off at the launch site before returning to park at the Hells Canyon Creek Visitor Center.
There is always a possibility of getting wet on the river, so we recommend lightweight clothing that will dry quickly. You’ll find room under your seat to store items that you would like to keep dry.
Swimming may be offered depending on the group, time availability, water, and weather conditions.
Yes! You may also want to bring a waterproof bag (like a Ziploc).
No, we have lots of poison ivy in the area and in past experiences we have had dogs spread poison ivy to customers.
The maximum capacity for our largest boat is 42 people, however, 99% of the time we cap our tours at 35 people, so each passenger has ample space.Will we see any wildlife ?
We often see deer, sheep, birds, and bears, but we can’t guarantee a wildlife sighting.
We have an excellent safety record and highly trained guides, deckhands, and boat captains. Our equipment is well maintained and updated as needed. Our adventures are on a wild river and there are dangers associated with that, but we will do everything in our power to keep you safe.
It gets very hot in the canyon during the height of tourist season in July and August. If you’re concerned about the heat, you might want to book from the end of April to June or from September to October.
To see the deepest part of Hells Canyon, you must take a boat or raft or hike in. There are no roads in the canyon below Hells Canyon Dam.
We operate three different Bentz Jet Boats. Our biggest boat is Gusto Del Rio, 40 feet long, Culebra II is 36 feet long, and Oso Grande is 28 feet long. We do not book by boat; we use the boat that best meets the need of each trip scheduled.
Yes, at different points of interest depending on your tour
No, but there is one at the launch site and another on the river for those passengers on all-day tours. We have a bathroom break every two hours.
No, our boats are covered, we have see-through side curtains that can be used, if necessary.
We do not. Please obtain an Oregon or Idaho fishing license prior to arrival at the launch site.
No. We’ll provide the rods and tackle for your fishing trip.
  • HCA is providing less trips per day
  • Trip departure times are staggered so that our customers arrive at different times
  • Our Captains, Guides and Support Crew will maintain social distancing, no handshakes, fist bumps
  • Our Captains, Guides, and Support Crew will give customers guidance or remind them when social distance practices are not being used
  • Changed our check in process
  • All waivers will be signed prior to arrival
  • All monies will be collected prior to arrival
  • Less people per trip per boat (people capacities will vary based on boat used and group make up) – our customers will be able to social distance while sitting on our boats
  • Assigned seating on the boat
  • Group size determines seating arrangements
  • We are considering couples as a single unit, as far as spacing guidelines on the boats are concerned
  • Single file boarding with social distance spacing
  • Handrails on our boats will be sanitized before each trip
  • Life jackets will be sanitized before each trip
  • Life jackets are numbered – our customers will wear the same jacket all day
  • We will keep an open zone surrounding our Captain and Crew while on the jet boats
  • Hand sanitizer will be at the front of our boats and available for use throughout the trip
  • Our boats are open, air ventilates through them
  • Individual meals provided – No buffet style meals for 2020 season
  • We are recommending that people bring masks and gloves, they are not required
  • If you are showing signs of illness – you must delay your trip. Your money will be refunded in the form of a gift certificate that can be used in the future. Your certificate will not expire, can be applied to any trip offered by HCA, and is transferrable to a friend/family member

Find Us


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


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