Hells Canyon National Recreation Area is 700,000 acres (280,000 hectares) of some of the most rugged, spectacular wild lands on earth.
Hells Canyon is the deepest gorge in North America at 7800 feet (2800 meters).
At its heart is the wildest whitewater stretch of the Snake River.
How to see Hells Canyon?
HEAVENS GATE OVERLOOK
Heavens Gates Overlook is thought by many to be the best view into Hells Canyon from Idaho. From the south end of Riggins, allow a half day to reach the overlook on a very steep and winding gravel road (Forest Road 517).
PITTSBURGH LANDING ON THE SNAKE RIVER
The Pittsburg Landing Road (Forest Road 493) is a narrow, steep, gravel road to the Snake River within Hells Canyon, but is well maintained by the county. Once an expansive Native American village site, today Pittsburgh Landing is popular for river access and camping. Pittsburgh Landing offers tent and rv camping, pavilions and outdoor grills, and restroom facilities.
Hells Canyon Jet Boat Trips and Lodging uses the Pittsburgh Landing Marina for its jet boat adventures, where tourists from across the world get a comfortable and fun glimpse deep inside Hells Canyon from the comforts of a 32 person jet boat.
From Grangeville, go south on Hwy 95 to the White Bird exit. Follow White Bird Creek to the Salmon River, cross the bridge at Swiftwater RV Park and turn left for the 17 mile scenic drive to Pittsburgh landing. Be sure to start with a full tank of gas, since driving up steep grades can use more gas.
KIRKWOOD HISTORICAL RANCH ON THE SNAKE RIVER
Kirkwood Historical Ranch is the former home of Idaho’s Governor Len Jordan, the site of Grace Jordan’s book “Home below Hells Canyon”and has archaeological evidence of human habitation dating back 7100 years. Accessible only by boat or trail, Kirkwood is staffed by volunteers throughout the year. Pack a lunch and enjoy the Kirkwood Historical Museum and the beautiful grassy oasis that is operated year around by volunteers for the U.S. Forest Service.
BY ATV: At the top of Cow Creek Road from Lucille Idaho, take your ATV’s for the most spectacular trip while making your way down the trail, descending 7000 feet to the historical Kirkwood Ranch. (This trail requires intermediate skill on an ATV). Or, for a more leisurely trip to Kirkwood Ranch sitting in the heart of Hells Canyon, take a comfortable power boat trip up the river. There are several river boats departing from Lewiston daily. Plan on a full day trip to see Kirkwood Ranch.
ON FOOT: Get to Pittsburgh Landing by car and then take the foot trails that lead you on a 5 mile odyssey to Kirkwood Ranch. In mid to late summer, you might come across more rattle snakes that you’d prefer. Its best to take this hike during the winter or early spring through June.
Enjoy a collection of photos via Flickr.com of Hells Canyon: