Hells Canyon - Snake River (Powerboat)

Wallowa Whitman National Forest

Hells Canyon, North America’s deepest river gorge, encompasses a vast and remote region with dramatic changes in elevation, terrain, climate and vegetation. The Snake River is designated a Wild and Scenic River. The 31.5-mile section of the river between Hells Canyon Dam and Upper Pittsburg Landing is designated Wild and the 36-mile section of river downstream from Upper Pittsburg Landing to mile 180.2 is designated Scenic. 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.

There are four permit locations to launch a powerboat from in Hells Canyon:

Permit & Season Information

Permit reservations are required for the primary season from the Friday before Memorial Day through September 10th. The reservation allows one of the following permits:

Scenic: Scenic river access from Cache Creek through Pittsburg Landing portals.

Wild: Access entire river corridor and Wild river section, from Pittsburg Launch to Hells Canyon Dam.

Salmon Access-Day Use Only: Day use access to the Salmon river by way of Cache Creek portal. Boaters use the permit to pass to the Salmon River; no overnight use on the Snake River.

Limited Wild River North: Limited Wild river access during non-motorized period from the northern end of the river. Motorized craft not permitted in wild river segment between Kirkwood Historic Ranch and Wild Sheep rapids.

Limited Wild River South: Limited Wild river access during non-motorized period from the southern end of the river. Motorized craft not permitted in wild river segment between the top of Wild Sheep rapids to Kirkwood Historic Ranch.

Need to Know

Refer to the Snake River Rules and Regulations for more information about permits, non-motorized periods, camping and general rules or visit the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest for more information.

Fee Policy

The reservation fee of $6.00 is non-refundable. Fees must be paid on Recreation.gov using a credit card.

Cancellation Policy

Change Policy

The permit is non-transferable. Call the Snake River office at (509) 758-0616 if you have questions about your situation.

Cancellation Policy

If you cannot make a trip, you must always provide a cancellation to the reservation system. To submit your cancellation, please go to your existing reservation with Recreation.gov and follow the instructions.

You should send the cancellation no later than seven days prior to your launch date to avoid any issues or being flagged as a “no show.”

The seven-day advance notice requirement may be waived in cases due to extreme water conditions. Regardless, a cancellation must be submitted. Failure to provide timely cancellation will trigger a no-show penalty. These statuses can impact your ability to get a permit through the following year.

The $6.00 reservation fee is non-refundable.

Contact Information

Mailing Address

2535 Riverside Dr. PO Box 699 Clarkston WA 99403

Phone Number

(509) 758-0616

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