Hells Canyon

Pick an activity and pick a season. Just about every type of backcountry recreation is legendary in Hells Canyon, from fly-fishing to river-rafting, and mountain biking to hiking. Llama, horse, mule and the good old, conventional trek-by-foot trips offer unlimited opportunities for experiencing Eastern Oregon's most remote countryside.

The Snake River is famous for its fishing opportunities, which include smallmouth bass, rainbow trout, catfish and white sturgeon (which are catch and release). Fall and winter yield good opportunities for steelhead fishing.

The Hells Canyon National Recreation Area has numerous trails to enjoy either by foot or by mountain bike, but bikers should keep in mind that this isn't your nearby suburban park setting. Trails can be steep and cliffs are unprotected, so mountain bikers should be experienced with this type of terrain.

Winter offers the seclusion and quiet setting of an un-crowded paradise; indeed, most people don't hurry to Hells Canyon during the winter months. Eastern Oregon snowfall can be abundant and conditions can be icy. But the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest (which includes Hells Canyon) is a great place to enjoy some Nordic skiing. Nearby Wallowa Lake offers ice fishing and alpine skiing as well. Surrounding towns in the Wallowa Valley offer dining and lodging, although visitors should carry back-up provisions and cold weather clothing at all times of the year. High-altitude weather is fickle and changes at a moment's notice.

Without question, one of the best ways to see the canyon is in the company of an experienced outfitter. Llama treks offer a unique perspective on Hell's Canyon mile-deep beauty, as well as the insight and experience of someone who has already been there. Trail and river guides can offer a faster way to finding that "perfect location" to fish, photograph or just admire the breathtaking scenery.

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