Hells Canyon
Facts and FAQ's

Hells Canyon Facts explains how large the area is, what rivers run through the area and other frequently asked questions.

What is the size of Hells Canyon National Recreation Area? 652,488 acres, of which 214,944 acres comprise the Hells Canyon Wilderness Area.

Who administers the National Recreation Area? The HCNRA lies within three forests systems: the Wallowa-Whitman, Nez Pierce and Payette National Forests. Its operation is overseen by the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.

Who created the HCNRA? The NRA was established by Congress on December 31, 1975 as the result of efforts by Senator Frank Church and supporters. Senator Church also spearheaded the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act in 1968, resulting in the designation of the Snake, Imnaha and Rapid rivers as Wild and Scenic rivers.

Which Wild and Scenic rivers lie within the boundaries of the HCNRA? The Snake, Imnaha and Rapid Rivers

What is the elevation range of the HCNRA? He Devil Mountain is the highest point in the NRA at 9,393. Its peak towers 7,913 feet above the river.

Where is the best place to observe the depth of the gorge? At Hat Point Lookout (6,982 feet), the highest point on the canyon's rim.

What is the length and width of the Snake River within the HCNRA? Approximately 71 miles long and 10 miles wide.

Other Helpful Facts:

There are two recreation seasons for HCNRA: Primary (Memorial Day weekend to early September) and Secondary (early September to Memorial Day weekend). Reservations and permits are necessary for river rafting on the Wild portion of the Snake River. There are generally three private launch permits issued per day (outfitters have special use permits).

River rafters should allow 2-3 days to float from Hells Canyon Creek Recreation Site to Pittsburg Landing and 4-6 days from the recreation site to Heller Bar.

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