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HELLS CANYON (HELLS CANYON DAM TO PITTSBURG LANDING)

Snake River - idaho
20th of April
Status RUNNABLE
Streamflow 44400 cfs
Average 40000 cfs
Runnable Min 6500 cfs
Runnable Max 82000 cfs
Gradient 12 FPM
Length 32 Miles
Class III to IV
Current Weather 73° Mostly Sunny then Scattered Showers

Summary

Hells Canyon (Hells Canyon Dam to Pittsburg Landing) is currently runnable with streamflow levels at 44400cfs, about 11% above the average runnable rate of 40000cfs. We recommend paddling this section of the Snake River between a bare minimum of 6500cfs and a high of 82000cfs.

This class III to IV journey is accessible from 13 different boat launch points along the Snake River. Paddlers should prepare for the 63 class III to IV whitewater rapids along this run. Hells Canyon (Hells Canyon Dam to Pittsburg Landing) is also ideal for multi day paddlers looking to do some camping too. Campers will find 99 riverside campsites as the run winds its way through 32 miles of the beautiful Snake River. Streamflow levels and subsequent run conditions for Hells Canyon (Hells Canyon Dam To Pittsburg Landing) are sourced from the nearby USGS streamflow gauge at Snake River At Hells Canyon Dam Id-Or State Line.


Hells Canyon is the perfect final triumphal ending to the mighty Snake river before ultimately draining into the Columbia river.  The canyon is more than 8000 feet deep in places making this canyon deeper than the Grand Canyon.  This is big water in this canyon with lots of class Ii to IV rapids.  Combine excellent whitewater with great camping and scenery and you have a must do trip. Weather on the river today will be scattered showers and thunderstorms after noon. mostly sunny, with a high near 73. south wind 7 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph. chance of precipitation is 40%.

Season Begins: January & Ends: December

Seasonal Flow Status: 3% Above Average

With a 44400cfs streamflow rate, Hells Canyon (Hells Canyon Dam To Pittsburg Landing) is currently above its 43250cfs average seasonal streamflow for this time of year by 3%. Typically, this paddling destination has seen streamflow levels ranging between a low of 42100cfs in 2018, and a high of 44400cfs seen in 2019. Data for this report is sourced directly from USGS streamflow gauge 13290450



Hourly Forecast: 73° Today, Mostly Sunny then Scattered Showers

Over the course of the next 5 days, weather conditions on the river are expected to range between Showers. High near 58. North wind 7 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. to scattered showers and thunderstorms after noon. mostly sunny, with a high near 73. south wind 7 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph. chance of precipitation is 40%. It doesn't look like there's any substantial snow forecasted this week with air temperatures ranging between 58° - 73°

Forecast Discussion

000 FXUS65 KBOI 190808 AFDBOI Area Forecast Discussion National Weather Service Boise ID 208 AM MDT Fri Apr 19 2019 .SHORT TERM...Today through Monday...Southwest flow aloft ahead of an approaching trough will advect warmer and more unstable air into the region today. Showers and thunderstorms will develop this afternoon in or near our northwest forecast area, generally in or near Baker County. Temps will warm today to their warmest readings of 2019 so far, with upper 70s to lower 80s in the lower elevations, and 60s and 70s in the mountains. The approaching system will bring a cold front through the area tonight, and as it moves from northwest to southeast, the chance for showers and thunderstorms will spread southeast with it. Thunderstorms should end by around midnight, but showers will continue overnight. By Saturday morning, the chance for precipitation will be seen area- wide. With daytime heating, the chance for thunderstorms returns Saturday afternoon and evening, with the best chance over the southeast part of the forecast area, generally south and east of Boise. Temps will cool significantly on Saturday behind the cold front, with readings down around 15 degrees from today`s highs. Sunday will be a little warmer than Saturday, and most of the precipitation will move off to the east as the upper level trough departs in that direction. Monday will be dry and warmer, with temps around 5 degrees above normal. There may be enough precipitation in Harney County to put the Silvies River into minor flooding Sunday, but confidence is not high enough at this time to issue a flood warning. We will analyze additional data later today, so watch for later statements. .LONG TERM...Monday night through Thursday...A weak upper ridge moves across the area Monday Night and early Tuesday, but flattens by late Tuesday, and a shower in the northern mountains late Tuesday is not out of the question. Better chances for precip on Wednesday and Thursday as the storm track sags slightly further south, and some weak shortwaves brush by to the north. None of these waves look particularly strong, and timing is ...



Whitewater Rapids and Obstacles

Obstacle Summary Class Elevation
Cliff Mountain Rapid

An easy class II just below the putin awaits boaters.  Follow the main flow down just right of center.  Beware of a decent size hole in the upper portion of the rapid - either pull left of it or hang on - seen quite a few unsuspecting people get tossed out right here (mostly from not paying attention).  There are some big roller coaster waves at normal summer flows, make sure to get in the wave train.

read and run
II 1501.41 Feet
Brush Creek Rapid

Rockier on the right.  Follow the main waves down just left of center.

Read and run
II 1443.0 Feet
Rocky Point Rapid

Rocks and holes on the right.  A few on the left.  Main flow goes down just left of center.

Read and run
II to II+ 1431.01 Feet
Wild Sheep Rapid

This is the first class IV you will encounter.  There are lots of large rocks that gurad the entrance to this rapid.  Definitely scout your route.  Look at entering just left and center and pulling left around some rocks.  Then pull right again to avoid some holes down lower.

Scout on the left bank.  There is a good trail above the rapid that starts near the Wild Sheep Camp.
IV 1401.28 Feet
Granite Rapid

Granite rapid is another rapid that should be scouted and respected.  At the right levels (between 20K to 40k), the ginormous glass tongue in the center of the river comes in and creates one of the biggest drops on any river in the western US.  This glass tongue and wave curl is known as the green room.  Many boaters choose to skirt the green room on either side.  Below the main tongue, where the whitewater starts, generally contains some fierce lateral waves that have flipped many a boater.

There is a scout trail on river right above the rapid.  Definitely a recommended scout.
IV 1375.83 Feet
Three Creek Rapid

Look at running on river left.

Read and run
II+ 1364.06 Feet
Doughty Rapid

A few riffles and rocks on river right.

read and run
II 1358.86 Feet
Saddle Creek Rapid

Follow the flow just right of center

Read and run
II to II+ 1354.58 Feet
Upper Bernard Creek Rapid

Read and run
II+ to III- 1341.87 Feet
Lower Bernard Creek Rapid

This rapid gets bigger at lower flows.  Possibly creating a hole.  At high water this feature gets washed out.  There is a good drop with a big wave that starts this rapid.

Scout from Bernard Creek Camp
III to IV 1337.27 Feet
Waterspout Rapid

At higher flows this rapid washes out.  At lower flows there is an unsuspecting hole at the lower section of the rapid caused by a large rock on the left side.

Scout on the left
III to IV 1323.68 Feet
Rapid

Read and run
II 1317.04 Feet
Bills Creek Rapid

A fun wave train

Read and run
II+ to III- 1313.03 Feet
Upper Sluice Creek Rapid

Read and run
II 1291.98 Feet
Sluice Creek Rapid

Read and run
II 1289.51 Feet
Rush Creek Rapid

This rapid more challenging at higher water.  A large rock in the center of the river creates holes at high water or an obstacle at lower water.  There is also another large rock at the end of the rapid.

Scout from river left.
III to IV 1283.52 Feet
Pony Creek Rapid

A smaller rapid here.  Run on river left with the main flow

Read and run
II to II+ 1278.85 Feet
Eagle Nest Rapid

Read and run
II 1266.08 Feet
Willow Creek Rapid

Read and run
II 1262.51 Feet
Alum Bed Rapid

Read and run
II 1260.65 Feet
High Bar Rapid

Read and run
II 1255.07 Feet
Little Bar Rapid

A series of swift water and waves

Read and run
II 1244.34 Feet
Hominy Creek Rapid

Rad and run
II 1225.29 Feet
Slaughter Gulch Rapid

Read and run
II 1195.01 Feet
Yankee Bar Rapid

Read and run
II 1195.85 Feet
Upper Kirby Rapid

Read and run
II 1195.22 Feet
Middle Kirby Rapid

Large and run waves at most all levels.

Read and run
II to III 1196.8 Feet
Lower Kirby Rapid

Read and run
II 1162.34 Feet
Unnamed Rapid

Read and run
II 1162.32 Feet
China Rapid

Read and run
II 1161.34 Feet
Durham Rapid

II 1161.2 Feet
Upper Pittsburg Rapid

Read and run
II 1143.48 Feet
Middle Pittsburg Rapid

II 1138.17 Feet
Hells Canyon (Hells Canyon Dam to Pittsburg Landing)

II- to IV-
R - Rapid

I
R - Saddle Creek Rapid

I to IV+
R - Lower Bernard Creek Rapid

I to IV+
R - Waterspout Rapid

I to IV+
R - Rapid

I to IV-
R - Bills Creek Rapid

I to IV-
R - Upper Sluice Creek Rapid

I to IV-
R - Sluice Creek Rapid

I to IV
R - Rush Creek Rapid

I to IV+
R - Pony Creek Rapid

I to IV-
R - Eagle Nest Rapid

I to IV-
R - Willow Creek Rapid

I to IV-
R - Alum Bed Rapid

I to IV-
R - High Bar Rapid

I to IV+
R - Little Bar Rapid

I to IV-
R - Hominy Creek Rapid

I to IV
R - Slaughter Gulch Rapid

I to IV-
R - Yankee Bar Rapid

I to IV
R - Upper Kirby Rapid

I to V-
R - Middle Kirby Rapid

I to V
R - Lower Kirby Rapid

I to IV+
R - Unnamed Rapid

I to IV
R - China Rapid

I to IV
R - Durham Rapid

I to IV-
R - Upper Pittsburg Rapid

I to IV-
R - Middle Pittsburg Rapid

I to IV
C - Lower Quartz Creek Rapid

I to IV
Historical Place - Temperance Creek Ranch

I to V-
Historical Place - Kirkwood Ranch

There is a museum here - worth the visit.  There is camping on the bar downriver from the creek - three trails lead up the bank.  There are picnic tables and the only flush toilet on the Dam to Pittsburg landing stretch is just north of the ranch.  There is a hike up the creek to an old cabin if you want a hike.  This is also a good place to fish for sturgeon - easiest from the Oregon side of the river.

I to IV- Feet

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Run Overview

Permitted Watercraft

Kayaking
Fishing
Rafting

Hells Canyon (Hells Canyon Dam to Pittsburg Landing) Campsites

Stud Creek Camp

A medium sized beach camp on river left.

Lamont Springs Camp

First camp on river right.

Square Beach Camp

A nice sized beach a short ways up off the river on river right

Brush Creek Camp

An excellent beach on river right just below brush creek rapids.

Rocky Point Camp

A nice camp on river right that has trees and shade.

Warm Springs Camp

On river right. This camp is near a warm springs but it's not that hot.

Battle Creek Camp

on river left

Sand Dunes Camp

A nice sandy camp on river left

Birch Springs Camp

On river right

Wild Sheep Camp

On river left where the Wild Sheep Canyon drains into Hells

Rocky Bar Camp

On river right.  A mid sized beach surrounded by lots of rocks.

Upper and Lower Granite Creek Camps

Just past the Granit Creek drainage are a couple of camps with some vegetation and shade.  River right.

Cache Creek Camp

On river left.

Three Creek Camp

On river right

Oregon Hole Camp

A very nice camp with shade and a beach on river left

Upper Dry Gulch Camp

On river right

Lower Dry Gulch Camp

A small camp on river right

Hastings Camp

on river right

Saddle Creek Camp

On river left at the mouth of Saddle Creek Canyon

Bernard Creek Camp

A nice beach camp on river right

Rush Creek Camp

Rocky beach and landing but room for a mid sized to large group

Johnson Bar Landing Camp

An excellent beach on river right.

Sheep Creek Camp

Another nice camp on river right accommodating up to large parties

Steep Creek Camp

A smaller camp beach.  Better access at low water.

Yreka Bar Camp

A large beach on river left.

Upper Sand Creek Camp

Large group sites on river left

Willow Creek Camp

A low water camp that is smaller in size

Pine Bar Camp

An excellent camp on river right

Upper Quartz Creek Camp

A large camp on river left

Lower Quartz Creek Rapid

Larger camp on river left.  Not a lot of shade

Caribou Creek Camp

On river right

Dry Gulch Camp

Large beach on river left

Big Bar Camp

On river right.  A rocky and large camp

Big Bar Airstrip Camp

This camp on river right lies just south of a public airstrip

Upper and Lower Hominy Bar Camps

A couple of good large camps on river left.

Salt Creek Camp

On river left

Two Corral Creek Camp

A large camp on river left.

Cracie Bar Camp

A nice large camp on river right

Half Moon Bar Camp

A nice camp on river right

Slaughter Gulch Camp

A large camp on river left

Kirkwood Bar Camps

4 sites.  Access to the kirkwood ranch facilities.

Yankee Bar Camp

Smaller camp on river left

Russell Bar Camp

A large camp on river right.

Cat Gulch Camp

Smaller camp on river right

Corral Creek Camp

Larger camp.  Decent shade.  Some water up the creek about 200 yards

Fish Trap Bar Camp

A large sandy beach on river left.

Upper Pittsburg Camp Sites

These can be accessed from the river but they aren't the friendliest of camp accessible river camps.  These camps can also be accessed via vehicles.

Wilson Eddy Camp

Large camp on river left

R - Upper Bernard Creek Rapid

C - Stud Creek Camp

C - Lamont Springs Camp

C - Square Beach Camp

C - Brush Creek Camp

C - Rocky Point Camp

C - Warm Springs Camp

C - Battle Creek Camp

C - Sand Dunes Camp

C - Birch Springs Camp

C - Wild Sheep Camp

C - Rocky Bar Camp

C - Upper and Lower Granite Creek Camps

C - Cache Creek Camp

C - Three Creek Camp

C - Oregon Hole Camp

C - Upper Dry Gulch Camp

C - Lower Dry Gulch Camp

C - Hastings Camp

C - Saddle Creek Camp

C - Bernard Creek Camp

C - Rush Creek Camp

C - Johnson Bar Landing Camp

C - Sheep Creek Camp

C - Steep Creek Camp

C - Yreka Bar Camp

C - Upper Sand Creek Camp

C - Willow Creek Camp

C - Pine Bar Camp

C - Upper Quartz Creek Camp

C - Caribou Creek Camp

C - Dry Gulch Camp

C - Big Bar Camp

C - Big Bar Airstrip Camp

C - Upper and Lower Hominy Bar Camps

C - Salt Creek Camp

C - Two Corral Creek Camp

C - Cracie Bar Camp

C - Half Moon Bar Camp

C - Slaughter Gulch Camp

C - Kirkwood Bar Camps

C - Yankee Bar Camp

C - Russell Bar Camp

C - Cat Gulch Camp

C - Corral Creek Camp

C - Fish Trap Bar Camp

C - Upper Pittsburg Camp Sites

C - Wilson Eddy Camp

Historical Place - McGaffee Cabin

Historical Place - McGrady's Lodge

Landmark - Airstrip

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