In 1975, Congress created the 652,488 - acre Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. It is managed by the USDA Forest Service under the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.
Hells Canyon National Recreation Area offers a variety of exceptional recreational opportunities. In addition, it is managed to conserve the scenic, wilderness, cultural and scientific values of the area. This includes protecting its free-flowing rivers, outstanding plant and wildlife habitats, and rich archeological and historical sites. Limited grazing, logging and mining are allowed only when compatible with these other management objectives.
A Wild and Scenic Wonderland
About 70 miles of the Snake River, flowing freely from Hells Canyon Dam to the Washington state line, is a "National Wild and Scenic River."
The Snake earns this distinction as it winds its way between towering rock walls, tranquil one moment and treacherous the next. The best way to experience the river is by raft, drift boat or jet boat. But, if you just want to take a look, you can drive to Hells Canyon Dam, Pittsburg Landing or Dug Bar.
Much of Hells Canyon National Recreation Area is designated as "wilderness." Here, natural processes shape the environment with little human interference. Here, mechanized travel is not permitted. To follow in the footsteps of the Nez Perce and Shoshone Indians, to see a land that looks like much the same today as it did 10,000 years ago, takes a little effort, but it's well worth the trip.
No matter how you choose to see Hells Canyon National Recreation Area - by car, boat or plane, on foot or horseback - you'll take home memories that will last a lifetime!