Hells Canyon

Hells Canyon

Hells Canyon is a ten mile wide canyon located along the border of eastern Oregon and western Idaho in the United States. It is North America's deepest river gorgecite web | title = Hells Canyon Overview | publisher = United States National Forest Service | url = http://www.fs.fed.us/hellscanyon/overview/index.shtml | accessdate = 2008-05-28] at 7,993 feet (2436 m) [cite web | title = Establishment of HCNRA | publisher = United States National Forest Service | url = http://www.fs.fed.us/hellscanyon/about_us/establishment.shtml | accessdate = 2008-05-28] and the most important feature of Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.

The canyon was carved by the waters of the Snake River and plunges more than a mile below the canyon's west rim on the Oregon side and 8,000 feet below the peaks of Idaho's Seven Devils Mountains range to the east. The area is inaccessible by road.


Aside from being known as the deepest river gorge in North America, the area offers scenic vistas of mountain peaks and cascading waters, and glimpses of abundant wildlife in a remote wilderness setting.

Prehistoric tribes roamed the area and artifacts from these earlier inhabitants as well as the colorful ruins of early miners and settlers are visible. The area can be experienced by land, trail or boat. [cite web
title=Things to Do


The earliest known settlers in Hells Canyon were the Nez Perce tribe. Others tribes visiting the area were the Shoshone-Bannock, northern Paiute and Cayuse Indians. The mild winters, ample plant and wildlife attracted human habitation.
Pictographs and petroglyphs on the walls of the canyon are a record of the Indian settlements.cite web
title=The Human Story

In 1806, three members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition entered Hells Canyon along the Salmon River. However, they turned back without seeing the canyon. It wasn't until 1811 that the Wilson Price Hunt expedition explored Hells Canyon while seeking a shortcut to the Columbia River. Hunger and cold forced them to turn back, as did many explorers who were defeated by the canyon's inaccessibility. There remains no evidence in the canyon of their attempts, except their expedition journals.

The early miners were next to follow. In the 1860s gold was discovered in river bars near Hells Canyon National Recreation Area and miners soon penetrated Hells Canyon. Gold mining was not profitable here and evidence remains of their endeavors visible along the corridor of the Snake River. Later efforts concentrated on hard-rock mining requiring complex facilities, and evidence of the history of these developments are on view today, especially near the mouth of the Imnaha River. In the 1880s there was a short-lived homesteading boom but the weather was too severe for farming and they soon gave up. Some ranchers still remain today operating within the boundaries of the National Recreation Area.

Hydroelectric dams

Three hydroelectric dams on the Snake river in Hells Canyon generate approximately 1150 megawatts of electricity. These dams are the lowest on the Snake river lacking fish ladders of any kind which block native salmon and other fish from migrating upstream.

The three dams are as follows:
*Hells Canyon Dam
*Oxbow Dam
*Brownlee Dam.

ee also

* Hells Canyon Wilderness (Oregon and Idaho)


External links

* [http://www.nps.gov/rivers/wsr-snake.html National Parks Service] - Bulk of this article as of January 5, 2003 was copied from this public domain source.
* [http://www.fs.fed.us/hellscanyon/ Hells Canyon National Recreation Area] official site from the U.S. Forest Service
* [http://www.gpoaccess.gov/stylemanual/index.html U.S. Government Printing Office Style Guide] - For confirmation that it's "Hells Canyon" and not "Hell's Canyon".

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hells Canyon — Der Snake River auf seinem Weg durch den Canyon Der Hells Canyon (dt. Höllencanyon ) ist mit 2.438 m Tiefe die tiefste von einem Fluss eingegrabene Schlucht Nordamerikas. Er liegt größtenteils im US Bundesstaat Oregon, unmittelbar an der Grenze… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Hells Canyon — 45°22′03″N 116°36′52″O / 45.3675, 116.61444 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Hells Canyon — Gorge of the Snake River in the U.S. Forming part of the Idaho Oregon boundary, it is 125 mi (200 km) long and for 40 mi (64 km) is more than a mile deep. A maximum depth of 7,900 ft (2,400 m) makes it the deepest gorge in North America. With its …   Universalium

  • Hells Canyon — Cañón del río Snake en EE.UU., que forma parte del límite entre los estados de Idaho y Oregón. Mide 200 km (125 mi) de largo y alcanza una profundidad superior a los 1,6 km (1 mi) en un tramo de 64 Km (40 mi). Dada su profundidad máxima de 2.400… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Hells Canyon — geographical name canyon of Snake River on Idaho Oregon border; deepest in the United States …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Hells Canyon Wilderness — is the name of two distinct component units of the United States National Wilderness Preservation System::* Hells Canyon Wilderness (Oregon and Idaho):* Hells Canyon Wilderness (Arizona) …   Wikipedia

  • Hells Canyon Dam — Infobox Dam dam name = Hells Canyon Dam caption = Aerial view of Hells Canyon Dam official name = Hells Canyon Dam crosses = Snake River reservoir = Hells Canyon Reservoir locale = Hells Canyon maint = Idaho Power Company length = height = 330 ft …   Wikipedia

  • Hells Canyon Wilderness (Oregon and Idaho) — Infobox protected area | name = Hells Canyon Wilderness iucn category = Ib caption = locator x = 44 locator y = 36 location = Idaho Oregon, USA nearest city = Halfway, OR lat degrees = 45 lat minutes = 27 lat seconds = 0 lat direction = N long… …   Wikipedia

  • Hells Canyon Scenic Byway — Infobox road state=OR highway name=Hells Canyon Scenic Byway marker maint=Oregon Department of Transportation, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, etc. length mi=218.4 Length km=351.5 length ref=cite web|title=Hells Canyon Scenic Byway… …   Wikipedia

  • Hells Canyon Wilderness (Arizona) — Infobox protected area | name = Hells Canyon Wilderness iucn category = Ib caption = locator x = 53 locator y = 112 location = Arizona, USA nearest city = Phoenix, Arizona lat degrees = lat minutes = lat seconds = lat direction = N long degrees …   Wikipedia

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