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This Tour Through Hells Canyon with Hammer Down River Excursions Will Leave You Speechless

Last updated May 03, 2022 by Mariah Hebbeln

Did you know that Hells Canyon, at its deepest point, is over 1,000 feet deeper than the Grand Canyon? Reachable with ease thanks to the boats and crew at Hammer Down River Excursions, you can explore the Hells Canyon area in comfort. Our own journalist Mariah was lucky enough to experience the 7,993 ft deep canyons for herself and came back as an evangelist for Hammer Down. 


Keep reading to discover what to expect from your own tour with Hammer Down River Excursions.

The Abundant and Breathtaking Views in Hells Canyon

After leaving the Hammer Down office in White Bird, you will meet your boat captain at Pittsburg Landing. The drive takes about 45 minutes and will start your sightseeing experience. While Hells Canyon is not as long or wide as the Grand Canyon, it is the deepest canyon in North America. 


Once you launch from the landing, your former U.S. military-trained boat captain will comfortably drive you up the Snake River. Despite being such a remote area, iconic Idaho history and homesteads are to be found.


One of the excursions' most historical stops is the Kirkwood Historic Ranch. Before settlement, it was a popular area of occupation for many indigenous peoples for thousands of years. Once settlement began in the early 1800s, the Snake River became home to several homesteads. The Kirkwood Ranch was established in 1855 as a cattle ranch, then a more extensive sheep operation. Its most notable owner was Len Jordan, who would later become Idaho's 23rd Governor and a U.S. Senator. 


Now, you can visit the old homestead and bunkhouse, which currently serves as a museum. The museum is only reachable by boat or hike, and after being closed for two years, it is expected to open again in the late spring/early summer of 2022.


As you continue down the river, easily navigating through Class 4-5 rapids, you will encounter wildlife, like mountain goats, sheep, elk, deer, bears, snakes, and several species of birds. It helps to bring your own binoculars to get a better view from the boat. 


You will drive past areas that the Nez Perce, Shoshone-Bannock, Northern Paiute, and Cayuse tribes called home. Their ancestors’ pictographs can be found in the caves and on the rocks of Hells Canyon, so be sure to ask your captain to point them out if you are interested. 


Another outstanding attraction is Sturgeon Rock. It serves as the perfect pit stop for swimming in the hotter summer months. Look at the canyon above you to try and trace where this monster boulder broke off from. 


At every point in the tour down Hells Canyon via the Snake River, which serves as the border between Idaho and Oregon, you will have 360-degree breathtaking views. The midpoint of the tour takes you right to the base of Hells Canyon Dam. This feat of human ingenuity is a sight that is best taken in from below. 


The tour back was equally as impressive as the ride up, opening the view that you may have missed on the way up. Get ready for a thrilling, splashy ride back to Pittsburg landing. After one tour, I found myself making plans for my next trip.   

Homemade Lunch on the River

One of the most incredible features of a Hammer Down jet boat tour is the homemade lunch served at the halfway point. Crafted each night before the next day’s tour by Homer's mother, these lunches are delicious and filling. 


On my own tour, we were served smoked BBQ ribs that came right off the bone, mixed greens salad, some of the best potato salad I've ever had, and an individual strawberry shortcake baked in a reusable glass jar. 


Being able to take a moment to watch the scenery around me at the base of Hells Canyon dam was a moment of rest that everyone should find for themselves. 

White Bird, Idaho is Your Ultimate Recreation Area

Getting out for summer recreation is a standard part of living in Idaho. While areas like Stanley and Idaho City might deter you due to their popularity and crowds, the White Bird area in Central Idaho has plenty of land, rivers, and trails to go around. 


The city itself is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to take a moment to slow down, be present, and enjoy Idaho. The people are warm and inviting, and walking down the main street, it won't be long until you're making a new friend. 


Stop by the Hammer Down office for an ice-cold beer, Hammer Down merch, and to sign your paperwork before launch. They've got a wonderful patio with killer views and great beer in stock. 


Other fantastic stops in White Bird include some of the best antique shopping I've ever found at D.A. Foskett's Historic House & Drug Store. Getting hungry? Wildside Steakhouse and Saloon has a great menu and full-service bar. And don't forget to stop by Red's River Cafe for breakfast before your tour.  

Book Now with Hammer Down River Excursions

With tours running year-round, you can book with Hammer Down River Excursions at any time. Located perfectly in the center of Idaho, it's easy for guests traveling from Northern Idaho, Central and Eastern Washington, Western Montana, and the Treasure Valley to meet at one easy location with equal amounts of travel. The Hammer Down experience is excellent for work parties, family reunions, just for fun, or even bachelorette/bachelor parties. 


Check out Hammer Down River Excursions to book and learn more about their scenic tours, fishing trips, and tournaments at these social channels.

Hammer Down River Excursions Website

Hammer Down River Excursions Facebook

Hammer Down River Excursions Instagram

Totally Boise Loves to Experience Idaho

Avid outdoors people ourselves, we seek out any opportunity to be away from our desks and out in the Idaho wilds. We are big supporters of Hammer Down River Excursions and are excited to be writing another blog on this thrilling, adventure-packed tour. 


Check out our previous blogs on Hammer Down River Excursions to learn more about how you can experience Hells Canyon by Snake and Salmon Rivers.  


A Weekend Getaway With Hammer Down River Excursions

An Exhilarating Experience With Hammer Down River Excursions




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