Snake River Boat Rentals & Guided Tours


Looking For a great adventure on the Snake River? Aardvarks Adventure Co is here to help! We offer excellent fishing and boating packages, whether you just want a few hours touring Hells Canyon, or a 4 day long fishing expedition!

Looking for the freedom of a self guided tour? Rent one of our powerful aluminum jet boats. In addition to having the power you need to negotiate strong rapids, the shallow draft will help you negotiate difficult parts of the river. All of our boats are equipped with the amenities you need for a fantastic experience, such as a mini fridge and galley and a quality waterproof sound system. Set your adventure to an amazing audio soundtrack with high power speakers that you can hear over the sound of the engine and the river.

Plus we have the latest fishing gear that you will need to have success reeling them in! So contact us today to begin your adventure on the Snake River!

Boating The Snake River & Hells Canyon

Hells Canyon is one of the most spectacular and rugged wild lands in the world. Located in the northwest of the US, the area can be found west of Idaho, east of Washington, and east of Oregon. Considered as an Idaho treasure, the Canyon consists of 280,000 hectares of land, which is 16km wide. It is also considered to be North America’s deepest gorge at 7,800 feet.

Since 1975, Hells Canyon has been preserved by the Congress and is today managed by the US Bureau of Land Management and the US Forest Service. Mining and logging are prohibited, as well as the building of roads and construction, and the use of motorized or mechanical vehicles, which include bicycles. The area can only be reached through guided jet boat tours or rafts.

Snake River

Hells Canyon was carved by the Snake River – a wild and scenic river that starts in the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and passes through 6 states. The portion of the river that winds through Hells Canyon is considered as Wild and Scenic. The 31.5 miles between Hells Canyon Dam and the Upper Pittsburgh Landing is considered wild and from this point on to 36 miles down below the Landing is considered scenic.

Depths vary from 2 feet to 105 feet, providing a broad range of water activities for the area’s visitors.

Boating & Fishing Hells Canyon, Snake River

Hells Canyon is part of the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. A broad range of outdoor recreational activities are available for the public. Boating and fishing are the most popular activities, as well as white-water rafting, hiking, and swimming. And since the area is virtually inaccessible by road, jet boat tours are the best way to reach the vast land.

Boating on the Scenic area of the Snake River is a popular activity for families. The best season is during the summer, from June to August, where swimming, hiking, and picnics are best enjoyed. Guided tours on 360 miles of trails lead to interesting archaeological sites. Pit house villages and rock shelters can be found scattered in the area, as well as abandoned cabins, mines, historic sites, and rock shelters with etched petroglyphs and pictographs done by the Native Americans who once inhabited the land.

There are 2 major rapids on the River – Wild Sheep and Granite Creek – that offer spectacular waves and powerful rapids for thrillseekers. The best months for rafting are March and April when flows are the highest.

The Scenic part of the river has calmer waters and offers the best area for scenic boating and fishing.

Snake River is one of the most prolific fisheries in the Northwest, with 5 designated areas along Hells Canyon for public fishing. Visitors are able to catch a diverse range of different river fishes in the waters, with the most famous fishes being Bass, Sturgeon, Catfish, and Trout – offering world-class fishing that attracts many visitors to the area.

Other Things to Do in Hells Canyon

For visitors who are not into fishing or rafting, scenic boat tours are offered by a handful of different providers in Idaho and Oregon. Half-day and full day trips are offered, with a large number of enjoyable outdoor activities that range from swimming, hiking, day-camping, and historic tours.

Getting A Permit To Boat The Snake River

Hells Canyon is known to be North America’s deepest river gorge. It encompasses a huge, remote area that is characterized by dramatic changes in terrain, elevation, vegetation and climate. Hells Canyon goes a mile below Oregon’s west rim and is shaped by the great Snake River. In addition, the Canyon is 8,000 feet below the snow-capped Devil Peak of the well-known Idaho’s Seven Devils Mountains.

The Snake River is deemed to be a Wild and Scenic physical feature. The 31.5 mile section that is between Hells Canyon Dam and Upper Pittsburg landing has been designated as Wild. The 36 mile section of the river that heads downstream from the Upper Pittsburg Landing all the way to Mile 180.2 was designated as Scenic.

How to obtain a permit to boat in Hells Canyon

The Wild River reservations located from Hells Canyon Dam to Upper Pittsburg must be issued with a trip permit for 7 days during the primary season. This is actually the Friday before Memorial Day all the way to September 10th. There are 3 private permit launches every day. These reservations are usually obtained through the Four Rivers Lottery or by choosing a cancellation after the reservations have been allocated.

People can apply for the Four Rivers Lottery from the 1st of December to the 31st of January. All successful applications should confirm their reservation details no later than March 15th. You should keep in mind that there is no wait list for any unconfirmed reservations. Once the application period is over, all the remaining spots released at random starting from March 16th. This is one of the main reasons why should sort out the details early on.

Even though self-issue permits are needed for the whole river corridor outside of the primary season, it’s not a must that you make any advance reservation. This is because they can be self-issued at any river portal.

Power boating and rafting on the rapid waters of Hells Canyon is recommended for people with some experience and well equipped. If you are new to the sport, its best that you take things slow. For floaters, lining or portaging though or around the rapids can be quite difficult.

Other things you should know before you go:

When reserving or applying for a launch date on the river, you should certify that;

-You are not currently being penalized for a late cancellation or no-show on the river.

-That you will only submit one application for the rivers lottery.

-You are fully aware that during the primary season for the rivers, you can only hold one launch reservation at a time.

-The reservation or application is only for a private float, unless you are authorized as a commercial operator on the river.

-That you are 18 years of age or you would have reached it by the launch date.

-That you will sign a permit affirming you have read and understood the definition of a private float trip.

-Your party size cannot exceed 8 crafts or 24 people

-That all boats assigned to you must carry at least one personal flotation device that is U.S. Guard approved.

For more information, you can refer to the Rules and Regulations of Snake River.

Welcome To Hells Canyon National Recreation Area

With a name like Hells Canyon, you can be sure that boating through this natural wonder of America will be something special and the experience definitely lives up to this. For those interested in what this will be like, the following is a description of Hells Canyon, Snake River, Oregon that will provide all you need to know.


The gorge is located in the north east of Oregon on the Idaho border and forms part of the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. It is around 10 miles wide and a remote wilderness that is largely inaccessible by car. While there are roads leading to the area, there are none that actually cross the canyon and this means that boating is one of the best ways to take in its natural beauty.

Deepest Gorge

Hells Canyon holds the record as the deepest gorge in North America and was carved out of the landscape by the mighty Snake River. The river is located on the canyon’s west rim and is almost 8,000 feet (1.5 miles) below the summit of He Devil Peak. The gorge runs for a distance of over 100 miles although the deepest section, where the river is situated at more than 1 mile below the rim is around 40 miles long.

The section of the Snake River that runs through the gorge is designated as both wild and scenic. This means there are lengths of impressive rapids and surging white water that provide some exciting action, as well as tranquil sections that provide more of an opportunity to relax and enjoy the surroundings. Common sections for boating include the length of wild water between Hells Canyon Dam and the Upper Pittsburg Landing area, and the more scenic stretch of water downstream of this landing. However, it is possible to enjoy boating on many parts of the Snake River where it runs through the gorge.


There are plenty of changes of terrain to see while traveling along the river, and some of the natural beauty to take in includes desert-like sandbars that border the lower stretches of the river. Passing through the deepest section of the gorge provides the chance to see some rugged peaks and impressive mountain scenery. Some of the famous points of interest along the way include Hat Point Lookout, Hells Canyon Overlook, Buckhorn Lookout, and Heavens Gate. There is also the opportunity to see some of the wildlife that call the area home, with animals that might come into view including bighorn sheep, mountain goats, bobcats, elk, and bears.


Reserving a launch date is required during the primary season for the wild water section between Hells Canyon Dam and Upper Pittsburg Landing. The season runs from the Friday prior to Memorial Day through to September 10 and reservations for a permit can be applied for during the Four Rivers Lottery, which takes place from December 1 to January 31. Reservations are also required to get a permit during the primary season for scenic stretches starting at Upper Pittsburg Landing and Dug Bar although only for trips made on Friday through Sunday. At all other times, a self-issue permit is needed for boating and these can be obtained from permit stations located at points of entry to the river. Full details can be found on the USDA website.

The sheer scale and grandeur of Hells Canyon make a boat trip through it something that any outdoor enthusiast will enjoy. So take the chance to travel through the deepest gorge in North America and see some of the most impressive scenery in the USA.