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Old 06-17-2014   #1
Seattle, Washington
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 5
Snake River Hells Canyon

I'm planning a Hell's Canyon trip, and was hoping to get some information about whether to do the Wild Section with kids. Specifically, I was wondering if it is an option to walk around Wild Sheep and Granite? Also, the Forest Service Guide Book lists Lower Bernard Creek, Waterspout, and Rush Creek as III-IV, but I haven't heard much information about those rapids. Are they relatively straight forward read-and-run? Finally, I was wondering about the RiverMaps guide compared to the Forest Service guide. My experience is that some of the RiverMaps have great information (e.g. the Grand Canyon Guide), while others seem to be essentially a waterproof book of maps with rapids and camps labelled. What are thoughts on the Snake/Lower Salmon RiverMaps?

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Old 06-17-2014   #2's Avatar
lafayette, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1961
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 498
The new RiverMaps guide is helpful. Somebody jump in here, I think there is a hiking trail the whole hells canyon wild section, but never paid that much attention to it.
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Old 06-17-2014   #3
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salmon, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 639
wild sheep is easily walked along the left hand bank... I'm pretty sure you could walk the left hand or right hand side of granite... The scout is on the right... But this rapid is really easy to skirt the left hand side of... It's a four if you run right or put it in the huge hole in the middle.. waterspout is easy to stay out of the bad stuff and could just enter middle right and then pull left.. If you get left it gets a little bumpy but still only a 3.. I think it would be a class 4 walk around.... Bernard is no big deal.. everything is pool drop... and has big open areas to pull over above and below each rapid...
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Old 06-17-2014   #4
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salmon, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 639
sorry and then pull right one watterspout... stay away from left..
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Old 06-17-2014   #5
Pullman, Washington
Paddling Since: 92
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 149
There is a good trail on the Idaho side all the way from the dam to Pittsberg, don't remember how far above the water it is in places though I think it is readily accesible around the two big rapids. There is a trail on the Oregon side most of the way too. The only rapids we ever scout are Wild Sheep & Granite just to remember where we want to be. I don't remember anything tricky in the rapids - it all amounts to lining up in the entry. I rowed the wild section last year with no problems on the first trip with my own boat so it can't be tricky or I wouldn't have made it
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Old 06-17-2014   #6
Walla Walla, Washington
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 144
How old are the kids?
In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is strength, in water there is bacteria.
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Old 06-17-2014   #7
Seattle, Washington
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 5
My youngest is 7, but also wanted to check for friends who have a 4 year old.
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Old 06-18-2014   #8
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 84
The Whitis guide book is great. Highly recommended by me.
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Old 06-18-2014   #9
Meridian, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 113
Definitely a reasonable river for kids depending on your skill level. We are taking our 9 year old this year, but ultimately it is the decision of the individual.

Have you run H.C. before?

What are your dates?

Is your spouse a confident boater/passenger?
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Old 06-30-2014   #10
Seattle, Washington
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 5
I picked up the Whitis guidebook and agree with the comments below. It is well written with good information.

After reading the guidebook, and the posts below, I did want to follow up on Waterspout, as that might not have a walk-around options. My permit is for August 18th, and based upon historical flows (2012 and 2013, which aren't perfect models for this years snowpack), I'm expecting 8000-12000 cfs. Is the right side run available at those flows?

Thanks all for the comments.

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