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America’s deepest canyon is in Idaho: Inside the story of Hells Canyon

Nestled along the Idaho and Oregon border lies one of the greatest natural wonders in North America: Hells Canyon.

Carved by the Snake River, the gorge is ten miles wide and plunges 7,913 feet. That’s 2,000 feet deeper than the Grand Canyon – making it the deepest river gorge in North America.

In 1975, congress designated the 652,488-acres of land – officially making it the Hells Canyon Wilderness. It’s located 30 miles east of Joseph, Oregon, and 10 miles west of Riggins.

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While it includes land from the Payette and Nez Perce National Forests, it’s mainly managed by the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.

On the eastern rim of Hells Canyon lies the Seven Devils Mountain Range – which extends about 50 miles and is one of Idaho’s roughest mountain ranges.

Also in 1975, about 65 miles of the Snake River were designated as part of the National and Wild Scenic River Systems.

“The outstanding remarkable values for which the river was designated include scenic, recreation, geologic, wildlife, fisheries, and cultural resources (historic & prehistoric),” the website notes.

While there are my things to do on the Snake River – like take raft trips and fish, many visitors enjoy the breathtaking views by driving along the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway.

Another way to take in the beautiful views of the wilderness area is by visiting the Hells Canyon Overlook.

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Anna Daly - BoiseDev Reporter
Anna Daly - BoiseDev Reporter
Anna Daly is a reporter for BoiseDev. She's an Emmy-winning journalist, and a professor at the College of Western Idaho. Contact her at [email protected].

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