Hells Canyon

A remote 40+ mile trail through Hells Canyon National Recreation Area in northeast Oregon. The deepest canyon in North America provides amazing desert scenery, wildlife and solitude. Multiple one-way and loop options are available in combination with the nearby High Trail and Western Rim Trail.

getting there

There are several ways to access the Snake River Trail through Hells Canyon. There are trailheads up high on the western canyon ridge at Freezeout (Forest Road 4230) and Hat Point (Forest Road 4240) and down low on the Snake River at Dug Bar (Forest 4160). Road conditions and snow conditions vary—inquire beforehand. Access is also available via jet boat from Lewiston, ID or Dug Bar, OR. Various out-and-back, one way trips, and loop trips can be done using combinations of drive-in car trailheads and a jet boat shuttle.

on the trail

A 41 mile trail along the Snake River of Northeast Oregon between Dug Bar and Battle Creek.  There are two parallel trails up the west canyon wall from the Snake River Trail.  This first is the High Trail (sometimes referred to as the Bench Trail) about half-way up the canyon wall and the second is the Western Rim Trail at the top of the canyon rim.  These can be used in conjunction with the Snake River Trail to compose numerous loop trip itineraries. 


  • Guidebook: Backpacking Oregon, 3rd ed. by Douglas Lorain (Wilderness Press 2018). Has excellent, detailed descriptions of these trails and all the connector trails as well.
  • Suitable Activities: Backpacking
  • Seasons: April, May, June, July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Length: 41.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 6,000 ft
  • 1,500 ft
  • Land Manager: Wallowa-Whitman National Forest
    Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, Wallowa Valley Ranger District (WWNF)
  • Parking Permit Required: None
  • Recommended Party Size: 6
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
  • USFS Hells Canyon National Recreation Area
Trip Reports

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Grand Hells Canyon Loop
  • Hells Canyon, Snake River Trail
  • Hells Canyon, Western Rim Trail
  • Hells Canyon, High Trail
  • Hells Canyon, Bench Trail
  • Hells Canyon, Snake River and Western Rim Loop
  • Hells Canyon, Snake River and High Trail Loop
  • Hells Canyon, Snake River and Bench Trail Loop

There are no resources for this route/place. Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.