You’ve never really experienced a place until you’ve become acquainted with the local plants and animals. This is especially true for Hells Canyon, a remarkable location with many endemic plants and animals. However, navigating Hells Canyon can be tricky for visitors. Discover seven reasons wildlife enthusiasts should take a boat tour with River Adventures.

1. Explore the Endemic Plant Life

In biology, the term endemic means that a plant or animal is both native and restricted to a particular place. In Hells Canyon, there are several plants that only grow in this one area, which is pretty cool from a wildlife perspective. Some of these endemic plants include:

  • Sagebrush mariposa lily
  • Thinsepal monkeyflower
  • Wax currant
  • Barton’s raspberry
  • MacFarlane’s four o’clock

And while it’s not endemic to the region, Hells Canyon does have one plant you won’t find elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest: prickly pear cactus. You can find the cacti growing all over the rocky slopes of the canyon.

2. Learn About the Best Fishing Spots

Hells Canyon has a thriving aquatic ecosystem that includes many magnificent fish. Some of the most popular are the Chinook salmon and sturgeon that travel through the canyon for spawning. There are also plenty of rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, and steelhead trout. One of the best reasons wildlife enthusiasts should take our boat tour is to learn about the best fishing spots from our expert guides! If you go on a fishing tour, they’ll even help you get a photo-worthy catch.

Catching and Releasing

It’s important to note that you can’t keep all the fish you catch in Hells Canyon. For example, no one can keep sturgeons—they’re a protected species because of their endangered status. However, you can still take photos of the sturgeons you catch, and there are lots of other fish to take home. Just make sure to check the Idaho fishing limits before you head out each season.

3. Look for Hells Canyon Birds

When you ride on one of our jet boats, you’ll get to enjoy an unobstructed view of all kinds of birds. Hells Canyon has an incredibly diverse bird population, including bald eagles, blue herons, red-tailed hawks, osprey, and great horned owls. Several organizations in Idaho even provide a birdwatching checklist to help you keep track of the birds you see. Some lists have as many as 70 different birds!

4. Meet the Local Wildlife

At River Adventures, we know how important it is to see Hells Canyon’s wildlife up close and personal. That’s why we make sure to take you to places where you’ll get to see animals like bighorn sheep and take photos with them. When you take one of our tours, you’re sure to go home with an album full of memorable moments.

5. See Animals in Their Natural Habitats

In recent years, there have been many public conversations about the morality of zoos and aquariums. If you’re concerned about zoos and aquariums, the good thing is that there are plenty of other ways to experience wildlife. When you take a boat tour with River Adventures, you get to see all the birds, beasts, fish, and insects of Hells Canyon in their natural habitats. You’ll see them living just as they have for thousands of years.

One reason we think it’s better to see animals in the wild is because of how you get to see the local ecosystem working as a whole. You get to see what animals hang out together, which fish swim in the same areas of the river, and how the cycles of nature work as one complex system. You even get a better idea of how plants and animals have evolved to live in harmony with each other.

6. Learn About the Region

It’s one thing to experience nature; it’s another to have your experience narrated by someone who knows the local area. Our expert guides can tell you all about the animals, plants, fish, birds, and even nonliving things like rock formations that you’ll be sure to see. When you get to learn about the things you see, they’re more likely to mean something to you when you go home. You’ll have lots of interesting information to help you remember the cool things you saw.

7. Tourism Helps Fund Conservation

If you’re truly passionate about helping wildlife and preserving natural environments for future generations to enjoy, then you need to be a tourist! Visiting national parks and wildlife reservations helps encourage lawmakers to keep protecting these spaces. That’s because patronizing national parks and reservations is like voting with your wallet. By showing up and investing in the local economy, you tell the government that you think Hells Canyon is a place worth preserving.

Hells Canyon Has Even More To Offer

If you love nature, you’ll be happy to know that it’s not just cool animals and plants that you’ll get to see in Hells Canyon. The whole environment is like something from another planet. The geography makes for unique rock formations and amazing photo opportunities. We may be biased, but we think our sunrises and sunsets are some of the most incredible on the planet.

So What Is a Boat Tour?

River Adventures offers two kinds of jet boat tours in Hells Canyon, Idaho. If you enjoy fishing, we offer charter fishing tours with world-class fishing experts. Learn the tricks for catching Chinook salmon or even a proud sturgeon.

For everyone else, we have exciting boat tours of Hells Canyon and the Salmon River. We’ll share our expert knowledge of Hells Canyon wildlife and history. If you take one of our non-fishing tours, we will provide you with lunch and an opportunity to swim in the river. Along the tour, you’ll stop off for photo ops with local wildlife, like the popular bighorn sheep. You’ll also see Nez Perce pictographs and several historic sites like Kirkwood Ranch and Museum.

No matter what level of interest you have in the outdoors, you’re sure to enjoy joining us for a boat tour of Hells Canyon. There’s something for everyone, no matter how young or old. See all the amazing things that Hells Canyon has to offer from the comfort of a jet boat. You’ll likely get to see more of the region in one day than many people see in their entire trip. In fact, you’ll definitely see more than many explorers who found the canyon too difficult to traverse. Contact us today to book your tour!

7 Reasons Wildlife Enthusiasts Should Take Our Boat Tour