What do you do when you want to send or receive a letter? Most of us write the letter and then place it in our mailbox or wait for mail to arrive in our box. Almost every day of the week, a mail carrier or truck comes up to the box and delivers the mail. It’s a simple system we all know.

However, mail delivery isn’t simple everywhere. In remote places like Hells Canyon, a truck often can’t maneuver the roads, and it’s too far for a carrier to walk. Keep reading to learn how Hells Canyon residents get their mail.

Yes, People Live in the Hells Canyon Recreation Area

You may have heard of the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area in Idaho and assumed it’s just that—a recreation area. People travel to have fun there. They can’t live there, right?

Wrong. People live in the Hells Canyon Recreation Area and other nearby areas. They live there year round and need mail deliveries just like all other US residents.

Mail Arrives Every Week Via Jet Boat

Since many roads around Hells Canyon are seasonally unavailable, mail arrives via river jet boat. Once a week, the jet boat company under the US mail contract loads the boat with the mail residents are waiting on. Since the river’s current is strong even in winter, the river won’t freeze over, so delivery can always take place.

The round trip is almost 200 miles and takes around 10 hours. Mail delivery has taken place in Hells Canyon for over a hundred years.

Jet Boat Deliveries Include More Than Paper Mail

Although mail delivery has remained in Hells Canyon for over a hundred years, the deliveries themselves have changed. The jet boat and the people who staff it don’t deliver just paper mail anymore.

Like people everywhere, the Hells Canyon residents can order almost anything online for mail delivery. Groceries, pet supplies, and library books are all in popular demand, especially in the winter when most of the roads are unusable. These packages arrive by jet boat every week just like paper mail has for over a hundred years.

You Too Can Experience the Thrill of a Jet Boat Ride

Jet boats aren’t just for mail deliveries. Many people enjoy the thrill of jet boat rides and tours on the Snake River and other waterways around Hells Canyon. If you want to experience the natural wonder of this wilderness and have fun swimming and fishing along the iconic waterways, sign up for a Snake River boat tour. You may even see the mail carriers speed by on their way to make deliveries!

Hells Canyon residents get their mail by jet boat, and you can also enjoy the thrill of a jet boat ride. River Adventures doesn’t have the mail contract, but we can take you on a thrilling tour of the beautiful wilderness, with stops for food and fun activities along the way. We look forward to hosting you on the river!