Friday, July 20, 2012

Seeing Hells Canyon from Both Sides

We're taking a little family trip to Idaho next week with the daughter and a couple of grands. On the way there, we plan to look down into Hells Canyon from both the Oregon and Idaho sides. For those who don't know, Hells Canyon is home to the Snake River and separates northeastern Oregon from the middle of the western edge of Idaho. And while it may not be as well-known as the Grand Canyon, according to the Forest Service, Hells Canyon is actually the deepest river gorge in North America. (NOTE: Hubby says that Kings Canyon is deeper and he's usually always right about this kind of thing, so maybe Hells Canyon is really second.)

So where exactly are we going to view this wonder from?

Hells Canyon Overlook - Just a couple of miles off the paved Hells Canyon Scenic Byway about 30 miles from Halfway, Oregon, the Hells Canyon Overlook provides a nice view from 5,400 feet. Apparently you can't see the Snake River from here but look instead into one of the side canyons. Good enough!

Heavens Gate Lookout - Located 17 miles up a steep, single-lane gravel road just south of Riggins, Idaho, the Heavens Gate Lookout provides a stunning view of Hells Canyon from 8,100 feet. And if that's not reason enough to make the drive, you can also see four states - Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Montana. Of course, I don't know how you'd know where one state ends and another begins...

We'll be doing some serious gravel road driving to see these sites but how is that different from the miles and miles of dirt I travel every time I leave home? It's not. In fact, I'll probably prefer it to the highway and will definitely prefer it to the freeway. And once we're home with pictures, I'll add a few to this post.

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