Category Archives: Tours

Fishing Near Shorty Canyon

Fishing near Shorty Canyon on the Salmon RiverHere at our first stop to fish we are about 500 feet north of Shorty Canyon on the west bank of the Salmon River at an elevation of about 1300 feet in North Central Idaho. The temperature is still in the low 30s at a little after 11:00 AM, but we have a bright sun and a cloudless sky and the day is bound to warm up.

Shorty Canyon is approximately four miles north of the beach at the headquarters of Killgore Adventures in White Bird where we began our trip nearly an hour ago. Canyon walls at this spot climb to elevations exceeding 4400 feet on both sides of the river. They are mostly terraced and interlaced with steep gullies, sheer cliffs, scattered trees and shrubs. The landscape is pretty brown this time of year with occasional spots of reddish bushes, green moss and a rare sprout of green grass in protected areas.

The Snake River is about 10 miles to the west. The two rivers flow north side by side for many miles until they are joined when the Salmon River flows into the Snake a few miles south of Lewiston. In some places the two rivers are as close as five miles apart. At other places they are separated by as much as 20 miles.

A series of ridges separate the two rivers, some climbing to more than 4,600 feet in elevation. Topographic maps show a few roads meandering among the canyons, saddles and ridge tops that would be fun to explore on another outing.

The three other members of our party are fishing while I’m shooting stills and video of them for a video project. They are hoping to catch steelhead and I’m hoping they succeed.

For more on Hells Canyon, the Snake and Salmon rivers please visit our web site starting at our North Central Idaho page.

The Salmon River at White Bird, Idaho

Salmon River at White Bird, Idaho.In White Bird, Idaho looking across the Salmon River on a beautiful January 21st with the temperature at 24 degrees. We are about to board a jet boat for a video shoot highlighting the fishing trips offered by Killgore Adventures.

This shot was taken from the beach at the Killgore Adventures headquarters. The beach is just a few yards from the outfitter’s office, motel and RV Park.

Killgore Adventures operates Jet Boat tours and also fishing trips during most months of the year on either or both the Snake River in Hells Canyon and/or the Salmon River. These two great rivers run almost parallel for several miles in north central Idaho and then come together a few miles south of Lewiston, Idaho at the confluence where the Salmon empties into the Snake.

Jet Boat tours typically are run from the Spring through the Fall seasons. Several tours are offered. The most populer is a six-hour tour on the Snake River in Hells Canyon that begins at Pittsburg Landing and runs upstream to the Hells Canyon Dam and visitor center and back. A hearty lunch is included and plenty of drinks are available for thirsty clients including water, soft drinks and sport drinks.

Highlights of the tour include stopping at historical ranches, running the several class IV and V rapids, seeing a variety of wildlife and stopping to wade or swim at beautiful sandy beaches. The outfitter also offers a loop tour of both the Snake River and the Salmon River.

Fishing trips are run on both rivers and the catch could be steelhead, salmon, bass, trout and even the huge sturgeon.

Today, the focus is on fishing. As soon as the boat arrives we will head downstream and stop at several favored fishing holes to catch steelhead.

For more about White Bird, jet boat tours and north central Idaho, please go to our Go Northwest! web site and visit our White Bird page or our page for jet boat tours.

Summer Fun on the Snake River

Summer! What fun we had. Passengers touring Hell’s Canyon take time out for a swim in the Snake River after a jet boat trip up the river to see Hells Canyon Dam and running the exciting Wild Sheep Rapids and Granite Creek Rapids. Want to know more? Check out our video of a Jet Boat Tour of the Snake River from which this scene is taken.

Passengers on a Jet Boat tour take time out for a swim in the Snake River.

Passengers on a Jet Boat tour take time out for a swim in the Snake River.

Hells Canyon Loop Tour: Day 1 of 3

SR 129 Dropping Down To the Grande Ronde River: 4:39 PM

South of the small community of Anatone and the wheat fields,  SR 129 passes the 792-acre Fields Spring State Park on the east side of the highway. This is a camping park providing views of three states and the Grande Ronde River from Puffer Butte.

Beyond the park, the highway soon begins a steep descent down a narrow canyon loosely following the course of Rattlesnake Creek to the Grande Ronde River as seen in the photo below.

Looking south at the highway descending numerous switchbacks.

Looking south at the highway descending numerous switchbacks.

Numerous viewpoint pullouts along the way provide opportunities to stop for photos and take in the splendid views.

Across the river, the highway begins a twisting upward climb through the distant canyon seen in the above photo and becomes Oregon SR 3, the Enterprise-Lewiston Highway, at the Oregon border.

Once out of the canyon, the highway seemingly flattens and runs south almost straight as an arrow to Enterprise, Oregon and the beautiful Wallowa Valley. Along the way it flows through a forest corridor and runs by a pullout that is the Joseph Canyon Viewpoint. The elevation along here, surprisingly, is more than 4,000 feet with a high point of 4,693 feet as announced by a summit sign in the proximity of the intersection of Day Ridge Road.

Having driven a distance of slightly less than 90 miles from Lewiston, we enter the Wallowa Valley with a backdrop of the magnificent Wallowa Mountains in the distance.

Next Stop: Enterprise, Oregon

Hells Canyon Loop Tour: Day 1 0f 3

Lewiston, Idaho: 3:30 PM

Lewiston, Idaho is one of my favorite places for many reasons including climate (particularly in the winter), the amazing topography and the proximity to the Clearwater and Snake rivers and Nez Perce country.

I also particularly like the tree-lined, shady streets of the older part of town in preference to the much newer suburban-like developments anchored by the big box stores seen almost everywhere across America.

Also, there is much to do in the area including history, culture, museums and scenery. I enjoy learning more about the history and people of the Nez Perce Tribe, the Nez Perce War, Gold Mining, and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. I also enjoy exploring Hell’s Canyon and visiting the campus of the Lewis-Clark State College and the visitor center at Hells Gate State Park.

Unfortunately on this trip, we were running late, the afternoon sun was far too close to the horizon and we had another three-hour drive ahead of us.

Next Stop:

Hells Canyon Loop Tour: Day 1 of 3

Viewpoint Overlooking Lewiston, Idaho and Clarkston, Washington: 1:56 PM

Following lunch at Colfax, Washington, we continued south on State Route 195 intending to pass through¬† Lewiston, Idaho toward our day’s destination at Enterprise, Oregon. (An easy side trip is to stop at Pullman, Washington and the campus of Washington State University.)

Leaving the gentle hills of the Palouse, SR 195 rises and falls to rise again at it crosses the border into Idaho and joins US Highway 95 in approaching Lewiston. The highway seems to flatten a bit just briefly and then runs southeast a short distance before curving again to the east. At this curve is a viewpoint on the south side of the highway at a spur which affords views toward the south.

For a person unaware of the nature of the local topography, the view can be a jaw-dropping experience as the landscape suddenly changes. One discovers that the cities of Lewiston and Clarkston lie some 1,000 feet below the highway on either side the Snake River.

In the above photo looking south from the highway viewpoint, the camera has flattened the rather steep 1,000-foot descent. The highway seen in the photo is the Old Spiral Highway descending down from the spur. The Clearwater River is flowing from the left side of the photo to join the Snake River as the Snake exits Hells Canyon and passes between Lewiston on the left and Clarkston on the right.

Hells Canyon Loop: Day 1 of 3

Steptoe Butte provides a 360-degree view of the Palouse of Southeast Washington and the surrounding wheat fields and distant mountains.

Steptoe Butte, Southeast Washington: 11:40 AM

Our first stop on our three-day loop tour of Northeast Oregon and North Central Idaho was a visit to Steptoe Butte (N 47, 01.946; W 117, 17.810) in southeast Washington, which rises to an elevation of 3,563 feet, or almost 1,000 feet above the surrounding countryside.

Steptoe Butte

Steptoe Butte, Steptoe Butte State Park

Hells Canyon Loop: Overview

Driving a loop tour in, through, and skirting the Hell’s Canyon National Recreation Area is an exercise in ups and downs accompanied by incredibly beautiful scenery offering loads of photo ops plus museum visits, history, culture, agriculture, forests, lakes, rivers, mountains and state and national scenic byways.

The tour can start and end from any of the following cities and towns: Clarkston, Colfax, Pullman or Spokane, Washington; Enterprise or Joseph, Oregon; Cambridge, Council, Grangeville, Lewiston or McCall, Idaho.

My trip log from a recent three-day tour of the loop showed a total of 730 miles driven with 15-1/2 hours behind the wheel at an average drive-time speed of 44.9 miles per hour. The entire route was over well-maintained two-lane, rural highways free of any construction delays.

The trip started and ended in Spokane, Washington with only one section backtracked. That section is the 106 miles between Spokane and Lewiston.

You can avoid the backtrack by including Moscow and Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho within the tour. The addition of these two cities adds only about 40 miles and increases the drive time only by about 50 minutes. Added attractions include the University of Idaho at Moscow, and scenic Lake Coeur d’ Alene.

See this Google map for the route as driven. And here’s the Google map showing the inclusion of Moscow and Coeur d’Alene to avoid the backtrack.