Our full day trip to Hells Canyon Dam was easily the highlight of our trip this summer. We researched several companies and were very happy that we chose Snake Dancer. Gabe has grown up on the river and it showed. All along the way, we met up with locals who told us that he was the best pilot on the river. He shared fun historical facts along the way, and balanced the 240 mile trip with laid back relaxation and the excitement of the rapids. He never rushed the trip - stopping to let us watch a fawn swim within feet of the boat, pointing out petroglyphs, bald eagles, and other wildlife, and even holding the boat steady as we pointed upstream in the roar of the rapids so that we could take photos of the water cascading over the boulders. He kept us fairly dry in the cool of the morning, but we were soaked and having a blast in the heat of the afternoon.
We stopped at a beautiful spot for breakfast, and at lunch, while the other boat companies had their tours eat in the boats, we enjoyed fried chicken under the giant canopy of a maple tree at a historical site along the canyon. Gabe served homemade cookies on the way back.
If you are considering this trip, we highly recommend the all day ride. There is a lot of excitement past the half day turnaround point. Also, consider the ways that the tour company will add to your experience. We passed larger boats that were PACKED with people. I remember thinking to myself how thankful I was for the smaller boat with room to move around. Several other boats had "windows" protecting the riders, but we much preferred the openness of the Snake Dancer. We could reach out and touch the water, see the canyon clearly, and of course, get wet! Who wants to take a trip like this and feel like you are riding a bus?
The canyon is beautiful - just a great trip.
We can't speak too highly of Gabe and his support staff. This is a great company and they offer a great experience. After watching the video, our children want a shot at this trip. We would hire Snake Dancer again without a second thought.
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