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Hells Canyon, Oxbow

Categories: Canyons, Nature & Parks
Inspirock Rating:
4.4/5 based on 15+ reviews on the web
Hells Canyon is a 10mi wide canyon located along the border of eastern Oregon, eastern Washington and western Idaho in the United States. It is part of the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area and is North America's deepest river gorge at 7993ft.The canyon was carved by the waters of the Snake River, which flows more than 1mi below the canyon's west rim on the Oregon side and 7400ft below the peaks of Idaho's Seven Devils Mountains range to the east. Most of the area is inaccessible by road.GeologyThe geologic history of the rocks of Hells Canyon began 300 million years ago with an arc of volcanoes that emerged from the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Over millions of years, the volcanoes subsided and limestone built up on the underwater platforms. The basins between them were filled with sedimentary rock. Between 130 and 17 million years ago, the ocean plate carrying the volcanoes collided with and became part of the North American continent. A period of volcanic activity followed, and much of the area was covered with floods of basalt lava, which smoothed the topography into a high plateau. The Snake River began carving Hells Canyon out of the plateau about 6 million years ago. Significant canyon-shaping events occurred as recently as 15,000 years ago during a massive outburst flood from Glacial Lake Bonneville in Utah.
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  • I have been to Hell's canyon 4 times in the past 18 months. In that time I have both driven through a good portion of the canyon and hiked several of the trails - all in the late summer / early fall t...  read more »
  • This area was much prettier than I expected. The Hells Canyon Overlook was truly amazing. The wildflowers were blooming everywhere, hills were colored in pink, purple, white and yellow. The green hill...  read more »
  • I am blessed to only live 17 miles from Hells Canyon and love to visit daily if I can get away from the ranch. There is just something so peaceful about being in the canyon with family and friends and...  read more »
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