Hells Canyon National Rec Area, Oxbow

4.5
#129 of 146 in Nature in Oregon
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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Hells Canyon National Rec Area Reviews
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TripAdvisor
  • This out of the way drive has fantastic scenery and the Dams are amazing. We made the drive in one day - but plan to go back and stay in one or more of the campgrounds located along the drive. They ar...  more »
  • We did the drive today and it is awesome; makes some of our Colorado canyon passes a little paltry in comparison. Tomorrow we take a jet boat up the river, so stay tuned!  more »
  • Perfect place to stay. The lodge is a Bed and Breakfast. The rooms were huge, clean, and comfortable. The breakfast was delicious. The people running the lodge are friendly and extremely welcoming. My...  more »

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