There’s the Grand Canyon, and Waimea Canyon, and then there’s Hells Canyon, America’s deepest river gorge. This dramatic place on the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway is a yet to be discovered wonder by most of American travelers. More than 19 of the mountain peaks in the Wallowa Mountains rise above 9,000 feet in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Right east of there, the land cracked open to reveal the great cleft of Hells Canyon and the wild waters of the Snake River. Leave from the quaint mountain town of Joseph for your first look at Hells Canyon at the Hells Canyon Overlook. You can’t see the Snake River from here, but the gorge is stunning — more than a mile deep. To really experience the grandeur of the canyon from river level, sign up for one of the area’s rafting trips or jet-boat excursions, which descend through the canyon and tackle the Snake’s exhilarating white-water rapids.
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