Hells Canyon, Washington, Idaho, & Oregon

Oct 18, 2018 - National Geographic Quest

We began our journey on the Snake and Columbia Rivers by jet-boating up the Snake River into Hells Canyon, and what a way to begin this adventure! In clear weather and with high spirits, we made our way into not only the deepest, but also one of the most rugged, scenic, and remote, river-carved canyons in North America—Hells Canyon. The origin of the name “Hells Canyon” is a bit of a mystery, but it could refer to the hellishly high temperatures that turn Hells Canyon into a furnace in summer. Our jet boats roared along, swerving around rocks and through rapids, into the heart of the canyon. Rocks, rugged and steep, loomed above us on either side. Along the way, we saw mule deer and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and had many sightings of eagles, other raptors, and waterfowl. 

  • Send

About the Author

Grace Winer


Geologist and naturalist Grace grew up among woods, rivers, and mountains, loving the outdoors, nature and rocks. After high school she became a Registered Nurse and was soon studying midwifery at Queen Charlotte’s Maternity Hospital in London, England. Back in the United States she served as an officer in the USAF Nurse Corps during the Vietnam War. In a major career change, Grace turned to the Earth Sciences and received degrees in geology (BS and MSc) from Montana State University. Funded by a grant from the National Geographic Society, Grace pursued her master’s degree in Alaska’s remote Pribilof Islands. In her study of basaltic volcanism in the Bering Sea region, she investigated the volcanic evolution of St. Paul Island, creating a geologic map, and predicting volcanic hazards in the event of a future eruption. Her knowledge of the Pribilof Islands and the Bering Sea region led to her work as a consulting geologist on St. George Island for NOAA’s Pribilof Restoration Project.

About the Videographer

Ashley Karitis

Video Chronicler

Ashley was raised in Central Oregon where she spent her childhood ski racing, riding horses, playing classical piano, and working summer jobs on a dude ranch. She then attended the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles earning degrees in cinema-television, history, and international relations. Although immersed in the studies of narrative filmmaking, she gravitated toward the process, deeper on-camera conversations, and scientific and human themes explored in documentary production.

Get our newsletter

Join us for updates, insider reports & special offers.

Privacy Policy