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. 

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About the Author

Grace Winer


Geologist and naturalist, Grace is a Montanan now living in Seattle. Grace received her degrees in geology (BS and MSc) from Montana State University. Funded by a grant from the National Geographic Society, she pursued her master’s degree in Alaska’s remote Pribilof Islands. Here 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 the foothills of the Cascade Range in Central Oregon. After childhood careers in ski racing, equestrian sports, classical piano, and summer jobs on a dude ranch, she emerged as a unique hybrid of adventuress, hobby farmer, and storyteller. 

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