Description - *Note: All information presented is non-seasonal, as per the wishes of the State of Idaho.
Quiet and grassy campsites along the shores of the Snake River await campers to Hells Gate State Park , situated at the lowest elevation in the entire state of Idaho. At just 713 feet above sea level, the low elevation and the long season of warm weather give rise to Lewiston’s reputation as “Idaho’s Banana Belt.”
A large beach and day-use area with a canopy of shade trees and miles of hiking, biking, and horseback trails make the park a popular destination for day visitors as well as campers. A covered shelter and group-use area can accommodate 300 people and may be reserved for family outings, weddings, club meetings or company picnics.
- There are 93 campsites within 100 yards of the Snake River, offering shade trees and grass. Power and water hookups are available at 64 sites. All sites include picnic tables and barbecue grills. There are modern restrooms with showers and a nearby dump station. Campsites and camper cabins can be reserved online or by calling 208-799-5015.
Many miles upriver from Hells Gate State Park, the Snake River winds through Hells Canyon, one of the deepest gorges in North America. This wild and spectacular area is best visited by boat; there are no roads leading through the canyon. Old homesteads, long-forgotten prospector cabins, and Native American petroglyphs offer a fascinating human story in the midst of the spectacular scenery.
The Lewis and Clark Discovery Center features indoor educational displays, a two acre outdoor interpretive plaza along the banks of the Snake River and a beautiful moving stream with sculptures by Artist Rip Caswell. See an original 32 minute film produced From the mountains to the sea; Lewis and Clark in Idaho. Don't miss the Lewis and Clark gift shop while you're at the center.
Lewis and Clark traveled through this area on their journey to find an inland waterway to the Pacific. A new visitor center is planned to open in 2004 at Hells Gate that will tell the story of Lewis and Clark and their interaction with the natural environment of northern Idaho.
Recreation - The Snake River is perfect for personal watercraft, jet boats, power boats and water skiing. Hells Gate Marina has more than 100 slips available on a daily to yearly basis. There is also a public boat launch, store, restrooms and plenty of parking. Boat rentals are available.
Anglers come from all around to enjoy the famous steelhead runs of the Snake, Salmon and Clearwater rivers. The steelhead season usually runs through the fall and winter. Smallmouth bass, catfish, trout and sturgeon provide excitement in the spring and summer. Salmon fishing is occasionally available--the Idaho Department of Fish and Game each year based on the number of fish returning from the ocean.
Pheasant, quail, chukar, hawks, geese, ducks, owls and cottontail rabbits are common residents. Eagles, pelicans, herons, swans, deer, otter and even bighorn sheep are known to visit.
Climate - The climate in Idaho varies with the elevation. The bottom of Hell's Canyon, Boise and other locations at low elevations receive hot summer weather. Temperatures at these elevations often reach 90 degrees or more during the summer months. At the same time the mountains will get mild temperatures with cool nights.
Winters are just as extreme with the mountains experiencing extreme conditions and temperatures. An average of 500 inches of snow falls on the Idaho highlands. Temperatures are known to dip below zero degrees F on many winter nights. The lower elevations enjoy a more mild winter season with less precipitation than the mountains. The sun is a constant throughout the year. Be sure to wear sunscreen and layered clothing in Idaho's unpredictable weather.
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