One of the most appealing parts of traveling through the Hells Canyon region of Idaho is the chance to see some truly incredible wildlife. Here Killgore Adventures, it’s common for us to focus on what lies beneath the waters of the Salmon and Snake Rivers. But despite being avid fisherman, we’re always looking up and around as we travel on our jet boats, trying to spy some of the many fauna that live in the canyon. Depending on the time of the season you’ll find any number of exotic animals that are so iconic here in the American West.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable wildlife sightseeing opportunity there’s no better way to do it then with Idaho’s #1 adventure company, Killgore Adventures. Let’s learn a little bit more about the animals that call Hells Canyon home.

The Spring Season

As you travel along the Snake River keep your eye out for Canada geese. At this time of the year, they’re mating, nesting, brooding, and raising their chicks. You’ll also see a variety of other waterfowl participating in the same activities during the season including a variety of ducks. Indeed, this time of the year in Hells Canyon is a veritable paradise for birdwatchers. The brilliant melodies of songbirds fill the canyon. Keeping your eyes to the skies will help you see birds like red-eyed vireo, veery thrushes, yellow-breasted chats, and MacGillivray’s warbler.

A quick glance along the river’s edge may result in the sighting of one of the many amphibians that live near the Salmon and Snake Rivers. Boreal toads cough and grown along the bank and Pacific tree frogs clamor throughout the branches high above them.

The Summer Season

From June to August is perhaps the best time for animal lovers to visit Hells Canyon. At the beginning of the season, you’ll see some of the region’s  larger fauna, including deer, elk, and bighorn sheep as they work their way from the lower valley of the canyon to the higher summer ranges. At this time of the year, you may even see elk with their young calves as they move along the river, finding delicious reeds to eat. Coyotes patrol the canyon well great horned owls can be heard flying overhead at night.

For those with a keen eye and just a little bit of luck, you may just find a group of river otters playing in Hell’s Canyon in the month of June. Soaring above them are any number the flying animals from the bird and mammal families. For those with great night vision, you may see the miniscule Western pipistrelle bat floating above your campsite trying to eat all the mosquitoes and bugs. During the day you’ll see Nighthawks and common snipes.

The Fall and Winter Seasons

Animal watching in Hell’s Canyon during the fall and winter seasons is one of the most dynamic times of the year. As animal settle down for the harsh Idaho winters, their habits change as does their food sources. This is an excellent time to see huge groups of elk, deer, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats working their way along the river’s lower trail systems.

At this time, many birds are moving their way south, migrating to warmer climates. However, the Snake River is a great place to view impressive numbers of wintering bald eagles. Drawn to Hells Canyon by the immense rivers, these bald eagles use the river as an endless supply of fish, which keeps them healthy and strong all season long. You might catch a glimpse of the elusive Clark’s Nutcracker that flocks to the region during the winter.

Explore Hells Canyon with Idaho’s #1 Adventure company

It’s safe to say that no matter the time of the year you come to visit us here at Hells Canyon, a trip with Killgore Adventures is far more impressive than a simple visit to your local zoo. If you’re looking for a truly unforgettable way to experience the wildlife of Idaho, consider signing up for one of our world-famous jet boat tours. We’ll take you up and down the most scenic parts of both the Salmon and Snake Rivers ensuring that you get to see the region’s finest wildlife. Book your jet boat tour of Hells Canyon today.