Gorgeous canyon

The Grand Canyon may get all the newsprint, but Hells Canyon, which spans the Snake River from Idaho to Oregon and Washington, is deeper. In fact, it is America's deepest river gorge, with a maximum height above river level of 8,043 feet.

Hidden away in remote parts of Idaho, Oregon and Washington, the canyon isn't well known, except perhaps among river rafters. But its beauty and majesty are well worth a visit by anyone.

CNET News reporter Daniel Terdiman visited Hells Canyon as part of Road Trip 2009. Click here for the entire Road Trip package.
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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Canyon walls from Heaven's Gate

Perhaps the best view down from high above Hells Canyon is from a viewpoint called Heaven's Gate, which offers views of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, as well as of six huge peaks known as the Seven Devils--the seventh peak is Native American legend.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Down on canyon valley

A look down at one Hells Canyon valley on the Idaho side of the Snake River.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

North along Snake

A look north along the Snake River at Hells Canyon. At its highest point, Hells Canyon rises 8,043 feet above the river, making it America's highest river gorge.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

South along the Snake

A view south along the Snake River deep in Hells Canyon.

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Hells Canyon Dam

An aerial view of Hells Canyon Dam, which, along with damming the Snake River, provides the one bridge that crosses the canyon, in this case from Idaho into Oregon.

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Photo by: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers / Caption by:

Beautiful hillside

A view of a beautiful section of Hells Canyon, on the Idaho side of the river gorge, America's deepest.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Firewatch

At the top of Heaven's Gate is an old firewatch station, from which eagle-eyed spotters began looking for fires in four states in 1924.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Seven Devils

A view of the Seven Devils Mountains, one of Hells Canyon's most notable features.

The road that leads up to Heaven's Gate, from which the best view of the Seven Devils is available, is often closed well into summer, given its height and the accumulation of snow.

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Striped rock

Striped exposed rock on the Idaho side demonstrates the beauty and the geology of Hells Canyon.

The river gorge is popular with river rafters and other boating enthusiasts, but is otherwise little known outside the immediate region in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Deep canyon

Looking across at the Oregon side of Hells Canyon from a mountain pass on the Idaho side.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Vista point

A sign points to the 350-yard uphill path that leads to the top of Heaven's Gate, a stunning viewpoint allowing vistas of four states and the Seven Devils.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Q7 TDI all alone

Demonstrating how few people visit Hells Canyon, the Audi Q7 TDI that CNET News reporter Daniel Terdiman is road testing on Road Trip 2009 sat alone in the Heaven's Gate parking lot near the top of Hells Canyon for over an hour, despite it being a warm summer weekend day.

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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:
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