View of Hells Canyon from the river banks at the Garden Creek Preserve
View of Hells Canyon View of Hells Canyon from the river banks at the Garden Creek Preserve © The Nature Conservancy (Megan Grover-Cereda)

Places We Protect

Garden Creek Preserve | Hells Canyon

Idaho

Explore North America's deepest canyon, home to bighorns, bears and beautiful wildflowers.

It's a canyon so daunting it caused Lewis and Clark to take a detour.  

Today, Hells Canyon retains that wild, rugged character.

The deepest canyon in North America, deeper even than the Grand Canyon, Hells Canyon is one of the most special natural areas in the West. It is also one of the wildest places in the country.

Thousands of native plants can be found here, including some found nowhere else on Earth. The grassland ecosystem over much of its length includes bunch grasses swaying in the breeze and amazing wildflower displays in the spring. To date, nine rare plant species have been identified in the vicinity, including Spalding's silene, western ladies tress and stalk-leaved monkey flower.

Hells Canyon is also home to spectacular wildlife including bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer, mountain lion and black bear. Bird sightings include bald and golden eagles, ruffed grouse, hummingbirds and many raptor species. Recently, mountain quail were reintroduced to this area.

Non-native weeds threaten to destroy wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities in the canyon. The Nature Conservancy has utilized state-of-the-art technology to map and control weeds - preventing new non-native species from being introduced and controlling early outbreaks in pristine areas.

TNC works with many partners in Hells Canyon, including the Bureau of Land Management, the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, businesses and private landowners. Together we have protected over 90,000 acres in this unique landscape.

Garden Creek Preserve

Recognizing the tremendous value of Hells Canyon to people and wildlife, TNC began acquiring property in this area in 1987 so that future generations could continue to enjoy the scenic vistas, clean water, abundant wildlife and world-class outdoor recreation opportunities.

In 1995, TNC transferred nearly 12,000 acres to the Bureau of Land Management. Today, TNC continues to own and manage the 1500-acre Garden Creek Preserve.

All of these lands are open to the public

This area offers unparalleled outdoor recreation, including backpacking, rafting, boating, hunting, fishing and birding.

Dogs are allowed but must be kept under close control. Do not let dogs roam. This is habitat for sensitive wildlife. Please keep dogs at a safe distance from wildlife to prevent conflicts.  

Garden Creek is open to the public for daytime use. This includes enjoying the beach area, hiking, and fishing. Walk-in access only unless prior arrangements are made. Access available to boaters from the Snake River.

The buildings on the property are privately leased and closed to the public.

Facilities: No facilities are available to visitors.