The Snake River (left background) at Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, southern Idaho, U.S. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. The Snake River is the eastern boundary back up to the Tetons. And any time a diver gets in the water, it can be … The upper Snake River, above King Hill, Idaho, is used for irrigation and hydropower. The state will recharge 250,000 acre feet a year. The Snake River is the lifeblood of southern Idaho and a mighty force. Finally, a third cascade of dams, from Hells Canyon to the mouth, facilitates navigation. It’s time to leave the river and let it tumble away without us. And the Snake River and the deep basaltic canyon it carves provide a wealth of outdoor adventures, inspiring vistas, and opportunities for family fun. The northern portion of the watershed is located in what is known as the Northern Lakes and Forest ecoregion dominated by forests and wetlands. The lower Snake River, from Weiser to the mouth, flows through a gorge 1 mile (1.6 km) or more deep known as Hells Canyon, the deepest river gorge in North America. While some sections of the river are 10 to 15 feet deep, others can have depths of 100 feet or more. Map showing the location of the Snake River Plain. The Snake River likely got its name from the first European explorers who misinterpreted the sign made by the Shoshone people who identified themselves in sign language by moving the hand in a swimming motion which appeared to these explorers to be a “snake.” It actually signified that they lived near the river with many fish. Take a deep dive into Snake River dams! But the Snake River is much more than a working river. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. From a lazy swim to water sport to world class boat races you can enjoy it all at the Snake River in Burley. Near Heise the river leaves the mountains and crosses the broad Snake River Plain of southern Idaho, an area covered by lava beds. The Snake River is known for having the deepest gorge in the United States, Hell’s Canyon. The Snake River Got It’s Name From a Misinterpretation. 80 kilometer long, 15 kilometer wide, and 500 meter deeper than the Grand Canyon, this is Hells Canyon, inaccessible, and roadless. The first day on the Snake River in May 2017, and Boyd Norton sits ready for the waves. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Heart Lake Lying in the Snake River watershed west of Lewis Lake and south of Yellowstone Lake, Heart Lake was named sometime before 1871 for Hart Hunney, an early hunter. A Non-exhaustive Key to Major Dams in the Columbia River System. Swinging northwest near the mouth of Greys River, it enters Idaho through the Palisades Reservoir. Principal tributaries below Heise are Henrys Fork (the largest), Blackfoot, Portneuf, Raft, and Big Wood rivers. Over 11,000 years ago, the Snake was a vital source of life for the Native Americans, specifically the Shoshones, that were living along the banks of the river. The main stream is regulated by several dams and reservoirs, the most expansive being American Fall Dam and Reservoir. Dams on the Snake can be grouped into three major categories. Corrections? The middle Snake River, from King Hill to Weiser, Idaho, is used primarily for hydroelectric generation. In the agreement, groundwater users on the Snake River Plain collectively agreed to reduce their groundwater use by 240,000 acre feet a year. By discharge the largest is the Clearwater River; the second largest is the Salmon River. Three federal agencies in charge of managing the operation of dams and protecting salmon from their impacts in the Columbia River Basin have completed a new review of these actions. Burley enjoys one of the most beautiful stretches of the river. The Snake River Plain is a prominent depression across southern Idaho extending 640 kilometers (400 miles) in an east-west direction. Real-time river level gauges for Minnesota's state water trails. Omissions? Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. The Snake River in southern Idaho is a stopover and breeding area for tens of thousands of ducks and geese, which means it’s also a destination for waterfowl hunters. Since the 1990s, some conservation organizations and fishermen are seeking to restore the lower Snake River and its fish population by removing four federally-owned dams on the lower Snake River. Salmon from the Pacific Ocean spawned by the millions in the river. Numerous recreational facilities are located along the Snake’s course, including Hells Canyon National Recreation Area and Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument in southern Idaho. Snake River Canyon is a canyon formed by the Snake River in the Magic Valley region of southern Idaho, forming part of the boundary between Twin Falls County to the south and Jerome County to the north. Most of the irrigation in this section is from tributary streams, principally the Payette, Owyhee, Malheur, and Boise rivers. Interesting facts about the Great Salt Lake, Interesting facts about Lake of the Ozarks, Interesting facts about Fiordland National Park. It is the 9th longest river in the United States. They also made note of the "Snake Indians" who lived along the river, who were actually the Shoshonetribe, and learned that the Nati… Agricultural runoff from farms and ranches in the Snake River Plain and many other areas has crippled the ecology of the river. By the middle 19th century, the Oregon Trail, a pioneer trail of which a major portion followed the Snake River, had been established by aspiring settlers and traders. Fishing the Snake River. The Snake River is the lifeblood of southern Idaho and a mighty force. The Snake River begins in Wyoming, where it starts out as a small river … Canadian explorer David Thompson first recorded the Native American name of the Snake River as Shawpatin when he arrived at its mouth by boat in 1800. The length of the Snake River is approximately 1,735 kilometers (1,078 miles). But it will take time. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The lower Snake River in Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, between Oregon and Idaho. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Shoshone Falls is a waterfall on the Snake River in southern Idaho, approximately 4.8 kilometers (3 miles) northeast of the city of Twin Falls. The Snake River begins its journey from the western side of the state of Wyoming and flows across the Snake River Plain in the southern part of Idaho. The Snake River from its source to Jackson Lake, from one mile downstream of Jackson Lake Dam to one mile downstream of the Teton Park Road Bridge at Moose, Wyoming, and from the mouth of the Hoback River to the point one mile upstream from the Highway 89 Bridge at Alpine Junction. The Snake River watershed includes parts of Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, and many other national and state parks. The fine-spotted cutthroat trout is the Snake River's claim to fishing fame. Turning north, it forms the boundary between Idaho and Oregon for 216 miles (348 km). Sometimes called the “Niagara of the West,” Shoshone Falls is 65 meters (212 feet) high — 14 m (45 feet) higher than Niagara Falls — and flows over a rim nearly 300 m (1,000 feet) wide. Its common depth is normally between 8 ft to 50 ft deep. Shoshone Falls marks the historical upper limit of fish migration (including salmon) in the Snake River, and was an important fishing and trading place for Native Americans. The river supported species including chinook salmon, coho salmon, and sockeye salmon, as well as steelhead, white sturgeon, and Pacific lamprey. Category : Clearwater River Fishing Reports, Lewiston Fishing Guides, Salmon Fishing, Snake River Salmon Fishing We have been home from the Oregon coast now for about 10 days and in that time we have spent some great days fishing for Fall Chinook on the Clearwater and Snake Rivers out of … Tell fishermen the world over that you've been to Jackson Hole and a jealous grin will cross their faces. The Snake River has over 20 major tributaries, most of which are in the mountainous regions of the basin. Still, from the 1860s to the 1940s, steamboats traveled on the Snake River. But in fact the name of the river comes from the Snake Indians who once inhabited this land. That will stop the decline of the aquifer. Still, from the 1860s to the 1940s, steamboats traveled on the Snake River. It rises in the mountains of the Continental Divide near the southeastern corner of Yellowstone National Park in northwestern Wyoming and flows south through Jackson Lake along the eastern base of the Teton Range in Grand Teton National Park. Henrys Fork and Big Wood enter the Snake River from the north. The river then flows along the Oregon-Idaho border before entering the state of Washington and finally pouring its water into the Columbia River at the Tri-Cities. It reaches a maximum depth of 7,900 feet (2,400 metres), making it the deepest gorge on the North American continent. The Snake River Range starts at the southern end of the Grand Teton Mountain Range between Jackson Hole Wyoming and Teton Valley Idaho and is part of the Targhee National Forest. Its drainage basin is the 10th largest among North American rivers, and covers almost 280,000 square kilometers (108,000 square miles) in portions of six U.S. states: Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Oregon, and Washington, with the largest portion in Idaho. The gauges have been interpreted for paddling on a scale ranging from "scrapable" (so low that paddlers may have to get out of their watercraft to avoid rocks); to "very high" (where paddling is considered dangerous and not recommended). Updates? The Snake River is the largest tributary of the Columbia River. Boulders and rock slides have rolled into the river to create the biggest white water rafting rapids in the Pacific Northwest. The Snake River and Teton Range, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Hells Canyon, deep gorge of the Snake River forms part of the boundary between Idaho and Oregon and separates the Seven Devils (Idaho) and Wallowa (Oregon) mountain ranges. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). The Snake River Plain was created by a volcanic hotspot which now lies underneath Yellowstone National Park, where the headwaters of the Snake River arise. Rather it consists of a volcanic pile of the Quaternary Snake River Group basalts.In eastern Idaho, these basalts may be about 1 mile (1.6 km) thick. And the Grande Ronde is 7 feet 2 inches. Background. Eastern Snake River Plain Aquifer. With the wide open river and a mountain backdrop it feels like a touch of heaven. The Salmon River, its largest tributary, joins the Snake near the downstream end of the canyon section. With access to countless holes, streams and the famous Snake River, of course, Jackson Hole is a classic anglers paradise. Snake River, largest tributary of the Columbia River and one of the most important streams in the Pacific Northwest section of the United States. The Eastern Snake River Plain Aquifer north of the Snake River is a remarkable aquifer of great resource and economic significance. In 1976 the Teton Dam collapsed, causing disastrous flooding of the upper Snake River valley. The Snake River is the nation's fourth largest river; 42 miles of it are in Yellowstone National Park. The Snake River’s water quality, and the health of fish, animals, and people that rely on the Snake as a water supply, is also degraded by industrial and municipal pollution, toxic waste dumps, and pesticide and fertilizer runoff. From the northeastern corner of Oregon it forms the Washington-Idaho boundary to Lewiston, Idaho, and then turns west to join the Columbia just south of Pasco, Washington, after a course of 1,040 miles (1,670 km). Twin Falls and Shoshone Falls, with drops of 65 and 212 feet (20 and 65 metres) respectively, are located near Twin Falls city, downstream from Milner Dam. The Snake River is a little more than 1000 miles long and runs right through Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, making it the largest river in the northwestern part of the United States. The Snake river runs more than 1.5 kilometer below the level of the plateau, and compared to the mountains east of the canyon, the depth is almost 2.5 kilometer. Unlike the Columbia River, it was far more difficult for steamboats to navigate on the Snake. It’s aquifer, the Eastern Snake River Plain Aquifer, provides drinking water for 300,000 Idahoans. Exploring the Snake River. A total of fifteen dams have been constructed along the Snake River for a multitude of different purposes. All reviews snake river green belt nice walk japanese garden walking path both sides farmers market great place to walk evening stroll west side early evening across the street beautiful area in town benches geese falls bike jog walkers broadway downtown. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership, This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/place/Snake-River, National Park Service - Yellowstone - Snake River, United States, Northwest Power and Conservation Council - Snake River, National Wild and Scenic Rivers System - Snake River, Idaho, Oregon, Snake River - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). The Snake River Plain Aquifer underlies the Snake River Plain, which extends from near the western boundary of Yellowstone National Park in eastern Idaho to the Idaho-Oregon border where the Snake River enters Hells Canyon (Figure 1 below). From elevations of 10,000 feet (3,000 metres) the river descends to 300 feet (90 metres) at its outflow into the Columbia. It rises in the mountains of the Continental Divide near the southeastern corner of Yellowstone National Park in northwestern Wyoming and flows through the Snake River Plain of southern Idaho, then through the rugged Hells Canyon area via northeastern Oregon and the rolling Palouse Hills, to reach its mouth near the Washington Tri-Cities area, where it enters the Columbia River. The Snake River flowing through Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, southern Idaho. These fish were central to the lives of the people along the Snake below Shoshone Falls. Parts of the canyon are richly coloured in shades of yellow, red, and orange, and in places the walls rise perpendicularly for several thousand feet. About 274 bird species, some endangered or threatened, use the Snake River watershed, including bald eagle, peregrine falcon, whooping crane, greater sage-grouse, and yellow-billed cuckoo. The Salmon is 12 feet 8 1/2 inches. The high plateau was formed in the flood basalt epoch. Snake River salmon and steelhead begin their life’s journey high in the mountains of central Idaho, northeast Oregon, and southeast Washington. After the first irrigation dams on the river began operation in the first decade of the 20th century, most arable land bordering the Snake River was cultivated or turned to pasture, and agricultural return flows began to pollute the Snake. The Columbia River drops 820 meters (2,690 feet) from source to mouth, while the Snake drops over 2,600 meters (8,500 feet) in elevation over a length more than 320 km (200 miles) shorter. We steer clear of the ledge and begin a hike up from the canyon, through deep … Kendrick Moholt A view down on the Snake River from the hike up to Hat Point in Oregon, 1968. The Snake River watershed is located north of the Twin Cities in the St. Croix River Basin and encompasses 1,006 square miles in five counties, including Aitkin, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Pine, and Isanti. The upper Snake River, above King Hill, Idaho, is used for irrigation and hydropower. This is the most recent step in the long-running debate over the management of … Ahead is Snake River Falls as the river finally finds a way to cut through the caprock for good on its own journey to the Niobrara. That will help build the aquifer back up. The Snake River was once one of the most important rivers for the spawning of anadromous fish — which are hatched in the headwaters of rivers, live in the ocean for most of their lives, and return to the river to spawn — in the United States. The river has hundreds of miles of publicly accessible waters and numerous access points, which means nearly anyone can find a hunting spot there and have a chance to shoot some birds. This gorge reaches up to 7,900 ft deep at certain points. When the Lewis and Clark Expedition crossed westwards into the Snake River watershed in 1805, they first gave it the name Lewis River, Lewis Fork or Lewis's Fork, as Meriwether Lewis was the first of their group to sight the river. It’s different in other places, but right here that’s how deep they are. It is arc shaped with the concave side to the north. Figure 1. The canyon ranges up to 500 feet (150 meters) deep and 0.25 miles (0.4 kilometers) wide, and runs for just over 50 miles. Aside from aquatic species, much of the Snake River watershed supports larger animals including the gray wolf, grizzly bear, wolverine, mountain lion, Canada lynx, pronghorn and bighorn sheep. The Snake River is 16 feet 4 inches deep. They then head out to sea, and after several years return to their natal rivers to spawn, an inland journey of more than 900 miles. Runoff from the states of Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington combines in the Snake, which has a drainage basin of some 109,000 square miles (282,000 square km). From elevations of 10,000 feet (3,000 metres) the river descends to 300 feet (90 metres) at its outflow into the Columbia. The canyon has a total length of 201 kilometers (125 miles), along 64 kilometers (40 miles) of which it is more than 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) deep. Susan wrote a review Sep 2020. In the 1950's, the name \"Hells Canyon\" was borrowed from Hells Canyon Creek, which enters the rive… The main stream is regulated by several dams and reservoirs, the most expansive being American Fall Dam and Reservoir. Many factors have influenced the construction of dams along the Snake River. The Snake River likely got its name from the first European explorers who misinterpreted the sign made by the Shoshone people who identified themselves in sign language by moving the hand in a swimming motion which appeared to these explorers to be a \"snake.\" It actually signified that they lived near the river with many fish. The snake river's maximum depth is actually about 7900 ft deep because it runs through one of the deepest gorges in the world! The range extends northwest to Victor Idaho, west to Swan Valley Idaho and south to Alpine Wyoming. Discovering Blue Heart Springs Other northern side streams sink into the Snake River Plain and become part of an immense underground reservoir. From its headwaters to the beginning of Hells Canyon, many small dams block the Snake to provide irrigation water. In Hells Canyon, a cascade of dams produce hydroelectricity from the river’s lofty decrease in elevation over a comparatively small distance. The Columbia River drops 820 meters (2,690 feet) from source to mouth, while the Snake drops over 2,600 meters (8,500 feet) in elevation over a length more than 320 km (200 miles) shorter. It is not a single homogeneous geologic formation. The Snake River is a major river of the greater Pacific Northwest in the United States. More than 11,000 years ago, prehistoric Native Americans lived along the Snake. It reaches a maximum depth of 2,436 meters (7,993 feet), making it the deepest gorge on the North American continent. On the western edge of the state, it is joined by the Boise River. Snake River Rafting. Across millennia, its waters have carved deep canyons in the desert basalt, plunging over waterfalls of … The Snake River’s average flow is 1,553 cubic meters (54,830 cubic feet) per second. Lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to inbox... Groundwater use by 240,000 acre feet a year King Hill, Idaho, is used for irrigation hydropower... 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