Our Daily Sykes #454 – Hells Canyon Looking North From the Future Site of the Hells Canyon Dam

Horace Sykes visited this deep prospect in Hells Canyon by car. At the time, ca. 1949, there were no dams in the canyon. Three were eventually built, and the last of these, the Hells Canyon Dam, was built here. Horace's prospect is from near the present spillway behind which the river is about 150 higher now than it was then. Horace, again, did not caption his slide, but I found the location with another flight via Google Earth. The mountain at the scene's center - with the green top - reaches about 5,750 feet above sea level. The dam is much lower at 1600 elevation. The site is about 20 miles down stream from the Oxbow dam where Oregon State highway 86 reaches the river and crosses it with a bridge. Horace reached his prospect on the now paved road that continues north along the Idaho side of the canyon and includes some of the more exposed driving in the northwest. It is not recommended for someone timorous of heights. The Hells Canyon Dam began producing power in 1967. It was, of course, to the considerable injury of the fish that once made this one of the great spawning paths. It is about 8 miles below the Seven Devil mountains on the Idaho side (to the right) and about 10 miles south of Hat Point on the Oregon side, which Horace also visited and photographed. Hat Point is more that 6900 feet elevation and the Devils reach over 9000 feet. These elevations make this the deepest canyon in North America. Sometime after Horace's visit the Hells Canyon Creek Visitors Center was opened just downstream from the dam and around the first corner or bend in the road that shows here on the Oregon or left side. (Click to Enlarge)
The Google Earth image above-left is recorded (by some computer's calculation) from directly behind (south) the Hells Canyon Dam's spillway. If I have calculated this correctly Horace Sykes slide of the same general scene was taken from a location somewhat south of the computer-position and so now about 150 feet underwater. (click to enlarge)

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