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Trips and Routes

Elbow Falls to Boat Launch
Elbow River - A classic local run for Calgary area boaters. About 3kms long with 3 main rapids. The waterfall and slide (rapids 1 and 3) are super fun, the Notch (rapid 2) has an ugly undercut that is in play at medium and lower water levels (fills in around 25cms). For most the Notch is a walk at lower levels. A great run to tie in with another local run like the Sheep, Cataract, Highwood etc, or an awesome pre work paddle.
Boat Launch to Paddys Flats
Elbow River - A small volume run with some play waves and small ledges, also known as the play run. Most of the run is class I-II rapids created by bends and small ledges. At a left turn with an eddy behind a rock outcropping there is a series of small ledges that have re-circulations/boofs on the right side and waves on the left, scout or portage on the left. Near the end of the run there is a steeper rapid with a ledge that can be scouted or portaged on the left. Lines change depending on water levels. Take out river left near Paddys Flat campground (look for a small wooden footbridge after a rock outcrop). Or you can extend the run to Allen Bill bridge. This is however pretty braided and bony in regular and lower levels.
Allen Bill to Bragg Creek
Elbow River - This is a good early season warm up (if there is enough water). Its a tight fast moving river with some smaller waves and ledges. The run starts at Allen Bill Parking Lot. The river meanders around with most of the waves being on the outside corners of the river. For the first 12km of the trip watch out for hanging trees, log jams and strainers. There are a few small waves to play on. The river starts getting better around the 12km mark, at this point you will notice a huge sand/gravel face with a house perched on top where the river makes a abrupt left hand turn. On the corner there is a nice, small surfing wave with super easy entrance. A short distance down-stream the river splits, the majority of the water flowing through a narrow (2 metre wide) channel, if there is enough water, both routes are good, the right hand narrow channel being the best option (make sure you scout this first as there has been many logs blocking the channel in the past). The river will bend a couple more times then open up and there will be another abrupt right hand turn, this is the first ledge, its suggested that you scout the ledge before running it on the right hand side of the river. At this point the river drops significantly, there is a few lines the left hand side being the most difficult, a cheat line wiggles its way on the right hand side. After the ledge the river piles up against a small bluff then turns again to the left. The next 1km to the take out is fast and filled with many small ledges.
Paddy's Flats to Allen Bill
Elbow River - This is a short Class II run that has some fun sections with medium or above water levels. It wa spretty beat up in the 2013 floods so is very braided and lots of random wood. Can be linked with the section above or below to make a longer trip.
Cobble Flats to Elbow Falls
Elbow River - A small to medium-volume run that starts in an open gravel plain and is constricted about half way down into a boulder garden section. The river starts in a wide open gravel flat that makes for a braided stream. In 1 or 2 km there are rapids where the valley walls constrict the flow. After this, there is a pretty little boulder garden. This continues for about 1 to 2 km until the river slows down again before the takeout.
Sandy Beach to McDonald Bridge
Elbow River - An incredibly popular float in the summer for Calgarians. It can be bumper to bumper with recreational tube and rafters on hot summer days. In the spring and early summer there is enough water to make a trip in a kayak, canoe etc worthwhile.
Elbow Springs Golf Club to Weaselhead Flats
Elbow River - Grade 2 water run approximately 13k, 4 hours. Plenty of room for portage or avoiding faster moving water. Recommended skill level beginner/average kayaking. Occasional wood obstacles both under surface and above. Room to avoid both.

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