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Region Details

Looking for the best places to Rec Kayak in and around Banff? Below are some great routes, trips and resources to help you Rec Kayak in and around Banff.

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Diverse is how we would best describe the paddling in this mountain/prairie province. In the west of the province runs are characterized by beautiful backdrops, continuous rivers and cold water. Everything from mellow multi day floats in national parks to hairy class V creeking is available in the west. As you move further east the gradient drops but there are still plentiful paddling options for those looking to float mellow rivers in really unique surroundings. It is a huge province so don't neglect to look north and south too. A very worthwhile paddling destination in it's own right.

Area Sponsor

Aquabatics Calgary

Rec Kayak Trips or Routes

Banff

Banff to Canmore
Bow River - A medium to large volume run in a very scenic valley. The paddling isn't overly difficult but paddlers should be able to maneuver confidently on Class I moving water before doing this run. The reason being there are often strainers and awkward corners to avoid. There are 3 locations where trips typically encounter challenges. The first is a sharp right turn below the hoodoo's in Banff. Keep an eye out for wood in the river before the corner, as the current is slowly eroding the bank and will push paddlers towards the wood. The second is to make sure paddlers take the right channel after the golf course. there is a split in the river, river left is blocked by wood. There is a large sign indicating the safe route to the right. The third is the area just before the park gates. The river becomes braided with some channels choked off with wood. Keep an eye out to find the right channel to follow. This trip is a fun full day run. If you'd like to shorten it down for an evening or half day run, you can pull out at the end of the golf course.
Castle Junction to Banff
Bow River - A medium volume run, with some fun Class II rapids along the way. Lots of meandering paddling, semi-regular strainers and world class scenery.
End of Johnson Lake Road
Johnson Lake - Usually calm, good for an hour of paddling.
Day Use Area
Two Jack Lake - Usually calm waters. When the wind picks up, it's sometimes difficult to get to the south end & the creek. The depth varies throughout. According to wannadive.net - Average depth 6.1 m / 20 ft Max depth 15.2 m / 49.9 ft. Easy paddling north toward Lake Minnewanka (not connected, there's a big dam). Possible to paddle almost to Johnson Lake Road on the creek under the railroad bridge.
Vermillion Lake Rd OR Banff Canoe Club
Vermillion Lakes - A series of shallow lakes that are part of the Bow River system. The main lakes are joined by small channels which are kind of fun to wind your way through. Paddling from the Banff Canoe Club on the Bow River up Echo Creek is a cool way to access the lakes. Fun for a short paddle and great with kids and family. Lots of opportunities for observing bird and wildlife.

Resources

Banff Canoe Club

403 762 5005

corner of Wolf St & Bow Ave

https://www.banffcanoeclub.com/

Rad Adventures

403-493-9556

Banff, AB T1L1E8, CA

https://www.radventurescanada.com/

Local Paddling Clubs

Paddle Junkies

whitewater kayaking club focused on bridging the gap for adult beginner, novice and intermediate kayaking in Calgary and surrounding area