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Region Details

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

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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.

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Whitewater Kayak Trips or Routes

Jasper

Falls Run -- Athabasca Falls to Meeting of the Waters/Whirlpool River
Athabasca River - A big water feel class II river with several small play spots and many wave trains. The river runs through some canyon sections with beautiful scenery and lots of potential for eddy practice. The rapids begin right at the put in. Aim right of the house sized boulder and follow the wave trains. Roughly 20 minutes into the run there is a long straight flat section that leads into a canyon. As you enter the canyon, noise from the upcoming rapid echoes and sounds as though you are heading towards a huge drop, this is the Kerkeslin ledges and it is not as big as it sounds. It is a straight forward series of wave trains, the smoothest line is center left. After the ledges there is a 30-45 minute class I float to the takeout. Watch for the Take Out #1(Meeting of the Waters) on the left at the confluence with the Whirlpool river a short time after the Athabasca meets and begins following Hwy 93. Take out #2 is on river right just around the corner from Take Out #1
Upper - Boulder Drop
Whirlpool River - This run is best done in conjunction with the next section downstream: Corrals to S-bend. A one hour hike in with one class IV drop, and a bunch of class II-III rapids with many fun play holes and wave trains. A bit of a pool-drop character with many sections similar to the lower sections of the Whirlpool. The crux rapid is Boulder Drop(IV) located near the start of the run, it is not boat scoutable but good eddies are available on the right and left sides immediately above the drop. ~1km after the put-in the river splits into 2 channels around a gravel bar forming a short grade III rapid on either side. The channels feed back together into a 50m calm section before the horizon line of Boulder Drop. Be aware that it comes up pretty quick if you aren't familiar with the river. This drop is the result of the river being forced between a couple of large boulders, there are a couple of pressure waves and a few holes, pick your preferred line as there are several obvious options for nice clean lines. After Boulder Drop everything is grade II with 2 interspersed grade III rapids(The first runs along a river left cliff, the second is a wave train in a right bend of the river). It is all boat scoutable with lots of one-shot waves, holes, and eddie lines to play in. The end of the upper section is immediately below the second class III rapid after Boulder Drop. Look for a trail and small beach on the river left bank, or continue downstream to the take-out at the S-Bend.
Corrals - Sbend - Meeting of the Waters
Whirlpool River - A low volume glacial fed river that runs most of the year. Great after work run. At lower flows there are plenty of small play holes and eddies for hopping. Character of the run is easily assessed from the S-Bends. Much of the river is scoutable from the road on the way to the put in.
Lower - HWY93A to Mile 5 Bridge
Astoria River - A very continuous low volume river running through gravel beds, boulder gardens, and a short canyon section, eventually meeting the Athabasca river before arriving at the take out. Eddies tend to be small, poorly defined, and sometimes tricky. Channels change frequently with floods and changes in flow. New log jams are common as the river erodes several forested banks along its way. Nearly everything on the lower Astoria is boat scoutable so long as you can catch the eddies you need and you don't try to fit too many boats into them. Looking downstream from the bridge at the put-in will give you a good idea of the overall character of the run.
Mile 5
Athabasca River - A large volume class II run. Starting at the Mile five bridge everything is nice and mellow until arriving at the rapids at Becker's Chalet where things pick up into a class II wave train through the s-bend. Just past the s-bend on the left side of the river is Becker's hole which is a fun play spot at certain flows. After Becker's rapid are a few more rapids involving big wave trains and small holes here or there until the Alpine Village take out. From Alpine Village to Old Fort Point is quite mellow.
Upper
Astoria River - The Astoria will begin to take off in a continuous bed of boulders less than half a kilometer from the put-in. Depending on the flow, either there will be some bumpy sections or you will be wanting to space yourselves out as you begin to speed down a ribbon of white. Don't be too surprised if you can't find an eddy able to hold more than one kayak. If the water is high you will find yourself in an endless but manageable torrent of whitewater making lots of quick technical moves and hopefully keeping your kayak pointing downstream. After about 5km, the river becomes even steeper and it is time to begin looking for a steep left sweeping turn that ends in a sharp right corner at the canyon entrance drop known as the Howler. You can get out on the left well above this section and walk down to the entrance of the canyon to scout. If the canyon entrance drop looks really nasty, this short but intense canyon will contain several very difficult lines including a river wide hole located just downstream of the entrance. A bail out option is to head up the river left slope and portage the entire final canyon section. This option is not as bad as it looks and can be done in less than an hour although the mountain slope is fairly steep. The run ends in a beautiful pool backed up by a small diversion dam perched on the edge of an unrunnable walled waterfall. Exit left and carry your boat down the dirt road and you will come to the main road (takeout) and bridge that crosses over the Astoria. If you haven't had enough you can put back in and run 3.5km more of the Astoria as it flattens out into grade II before joining with the Athabasca River Valley.
Stanley Falls to 93N
Beauty Creek - Steep pool drop creek. All of the drops can be scouted on the hike up. For the most part it is possible to pick and choose which drops you would like to run, however a rope is essential unless you have ninja skills to get out of the canyon in certain places, including the take out. Put in below Stanley Falls (the beautiful ~20m drop at the top of the canyon), which has yet to be run but may be possible. There are 8 drops and slides to the take out. 1. Stanley Falls 2. Double Drop/Cascade - a slide/drop with a ledge halfway down pushing into an undercut river left. Watch your spine at low flows. 3. Lumbarsis - 10m vertical into a pool with an undercut on the left. Once again, watch your spine. After Lumbarsis the river enters a tighter canyon which essentially commits you to the next few drops 4. Sloper - a 5m steep drop into a hole with varying stickiness depending on flow. 5. Cannon Fodder - a drop over a log jam. At really low flows it may just be a log jam. 6. The Second Falls - A super sweet auto boof into a pool if you can catch the left side outcropping. After this drop it is possible to exit the canyon. 7. Hat-Trick - a triple drop with some mank that torpedoes you out the slot at the bottom into yet another pool. 8. Sketchy triple drop seen in Twitch - 2m verticle into a hole, into a slide, then off a 5m drop into the pool. Exiting the canyon at this point requires at least a hand line. Below the eighth drop the canyon becomes super tight and extra log choked grade VI. Portage the canyon and put in at the remains of the bridge to get back to the highway.
Canyon
Poboktan Creek - An awesome creek run with a couple quality drops and some challenging continuous boulder gardens. The bulk of the features are contained in a short canyon and they are quite committing. It is challenging to set safety in some spots. The run is a hike-in on a very well maintained horse trail. Probably not worth a long drive itself, but if your in the area for Beauty Creek or Astoria, Poboktan should be in and is totally worth doing. There is one drop that is likely a portage for most folks. Although most things can be portaged with effort, come expecting to paddle Class V.
Upper Brazeau River
Brazeau River - An epic multi-day experience along the boarders of Jasper and Banff national park through remote backcountry wilderness earned via fifteen km hike-in. Moments of scenic bliss are interrupted by numerous canyons containing excellent whitewater and waterfalls. This is in a national park so book in advance (for more info. see notes). Due to the nature of the canyons, if your trip experiences higher flows chances are you will be adding some extra walking to your trip with arduous portages. This trip, although rewarding, is a serious undertaking. Use best judgement based on the ability level of your TEAM.
Upper
Fiddle River - A 4.5km hike over a mountain pass make this a not often done run. It is a committing run through limestone canyons. The run itself is about 13km long.
Highway 93 to Above the Falls
Sunwapta River - Fairly continuous grade II with some grade III interspersed. Scenic views and ice cold glacial run off. Plenty of playspots and eddies. High water yields pressure waves and a few holes. Low water creates technical moves and more playspots. NOTE: Be sure to catch the takeout as the unrunnable Sunwapta Falls is just around the corner.

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