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Region Details

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

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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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Aquabatics Calgary

Whitewater Kayak Trips or Routes

Lake Louise

Upper Bow
Bow River - A good shorter run close to Banff/Canmore. Possible to link this up with the Pipestone River in the same day if you had the time. There is a canyon partway down on this run that is a definite highlight and the most challenging section, perhaps class IV. After the put in you will navigate a bunch of Class II water. Pay attention after a few km you will reach the canyon. There is a sign marking it nailed to a tree on shore and it is fairly obvious constriction of the river. Scout and portage on river right. The canyon is short but technical. You need to make a few small boofs and avoid a few holes to make it through safely. After the canyon it is relatively mellow again, class II-III. There are two other rapids of note. One is a diagonal ledge that is after the canyon. The last is under the train bridge and is a few chutes created by large boulders. After the train bridge you are almost at the takeout.
Mistaya Canyon
Mistaya River - A committing scenic pool drop run through a deep limestone canyon. Most of the canyon is scoutable from the canyon rim. It is a good idea to get some local beta on this one as it is very committing and portaging is not an option if a log jam obstructs the flow.
Lake Louise to Castle Junction
Bow River - This is an intermediate river trip with continuous beautiful world-class mountain scenery. There are several class 1 to 2 rapids in the first 5 km and only sharp bends & occasional sweepers after that. The rapids can be avoided by novice canoeists by putting in downstream of the highway bridge at the secondary put-in described below. There are 2 sets of rapids: 2 km of class 1 right after starting and the 500-m long class 2 Louise Rapid which starts under the highway bridge.
Hector Lake
Hector Lake - Hiking a couple of kayaks the 2.5 km distance to reach the shoreline of Hector Lake in Banff National Park sound low key. Now factor in a gnarly trail, the 14.5' length of Dagger Stratos touring kayaks, and a swift glacier fed Bow River crossing and all of a sudden commitment, perseverance, and teamwork comes into play. Simon Coward, owner of AQ Outdoors, and I shared in a fabulous day on Hector Lake. We each started off with boat carts but within the first km on this rugged trail both of the carts broke leaving us dragging our kayaks along the trail for the rest of the trip in and out. The payoff for persevering on the trail, fording the cold Bow River and getting to the put in at the end of the trail is immediately realized with the first up close view of Hector Lake. The rugged mountains of the Waputik Range reflected off turquoise glass-like water. Paddle up to the north end of the lake and stretch your legs with a short walk following the stream and a large glacier with a bonus waterfall can be seen. This trip as a paddling location can be done with touring kayaks but be prepared for a workout. It would be best done with an inflatable craft (kayak or SUP). There are 2-3 canoes (not sure of the condition of these boats) at the edge of the shore line that can be used (bring your own paddles and PFD’s). Note: this trip is best done in late summer when fording the Bow River is easier. Doing this hike and attempting to ford the river earlier in the season when water conditions are high, swift, and extremely cold, can be dangerous.

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Paddle Junkies

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