Kananaskis.com - Kananaskis Country Activities & Adventures

The rivers of the Rockies can deliver adrenaline pumping, heart-racing trips, scenic tranquility or both, from Class 4 rapids to gentle paddling and floats.

Being on the water is one of the best ways to experience Kananaskis and surrounding areas.  Learn the facts and features of rivers near Kananaskis and Canmore through to Banff and Golden. 

Our local rivers have some of the finest whitewater rafting around, are popular with kayakers and river surfers, and also have calmer sections for family floats, canoeing, and stand-up paddle boarding (SUP). There are some beautiful nearby lakes for those who want to start and finish in the same place.

Local whitewater rafting companies offer exhilarating guided experiences for all skill levels on the Kananaskis River, Horseshoe Canyon on the Bow River, Elbow River, Red Deer River and Kicking Horse River. 

Many trips have options for lunch, cliff jumping, swimming and photos of your trip. Or try a self-guided canoe and kayak exploration on the Bow River or Barrier Lake. Relax with a gentle paddle on Vermillion Lakes, with picture postcard views of Mt Rundle.   

Local Rafting And Water Sports Companies

Chinook Rafting - Rafting page

Experience the best whitewater rafting trips near Kananaskis, Canmore/Banff from family floats to adrenaline pumping rafting trips. Fun and excitement create memories and bring us together – there’s nothing better than a great day out with friends and family.  

The following companies offer rafting adventures near Canmore & Kananaskis, Banff and Kicking Horse River, departing from Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise or Golden. Visit their website for information on available tours.

Kananaskis Whitewater Rafting

Kananaskis Whitewater Rafting runs exciting whitewater rafting trips near Banff & Canmore on the scenic Kananaskis River.

Lusk Creek, Kananaskis Country, Alberta

Canmore River Adventures

Stunning scenery, new experiences and the unknown around each river bend… All the makings of your next great Canmore adventure. Canmore River Adventures is the only company solely dedicated to offering float trips along the beautiful Bow River in Canmore. Stunning views, inspiring stories, glacial blue waters, local mountain history and maybe even a bear sighting.

Canmore, Alberta

Bow Valley Stand Up Paddleboarding

Learn how to Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) in the beautiful lakes of the Canadian Rockies. Come see what all the hype is about the best new sport on the water. All ages welcome! Group packages available! Rent, Buy, Learn and Tour with us today!

621 Main Street, Canmore, Alberta

Canadian Rockies Rafting

Canadian Rockies Rafting is your ultimate Rafting Company in the Bow Valley: Offering the best options, rates and the best times! With 21 years of fun- no wonder Canadian Rockies Rafting has the best excursions and experiences to offer in the Valley! Our most popular trips are the half-day Whitewater Rafting excursions on the Kananaskis and Bow River - Horseshoe Canyon. Other activities we offer are Bow River Nature Floats in the evenings, River boarding down the Kananaskis, the occasional Kicking Horse Tour and Moose Safari’s in late August and September.

909 Railway Ave., Canmore, Alberta

Alpine Rafting

The Kicking Horse River is renowned as the Whitewater Gem of the Canadian Rockies boasting BC & Alberta's biggest whitewater thrills. From our fleet of eye popping candy red rafts to our trip selection, we've spent the last 30 years honing the experience we provide. The Team at Alpine Rafting looks forward to spending a day on the river with you.

101 Golden Donald Upper Rd., Golden, British Columbia

Kananaskis Outfitters - Rental Equipment

Located in the Village Center next door to the Delta Lodge at Kananaskis we offer high quality rental equipment and guided tours. Summer Rentals include Bicycles, Kayaks, Canoes and Stand Up Paddleboards, Hiking Packs and other items. Winter Rentals include Cross Country Skis, Snowshoes, Ice Skates and Hockey Equipment, etc.

1 Mt.Sparrowhawk Cres, Kananaskis Village, Alberta


Rivers and Lakes in Kananaskis and Surrounding Area

To help you plan the perfect day, we’ve compared the local rivers and lakes in a simple reference guide: available activities, river grades, skill levels and useful info like driving distances, operation dates, washrooms on site, bonus info and what each river is best known for. Whether you’re seeking thrills and spills or prefer to stay dry, nature has just the right river for you!

Fishing is allowed in many rivers and lakes in the area. Check with local fishing outfitters for season dates and licenses. Most rivers are catch and release, while many of the lakes allow you to keep your catch.

River or
Lake
Activities River
Difficulty
Season Adventure
Level
Known For Bonus! Distances Washrooms
Kananaskis River Rafting
Surfing
SUP
Class 1 - 3 May - Oct Mild to Moderate Scenery Swimming Calgary, 85km
Canmore, 40km
Banff, 65km
At tour base
Canoe Meadows Canoeing
Kayaking
Rafting
Surfing
Class 2 - 3 (occasionally 4) May - Oct Mild to Wild Whitewater facility: hanging slalom gates Campground on site. Controlled flow, check river schedule. Calgary, 85km
Canmore, 40km
Banff, 65km
Yes
Horseshoe Canyon (Bow River) Rafting
Canoeing
Kayaking
Class 3 - 4 May - Oct Moderate to Wild Big waves
Movie set scenery
Cliff jumping Calgary, 70km
Canmore, 30km
Banff, 55km
At tour base
Kicking Horse River Rafting
Kayaking
Class 2 - 4 May – Sep Moderate to Wild Canyon scenery
Big rapids
4km stretch of Class 4 water (lower canyon) Golden, 25km
Calgary, 240km
Canmore, 140km
Banff, 115km
At tour base
Elbow River Rafting
Surfing
Kayaking
Canoeing
Class 1 - 3 June Mild to Moderate Alpine scenery Exclusive limited access Calgary area
Canmore, 100km
Banff, 125km
At tour base
Bow River (Banff area) Floats
Canoeing
Kayaking
SUP
Class 1 - 2 May – Oct Mild Gentle water, mountain scenery Canoe and kayak rentals In Banff.
Calgary, 125km
Canmore, 25km
Yes
Red Deer River Rafting
Kayaking
Class 1 - 4 June - August Mild to Wild Foothills scenery Wilderness feel Approx 2 hours from Edmonton,
Calgary, Canmore, and Banff
At tour base
Vermilion Lakes Kayaking
Canoeing
SUP
n/a Spring - Fall Mild Scenic photography Wildlife viewing In Banff.
Calgary, 125km
Canmore, 25km
Yes
Lake Minnewanka Lake Cruises
Kayaking
Canoeing
SUP
n/a Spring - Fall Mild to Moderate Lake Cruises Scenery In Banff.
Calgary, 125km
Canmore, 25km
Yes
Canmore Reservoir (near Nordic Centre) SUP
Canoeing
Kayaking
n/a Spring - Fall Mild to Moderate SUP Vehicle accessible In Canmore.
Banff, 25k
Calgary, 100km
No
Quarry Lake SUP
Float
Swimming
n/a Spring - Fall Mild Family friendly
No dogs allowed
Next to off leash dog park
NOT vehicle accessible
In Canmore.
Banff, 25k
Calgary, 100km
Yes
Barrier Lake Canoeing
Kayaking
SUP
n/a Spring - Fall Mild to Wild.
Rapid wind increases common. Be prepared.
Blue water
Strong winds
Vehicle accessible In Kananaskis.
Calgary, 85km
Canmore 40km
Banff, 65km
Yes
Spray Lakes Reservoir Kite Surfing
Canoeing
Kayaking
SUP
Fishing
n/a Year-round Mild to Wild.
Rough conditions can occur quickly. Be prepared.
Strong winds
Ice fishing
Vehicle accessible In Kananaskis.
Calgary, 130km
Canmore, 30km
Banff, 55km
Yes (Driftwood)

Disclaimer:

The information that we give on any activities is for informational purposes only and not intended to give specific advice. The writer and/or publisher of this website is not responsible for any accidents, injuries, rescues, inconvenience, or loss of life by anyone attempting any of the activities described on this website. It is the responsibility of the reader to use common sense and good judgment to safely enjoy any outdoor activities.

Activities in the backcountry can be dangerous and have many potential hazards. It is up to each individual to know their limits, abilities and level of expertise before attempting any outdoor activity.