Whitewater Rafting on the Bow River

Raft the Bow River!

Banff Rafting: The Whitewater Rapids of the Bow River

The Bow River is one of the preeminent rivers of the Canadian Rockies and Western Canada, particularly when it comes to whitewater rafting and kayaking – it’s one of our favorites to raft, too! From its beginnings in the Bow Glacier and the Wapka Icefield, this beautiful river winds its way through the province of Alberta, running past the Village of Lake Louise and right through downtown Banff, then Canmore, and then makes its way to the city of Calgary.

If sightseeing is your thing, there is no better way to experience the wonder and beauty of Banff National Park and the alpine majesty of the Canadian Rockies than a float trip on the Bow River. Over time, the Bow River carved out Horseshoe Canyon southeast of Canmore, where the bulk of the river’s Class III and Class IV rapids can be found. Above the canyon less-intense trips and float trips are available; in fact, the Bow River above Banff is popular with canoeists and flat-water kayakers as well, not to mention fishing enthusiasts. If you’d like to do some bird watching, the Bow River’s riparian habitat is home to some 260 species of birds. And of course if you want to add some excitement, there is the powerful hydraulics and drop offs that make up the rapids of Horseshoe Canyon.

And the beauty of rafting the Bow River is its proximity to Lake Louise, Banff, and Canmore – any of these towns make a perfect base for you organize your Banff National Park and Canadian Rockies vacation. The rafting season on the Bow River runs from May to September, but the melting snow tends to make for the best rafting – if big water is your thing – in the late spring and early summer.


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