ALBERTA – Canada – From the raging rapids of the Kicking Horse River in Banff, to the family-friendly, mellow rapids of the Athabasca River, Alberta has whitewater rafting adventures for rafters of all experience levels. Read on for our breakdown of rivers in the Banff, Calgary, and Jasper areas of Alberta, Canada.
The Kicking Horse River
Raft some of the best rapids in the Canadian Rockies on the Kicking Horse River, located near Banff and Lake Louise. With rapids ranging from Class II to Class IV+, the Kicking Horse offers rafters the choice between tranquil float trips and adrenaline-pumping rides in the Lower Canyon. The Kicking Horse River is also a great place to spy wildlife in Alberta, Canada. Depending upon the time of year, it is not uncommon to see moose, deer, elk, bears and mountain goats on the banks of the river.
The Kananaskis River
The Kananaskis River is ideal for beginners, but has enough thrills to keep seasoned rafters entertained. Accessible from Banff, Canmore, Edmonton and Calgary, the Kananaskis River is fun for the whole family.
A great start for novice rafters, the Elbow River provides rafters with a lazy, two-hour float near Calgary, Alberta. Start at Sandy Beach, which has a shallow access point, making it easier for both kids and adults, before ending at the 4th Street bridge. Rafters looking to add some difficulty can ride the Elbow all the way to the Bow River, but know that this route should be made in early summer, before the water levels sink too low.
Whitewater raft through shale canyons on the Horseshoe Canyon in Calgary, Alberta. Offering spectacular scenery and up to Grade IV rapids, Horseshoe Canyon is a must-visit for adventure seekers on vacation in Alberta, Canada!
“Sunwapta” was named by the Stoney Indians and it’s name means “turbulent river.” Thanks to numerous rapids and a steep gradient, Sunwapta lives up to it’s name. Located within Jasper National Park, this Class III river offers breathtaking scenery and ample wildlife viewing. Visit mid-June to late July for the high-water season.
Gear up for family fun on mellow rapids of the Athabasca River in Jasper National Park. The scenic beauty of the Athabasca River and it’s historic role in the fur trade have made it a designated Canadian Heritage River.
Navigate raging rapids in the shadow of Mt. Robson on the Fraser River in Jasper, Alberta. Spot wildlife and seasonal spawning salmon during lulls in between turbulent rapids and swirling eddies. The “Mighty Fraser” is one of the top rivers for whitewater rafting in Jasper, Alberta.
More of the Best Things to Do in Banff and Jasper, Alberta
You may have come to the Canadian Rockies for the whitewater adventure, but don’t leave before you get to experience more of what makes the Canadian Rockies a top vacation destination. Explore Banff National Park or Jasper National Park, discover the beauty of Lake Louise, or make the most of your time with a tour from Jasper Vacations or Banff Travel. No matter which activity you choose, you’ll be glad you stayed to experience more of the Canadian Rockies.