River Rafting in Banff National Park
Scenic floats and exciting white water rafting await!
The Canadian Rocky Mountains offer exciting whitewater rafting adventures for beginners and experienced rafters alike.
The navigability of a river is divided into five different classes for river rafting. Class 1 is the mildest of rivers, in which raft occupants float from launch to shore. Class 2 involves some bumps and jolts, but is still safe for most family situations. Class 3 is starting to be pretty challenging. Class 4 you better know what you’re doing. Let’s not even talk about Class 5.
Any of the local tour operators will assist you with your excursion, offering half-day, full-day and multi-day whitewater tours. You’ll need a swimsuit and a towel, a warm change of clothing, shoes and—for multi-day outings—camping gear. Some rapids are more difficult than others—get information and plan your trip around those stretches of river you can safely navigate. For reasons of safety, some age and weight restrictions apply. Whether you shoot the rapids in a heavy-duty raft, or glide the peaceful stretches in a canoe, the surrounding shale peaks will inspire awe and spiritual abandon.
With Banff Float Trips, you can sit back, relax and take in the serenity and peaceful beauty of Banff and the Canadian Rockies! Rocky Mountain Raft Tours offers environmentally friendly, scenic, guided float trips on the Bow River within Banff National Park. Families, seniors and children are all welcome to join. Our rafts are customized with elevated floorboards, so your shoes even stay dry!
Many tour companies offer slow and scenic floats on the Bow River, where you can sit back and enjoy the grandeur of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. A leisurely river float offers the opportunity to view wildlife, such as beaver, elk and birds of prey. Most of the river guides provide interesting local and natural history. Some tour companies offer canoe rentals, as well as rafts for the more tranquil sections of the river in Banff National Park.
Horseshoe Canyon, on the Lower Bow River, provides grades 3 and 4 whitewater rafters the most spectacular scenery Southern Alberta has to offer. In addition, half-day, first-timer and family thriller trips are available through many area rafting tour companies. Nestled in the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies, Horseshoe Canyon is within easy reach of Banff, Canmore and Calgary. Rafters will level in the solitude of the deep shale gorge with excellent opportunities to see large birds of prey.
Just on the edge of the Canadian Rockies lies the Kananaskis River in beautiful Kananaskis Provincial Park. Families and adventure groups enjoy paddle-rafting the whitewater, rated grades two and three. Half-day tours are a popular way for beginners to discover the thrill of the whitewater experience. Rafters will enjoy some of the most scenic mountains in the Rockies’ eastern ranges.
Offering a greater challenge, the Kicking Horse River is one of the most popular whitewater adventures in the Canadian Rockies. Beginning 90 minutes outside the Town of Banff, at the boundary of Yoho National Park, an average Kicking Horse River trip will take you through a complete range of rafting experiences, from the leisurely float past tranquil river banks to the whitewater roller coaster in the canyons, over the course of three hours, ending just outside the town of Golden. River rapids range in difficulty from a grade 2 to 4.
Hydra River Guides has been introducing visitors to the thrills of rafting on the Kicking Horse River for 28 years. Aside from featuring certified guides, they provide river gear, BBQ lunch and optional transportation.