Raft the Kananaskis River

Canada Kananaskis River

Added by Nicholas Adam

Scenic and thrilling river rafting the Kananaskis in Alberta.

The river is perfect for first time rafters and families, but the Kananaskis River also provides enough thrills for even a seasoned whitewater enthusiast. You will spend approximately 2 hours paddling, surfing and, if you feel brave enough, swimming in this glacial fed river!

The section of river you will raft down starts at the base of Barrier Lake, which is located about 85km west of Calgary, Alberta. The flow of the water is controlled by the damn of the lake, and can range from a slow trickle, to pretty roaring rapids, so if you're new to the area, best to go along with a local rafting guide, which is what I did.

The rafting guides we went with bring almost everything you'll need to raft the river, so don't worry about that stuff. The part you get to focus on is paddling when the guide says paddle, and to take in the awesome views and beauty of the river as you're floating down it. The section of the Kananaskis that you run is only a few miles, but takes about 2 hours. The guide will stop periodically to let you jump from rocks, or to let you watch the locals surf the natural freestanding wave that is created by one section of the river. The water is a clear, milky, turquoise color. And depending on the time of year you go, the trees can be bright green or, if you go in autumn, can be turning all colors or yellow, red, and orange.

For more information on the guide a local guide company, click here.

Pack List

  • Bathing Suit
  • Towel
  • Sunscreen
  • Waterproof Camera or GoPro
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Kayaking, Photography, Rafting, Surfing, Swimming

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn



Cliff Jumping
Easy Parking

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How to Get There

8 months ago


Guides were great at making sure everyone was comfortable and knew what they were doing. I did this two summers ago and if I had more time I would go back!

8 months ago

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