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Top Canadian Rockies Rivers to Raft

By Jack Newton & Afton Aikens

Get your feet wet on an aquatic adventure ranging from a white-knuckle ride to a family friendly float.

Photo: Rafting in Jasper

Photo: Rafting in Jasper

  • Kananaskis: Class III rapids were rebuilt after the 2013 flood. “The lower section is more interesting than before,” says whitewater enthusiast Daryl Waltz. But don’t fear—this fun ride is suitable for first-timers.
  • Bow: The scenic one-hour float begins below Bow Falls. See the Banff Springs Golf Course, hoodoos and Mount Rundle. But not all Bow River trips are tranquil—the run east of Canmore has class III to IV rapids, a waterfall drop and a 60-metre high canyon.
  • Kicking Horse: West of Lake Louise, this river is one of western Canada’s most popular for rafting. Thrill seekers delight in class IV Portage and Shot Gun Rapids, and the adrenaline-inducing Lower Canyon ride.
  • Athabasca: This Canadian Heritage River was an 1800s fur trade route; views include a canyon and impressive falls. Class II tours suit everyone from toddlers to seniors, with options to paddle or simply float and enjoy.
  • Sunwapta: Adventurous types can find technical rapids on this popular class III river with a steep gradient. Its name even means ‘turbulent waters’!
  • Fraser: This class III river west of Jasper boasts big rapids, churning eddies and views of Mount Robson (the Canadian Rockies’ highest peak). Wide, cascading Rearguard Falls is a highlight.

>> For more Canadian Rockies activities, shops, restaurants and entertainment, read our digital magazine.

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