Alberta has an abundance of natural rivers for all abilities. The foothills and mountain parks have the highest density of whitewater, but there's some hidden gems in the prairies and northern regions. Most clubs run trips to various rivers and is the best way to get acquainted.
PaddlingMaps is an amazing resource for Rivers and Lakes in Alberta and beyond
Alberta Rivers App up-to-date river levels and alerts in Alberta
River App is a great app to get up-to-date river levels around the world
Make sure to CLEAN - DRAIN - DRY your equipment. Information for jurisdictions within Alberta can be found HERE.
The Alberta Whitewater Association supports the development of Whitewater Features, Parks and other paddling facilities around the province as well as maintaining access to your local runs and destination locations. The Tourism Industry Association of Alberta endorses building new whitewater infrastructure in their 6 Action Items from the 2021 Crown Land Recreation Survey.
Kananaskis Whitewater (click for more detail)
The AWA has been working on developing facilities for whitewater paddling since 1984 when they undertook the first development of a whitewater slalom course at Canoe Meadows on the Kananaskis River. As a dam released river, we get consistent flow rates throughout the year, with the timing dependant on run-off, and electricity production variables. In partnership with Parks, Alberta Environment, Kananaskis Improvement District this recreation and sport facility has been a great success. The Slalom race course has been used for numerous National and International races since 1988. Bow Valley Kayak Club and Alberta Slalom Canoe Kayak have storage on-site to aid in programming and events.
Harvie Passage Whitewater Park (click for more detail)
The AWA was involved in the 20yr process to get Harvie Passage Whitewater Park built (2011), and then re-built following the 2013 floods. AWA continues to sit on the management consultation committee, advocating for an open and safe facility that is being used to its potential. The slalom course is managed by Alberta Slalom Canoe Kayak.
Bow River Access
Calgary River Users Alliance (CRUA) is composed of more than a dozen non-profits and businesses with recreational interests in the Bow River basin. In 2017 the Calgary River Access Strategy was unanimously approved by City Council after being prepared and brought forward by the CRUA. Since then multiple new access ramps and hand launches have been constructed within the City, some with support from grants applied for by CRUA members. CRUA is also a recognized stakeholder in the Harvie Passage Task Force.
Bow River - Ghost to Bearspaw Access - CRUA Proposal
- Ghost Dam put-in - Access was closed in 2020 by TransAlta. Since 2021, the gates have remained open, but no parking is available on site.
- Wildcat Gas Plan - Private road to river is locked
- RR51 - Steep embankment needs modifications
- Bearspaw - Haskayne Legacy Park needs access; South side could use improvements after stairs were removed in 2023
Boulder Run Whitewater Park
Built to offset whitewater lost due to the Oldman Dam, this hidden gem has seen National Championships, Alberta Summer Games and is regularly used by clubs in the area. Pinch O Crow Creekers is working to rebuild the slalom course (wiped out in 2013) and build a clubhouse for their programs.
- Future WW Projects -
Lead by the Cochrane Tourism Association, Alberta River Surfing Association and AWA, the aim it to bring an inland adjustable wave to Cochrane that will recover it's capital output in three years. Driven by economics and an interest to put Cochrane on the map, this amazing project goal is to produce the perfect wave. In the news
Cochrane to Sundre - Travel Alberta Destination Development
Travel Alberta has indicated that river access and amenities is a high priority in this region. Further development is likely in order to encourage local and international tourism.
Based on the lucky feature at 10th St Wave, this park would generate revenue and hype within the downtown core. This 2023 Project is being led by the City of Calgary with ARSA with AWA's support. Check out this interesting study that the City of Calgary contracted about Instream Gravel Management.
Lethbridge Whitewater Park
The Lethbridge weir is unsafe and unnavigable. Creating a connected river trail all the way through Lethbridge, with a whitewater parks as stop along the way, is the goal for the Lethbridge River Recreation Society.
- Existing Permanent Club Facilities -
Rundle Park & Buena Vista Park - Edmonton
Managed by the Edmonton Paddling Centre for the use by all of the Edmonton area clubs. Expanded storage, polo pitch, slalom gates, and river access (at Buena Vista).
Western Irrigation Canal - Calgary
Home to Bow Waters Canoe Club and Waterwerks Kayak Club. Multi-use clubhouse, dock, eddies, slalom course. The channel flows during the irrigation season, usually May 1 to October 1.
Cottonwood Kayak Club facility
Private gravel pit nestled alongside the Red Deer River, complete with river access, pond with polo pitch and seacan storage.
Muskoseepi Park Club Facility - Grande Prairie
Pond, creek, polo and storage on-site