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Bow River in Alberta

Trip Overview

Paddled from Bearspaw Dam to Princess Island Park. This is an easy float in an inner tube but a modestly difficult canoe trip. I paddled with my 14 year old son and 6-year-old son. The difficulty was that the river is very quick in this section with rocky (often man made broken rocks) so there are very few places to stop and look over the river before proceeding.

I would not canoe this trip with my little guy again. As soon as we started I noticed that the speed was fast enough that if we overturned I would have to choose between my son or the canoe because the river speed is fast.

You also have to watch to ensure that you find the channels because the speed is fast enough to damage your canoe.

I recommend this paddle to people with a tough canoe and good skills.

You MUST exit before the weir or you will drown. Unfortunately, Calgary put in a weir just downstream of Princess Island Park to divert water to irrigation. If you go over it there is a 90% chance you will not survive.

Accommodations:

Through the city but without much access given speed of river and rocky shore.

Directions:

North from Transcanada Highway 1 over stoney trail bridge. Turn Right onto nose hill drive. Turn first right on nose hill drive. Drive to the river turn right. Drive west as far as you can go along the river (1 mile) and then put your canoe in.
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip