Upper Bow River Canmore to Hwy 1

A self-supported trip created by windsandandstars

Trip Overview

This is an easy partial day trip. It can be completed at river current speed or boosted with paddling. Start point is in the town of Canmore. There is a public launch and parking lot on the west side (river right) just after the end of the river road bridge. There is parking there as well. The float takes one through a beautiful section of the Bow River Valley. Alberta's Rocky Mountains are in view to the left and right. There are many inviting shorelines and gravel bars to beach and have a snack or a swim. The route is fairly well travelled. There are professional guide rafts during the summer holiday season, and many recreational watercraft users. There is cell phone service along the length of this route. The take out is where the Hwy 1 bridge crosses the river just east of Canmore. The gravel beach just before the bridge is on river right. There is an unlocked gate (please close!) and a car can access this area easily. Be careful departing as one must merge onto the Hwy 1.

Safety Notes

Hazards are few to nil. Immediately after departing the launch, there is an island. Ensure you remain the channel to the right as the left passage has obstacles and in places is impassable. Beware the gravel bars are delicate in places and as the river level drops, some edges may give way. Observe all Canadian and Alberta waterway regulations. Watch out for wildlife as Elk and occasionally deer and bear cross the river.


From late May to early July the snow and ice melt in the Rocky Mountains create extreme high water hazard. The river is swollen and fast, and debris may create hazards. Best keep away at this time. The river also freezes over from late November to early April annually.

Trip Details

  • Trip Dates: 9/11/2021
  • Sport/Activity: Rafting
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

Trip Location