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Where to Paddle in Alberta

 

Alberta River Basins

Alberta Watershed Map

 

Online Camping Resouces

For information on booking campsites in Alberta Provincial Parks check out the Alberta Parks Online Campground Reservation site.

Online Tripping Resources

Canadian Canoe Routes - Alberta

 

Alberta Paddlers Guidebook

 

 

Mark's Guide for Alberta Paddlers 2'nd Edition

by Mark Lund
©2014

Guidebook is 8½" x 11", spiral coil binding, 250 pages

Mark's Guide For Alberta Paddlers (Second Edition Revised & Expanded) — this guide includes 68 reach reports for Alberta's rivers and lakes, stretching from Milk River in the south to the Peace River in the north, from the Cold River in the east to the Kootenay River in the west. All grid references in UTM format.

Mark's Guide Table of Contents with links to sample reports

Note:

Some of the following trip information is provided with permission from Mark's Guide. You can purchase the full Hardcopy of the guidebook on our Online Store buy

 

Lake Paddling & Tripping

Lake Tripping: Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park


Lake Tripping: Lakeland Provincial Park

North Saskatchewan River Basin

North Saskatchewan River: Nordegg to Drayton Valley

  • Rating: Intermediate
  • Paddle Alberta Alberta River Guide: North Saskatchewan River: Nordegg to Drayton Valley Map $10.80 buy
    • Class I – II   A high volume river that flows through the foothills region of forested valleys and river characterized by ledges, wave trains and rock features. From Nordegg, Bridge through The Gap and many rough water stretches toward Saunders, Horburg and Rocky Mountain House. Then Baptiste River, Abraham’s Gates, Brazeau River, Lodgepole, Buck Creek and then on to Drayton Valley.

Additional References, Books: Mark’s Guide for Alberta Paddlers 2nd Ed.

 


North Saskatchewan River: Drayton Valley to Devon

  • Rating: Novice to Intermediate
  • Reach Report by Mark Lund: North Saskatchewan River: Drayton Valley to Devon
    • Class I  , occasionally, and especially after floods, log-jams, sweepers and debris can be a problem. Novice River with good leadership, otherwise Intermediate River. Pleasant semi wilderness and pastoral scenery, good fishing and wildlife viewing and camping along the way.
  • References, Books: Mark’s Guide for Alberta Paddlers 2nd Ed.

 


North Saskatchewan River: Devon to Edmonton

  • Rating: Novice
  • References, Books & Maps:

    Go Trekkers River Map: North Saskatchewan River: Nordegg to Drayton Valley $8.75 buy

    City of Edmonton — Free River Recreation Guide PDF icon

    Mark’s Guide for Alberta Paddlers 2nd Ed.


North Saskatchewan River: Edmonton to Saskatchewan Boundary

  • Rating: Novice
  • References, Books & Maps:

    Go Trekkers River Map: Edmonton to Pakan $11.75 buy

    Go Trekkers River Map: Pakan to Myrnam $11.75buy

    Go Trekkers River Map: Myrnam to Saksatchewan $11.75buy

    Mark’s Guide for Alberta Paddlers 2nd Ed.

South Saskatchewan River Basin

 

South Saskatchewan River: Grand Forks to Estuary, Saskatchewan

  • Rating: Novice
  • Reach Report by Mark Lund: South Saskatchewan River: Grand Forks to Estuary, Sask.
  • Additional References, Books:
    Prairie River: A Canoe and Wildlife Viewing Guide to the South Saskatchewan River book
    $13.70 buy
    from Grand Forks, Alberta to Estuary, Saskatchewan.
    2nd ed. (Print — Non-Fiction)
    Bulk orders should be purchased through FNA Nature Alberta.

 

Bow River: Calgary to Carseland

  • Rating: Novice
  • Reach Report by Mark Lund: Bow River: Calgary to Carseland Dam
  • Paddle Alberta Alberta River Guide: Bow River: Ghost Dam to Carseland Map $10.80 buy
    • Class I – I+   Features spruce and aspen forests to rolling grasslands. From Ghost Dam through Cochrane, Calgary then Policeman’s Flats, the Highwood River, McKinnon Flats and on to Carseland.  Includes the Lower Elbow River. Ghost Dam to the Gas Plant is the most technical stretch. Be aware of the Weirs in Calgary and Carseland.
  • References, Books: Mark’s Guide for Alberta Paddlers 2nd Ed.

 


 

Bow River: Ghost Dam to Calgary

  • Rating: Intermediate
  • Paddle Alberta Alberta River Guide: Bow River: Ghost Dam to Carseland Map $10.80 buy
    • Class I – I+   Features spruce and aspen forests to rolling grasslands. From Ghost Dam through Cochrane, Calgary then Policeman’s Flats, the Highwood River, McKinnon Flats and on to Carseland.  Includes the Lower Elbow River. Ghost Dam to the Gas Plant is the most technical stretch. Be aware of the Weirs in Calgary and Carseland.
    • References, Books: Mark’s Guide for Alberta Paddlers 2nd Ed.

Bow River: Lake Louise to Banff/Canmore area


 

Red Deer River: Dickson to Drumheller

  • Rating: Novice
  • Paddle Alberta Alberta River Guide: Middle Red Deer River: Dickson Dam to Drumheller SOLD OUT
    • Class I   Aspen Parkland valley to City of Red Deer. Transition to badlands begin after Canyon Gap near Joffre Bridge. Content Bridge to Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park (a ‘must visit’ site). From Content Bridge, the spectacular Canadian Badlands begin to dominate the river valley through to Drumheller.
  • Download touring guide PDF icon from Travel Alberta/Canadian Badlands website
  • References, Books: Mark’s Guide for Alberta Paddlers 2nd Ed.

Red Deer River: Drumheller to Dinosaur Provincial Park

Rating: Novice

Reach Report by Mark Lund: Red Deer River: Drumheller to Dinosaur Prov. Park
  • Paddle Alberta Alberta River Guide: Lower Red Deer River: Drumheller to Red Deer Forks Map $10.80 buy
    • Class I   Scenic Drumheller badlands, through Deadlodge Canyon, Dinosaur Provincial Park badlands, and on to the Cottonwood bends of the confluence with the South Saskatchewan River.
    References, Books: Mark’s Guide for Alberta Paddlers 2nd Ed.

  • St. Mary River: SW of Kimball to Highway #5

    Rating: Novice to Highly Skilled

    Reach Report by Mark Lund: St Mary River: Upper Reaches from SW of Kimball to Highway #5 NE of Cardston
    • Class I-III The run into Kimball and Highway #501 provides some good intermediate whitewater. Below Highway #501 is a pleasant, fast river paddle through scenic cottonwood flats and open southern Alberta rangelands.
    References, Books: Mark’s Guide for Alberta Paddlers 2nd Ed.

Athabasca River Basin

 

Athabasca River: Whitecourt to Athabasca

  • Rating: Novice + to Intermediate
  • Reach Report by Mark Lund: Athabasca River: Whitecourt to Athabasca
    • Class I Intermediate River Paddlers or at lower flows Novice paddlers with Good leadership. In the early or late season a pleasant river for canoe camping, with wilderness views and lots of Wildlife.
  • References, Books: Mark’s Guide for Alberta Paddlers 2nd Ed.

 

Athabasca River: Jasper to Whitecourt

  • Rating: Intermediate
  • Paddle Alberta Alberta River Guide: Athabasca River: Jasper to Whitecourt Map $10.80 buy
    • Class I+ – II+ From Jasper through Jasper National Park & the majestic Rock Mountain front to Hinton, through forested foothills past ‘Tunnelrock’, ‘The Gates’ and the Berland River towards Windfall & Whitecourt.
  • References, Books:
    • Jasper National Park: Information Centre/Trail Office: 780-852-6176

      Jasper National Park of Canada

      The Mountain Guide PDF icon (46.2 Mb) - The Official Parks Canada Visitors Guide to Banff, Jasper, Kootenay, Yoho, Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks.

      Marks Guide for Alberta Paddlers 2nd Ed.


Slave River: Fort McMurray to Fitzgerald

  • Rating: Intermediate to Highly Skilled
  • Reach Report by Mark Lund: Athabasca and Slave Rivers: Fort McMurray to Fitzgerald
    • Class I to III, though usually avoidable. This is a long wilderness trip over much of a long standing fur trade and northern trasportation route. Given the remoteness, big lake and big river, paddlers need to be both experienced big lake and Intermediate River paddlers with good wilderness camp skills.
  • References, Books: Mark’s Guide for Alberta Paddlers 2nd Ed.

Milk River Basin

 

Milk River: Milk River to Writing–on–Stone Provincial Park

  • Rating: Intermediate
  • Paddle Alberta Alberta River Guide: Milk River: Whiskey Gap to Deer Creek Map $10.80 buy
    • Class I – II   Unique prairie scenery, coulees and river characterized by rock gardens and some undercuts. The guide describes the route from Whiskey Gap, past Del Bonita, the forks, Milk River and Gold Springs Park, on to Poverty Rock, Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park and finally Deer Creek. 
  • References, Books: Mark’s Guide for Alberta Paddlers 2nd Ed.

Peace/Slave River Basin

Peace River: Clayhurst Bridge to the Town of Peace River

  • Rating: Novice + to Intermediate
  • Reach Report by Mark Lund: Peace River: Clayhurst to Peace River
    • Rapids: Easy Class II Intermediate River, or Novice River with good leadership. Wilderness canoe tripping, and big valley scenery.
  • References, Books: Mark’s Guide for Alberta Paddlers 2nd Ed.