Boating in Banff National Park
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
Lake Minnewanka, near town, is the only place in Banff National Park that allows private motorboats. Aluminum fishing boats with 8-horsepower motors can be rented at the dock (call Lake Minnewanka Boat Tours.
Canoe rentals are available at Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, and in Banff where you launch along the Bow River and explore the waterways of the Bow Valley.
Rafting options range from scenic float trips to family-friendly white-water excursions on the Kananaskis River to the intense white water of the Kicking Horse River, with its Class IV rapids.
Outfitters and Expeditions
Banff Rafting Centre. Here you can book half-day or full-day rafting adventures suitable for families, as well as some for truly adventurous adults. 403/760–2007 or 866/330–7238. www.chinookrafting.com.
Blue Canoe Rentals. Explore the waterways of Bow Valley with Blue Canoe Rentals, paddling 40 Mile Creek, Vermillion Lakes, or the Bow River. 403/760–5007 or 877/565–9372. www.banfftours.com.
Canadian Rockies Rafting. Scenic floats and thrilling white-water rafting tours on the Bow and Kananaskis rivers are available with the local experts at Canadian Rockies Rafting. Pickups in Banff and Canmore are included. 701 Bow Valley Trail, Canmore, AB, T1W 2T8. 403/678–6535 or 877/226–7625. www.rafting.ca.
Fairmont Château Lake Louise Voyageur Canoe Experience. Paddle the tranquil waters of Lake Louise in a 26-foot cedar strip and canvas canoe with the Fairmont Château Lake Louise Voyageur Canoe Experience. The experience includes the services of a guide who shares stories of the history of canoes in Canada from the perspectve of First Nations people, voyagers, explorers, and fur traders. The boathouse also has regular canoes that rent for C$45 per hour. 403/522–3511 or 800/441–1414. www.fairmont.com/lake-louise/promotions/canoeing/. C$39.
Hydra River Guides. This is the place to go for thrills. The guides here take you through the Class IV rapids on the Kicking Horse River. 403/762–4554 or 800/644–8888. www.raftbanff.com.
Kootenay River Runners. A variety of boating trips, ranging from scenic raft floats on the Toby or Kootenay to Class IV white-water rafting on the Kicking Horse, are available through Kootenay River Runners. A unique Voyageur Canoe Experience is also an option. For white-water rafting on the Kicking Horse, guests meet at the boat launch about 90 minutes from Banff Townsite. 250/347–9210 or 800/599–4399. www.raftingtherockies.com.
Minnewanka Lake Cruise. From mid-May to mid-October, Minnewanka Lake Cruise offers 1½-hour, C$44.95 tours on the lake. 403/762–3473 or 800/760–6934. www.explorerockies.com/minnewanka.
Moraine Lake Lodge. Moraine Lake is one of the most photographed spots in the Canadian Rockies. From June through September, you can paddle on beautiful Moraine Lake with a canoe rental from the Moraine Lake Lodge, at the end of Moraine Lake Road in Lake Louise. Canoes can be rented right from the dock area. If you don't plan to canoe, there are several great hikes around this scenic lake. 403/522–3733 or 877/522–2777. www.morainelake.com.
Rocky Mountain Raft Tours. Banff-based Rocky Mountain Raft Tours specializes in one- and two-hour float trips on the Bow River, starting at C$45. 403/762–3632. www.banffrafttours.com.
Wet 'N' Wild Adventures. This outfitter specializes in rafting on the mighty Kicking Horse River near Golden, BC. One- and two-day adventures are available. Snowmobile tours offered in winter. 1509 Lafontaine Rd., Golden, AB, V0A 1H0. 250/344–6546. www.wetnwild.bc.ca.
Wild Water Adventures. Based 40 km (25 miles) north of Lake Louise, this outfitter has trips ranging from gentle floats to intense white-water experiences. Single-day and multiday trips are available. 403/522–2212 or 888/647–6444. www.wildwater.com.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe