Bow River (AB) - HWY93N Upper Section III

A good shorter run close to Banff/Canmore. Possible to link this up with the Pipestone River in the same day if you had the time. There is a canyon partway down on this run that is a definite highlight and the most challenging section, perhaps class IV. After the put in you will navigate a bunch of Class II water. Pay attention after a few km you will reach the canyon. There is a sign marking it nailed to a tree on shore and it is fairly obvious constriction of the river. Scout and portage on river right. The canyone is short but technical. You need to make a few small boofs and avoid a few holes to make it through safely. After the canyon it is relatively mellow again, class II-III. There are two other rapids of note. One is a diagonal ledge that is after the canyon. The last is under the train bridge and is a few chutes created by large boulders. After the train bridge you are almost at the takeout.

River Alerts

If this space is blank there have been no alerts posted for this specific river.


The symbols can be clicked on and provide some simple explanations of why they are there. You can also use the symbols to get directions from Google Maps to the put in/takeout. A handy thing!

Run Information

Put in

From HWY 1 near Lake Louise –> Exit at HWY93N drive 6km N the river is just barely visible from the road. Pull over and park here. You will scramble down the road embankment to the river.

There is a tiny patch of gravel on the river side of the highway to park on, as well as the trail head is marked with orange ribbon.

Take Out

Turn around and go back to HWY1 –> Exit onto HWY1W and look for the bridge over the Bow River, not more than 2km from where you get on the highway. There is parking on the north side of the highway.

For an alternative takeout, you can park near the Lake Louise Railway Station & Restaurant. It adds about 30 minutes of fairly flat water, but the access is excellent and you don't need to drive up and down the highway in order to turn around.


River run with some creeking

Although most of this leg falls in the 2-3 category, there is one section of sustained rapids shortly after the put in which is a solid 4. The first drop is just visible when you come around the corner. Pull out on river right for some excellent scouting trails.

The above described canyon is easily identifiable on satellite views.

Length & Time

7km, Half_Day



Flow Information

This section of the Bow River is usually navigable through spring and early summer. It is fed by both snow melt, rain and glaciers so the weather can affect water levels drastically. I am not sure what low flow or high flow is. A rough estimate would be anything above 12cms.



Other Resources

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River Alerts

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