Kananaskis River (AB) - Upper Section II+

The classic Calgary area river run. Easy, lots of play, relatively safe, great place to learn.(Features were washed out during the 2013 flood, this is a feature update as of April 12, 2014, work is continuing on this section and may change) The run begins at the 'Widowmmaker' parking lot. Widowmaker is the first feature and is a tongue with unpredictable swirly boils at the end. It flips a lot of people but there is a large eddy on river right. After this is a small hole called 'Hollywood hole' on river left where people often cartwheel. Next up is a section with some good eddy practice. Next 'Point Break' is under contruction and stillneed some work. Good eddy service all over the place. After these is the only true drop on the run called 'Santa Claus', it is easily spotted as a slight horizon line after a large somewhat calm pool. At the bottom of 'Santa Claus' is 'Little Helper' a wave which has some decent play on it. You can run it any which way you want, backwards, forwards, sideways etc. Following there is a river surfers wave. Next is the racecourse which has the potential to be the most dangerous section of the river due to the shallow water and more technical paddling. At the start of the race course is a wave called 'Green Tongue' which is still needs more work to be surfable. The lower secton of the racecourse is now tighter with lots of midstream boulders and tons of eddies. At the end of the race course keep your eye out for the takeout on river right. It is possible to park at Canoe Meadows and hike your boat to 'Green Tongue' and run just the race course section.

Please be aware that while this is a class II run there are class III rapids on it and the paddling in the racecourse is quite technical for someone who is a new paddler.

River Alerts

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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


From HWY 1 –> Exit at HWY40S Kananaskis Country –>Drive 5-10 minutes south and look for 'Canoe Meadows' on your right.

Put In

Another 5 minutes south on HWY40 from Canoe Meadows is a turnoff called 'Widowmaker'. This is the put in.


Classic playboating with lots of eddywork

Length & Time

2.2km, Couple_Hours



Flow Information

Year round paddling is possible here. It is a dam controlled river released by Transalta. See the Gauge for a link to the Transalta website with the dam release times. In the spring the dam is often open 12-24hrs a day while late in the summer it may only be open for 4 hours.



Other Resources

River Alerts

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