Kickinghorse River (BC) - Upper III

A rock and roll III+ run that is a Rockies classic. If you have never paddled the Kickinghorse River it is glacier fed and so can be a milky colour and due to the consistent gradient and volume is more pushy than many other rivers in the area. It paddles a bit more like bigger volume rivers. Holes can be quite sticky and sometimes harder to see.

The run is filled with big waves, and some demanding paddling. However other than Portage/Shotgun the two major rapids it is for the most part straightforward. This is the run that if most often done by the rafting companies in Golden, BC.

The first major rapid on this run is under an old cable car crossing. A class III.

It is a little while before you reach Portage/Shotgun two larger class IV rapids. You scout and portage on river left and there was even a sign last time I was there. The challenge with Portage/Shotgun is the length and the size of a few of the holes in the rapid. Worth a look.

After this I recall it mellowing out a bit again. It picks up for a bit underneath the large road bridge where at the certain water levels there are two big standing waves they call the 'Twin Towers'.

The run finishes at the Kickinghorse Rest Area. The takeout is on river left and very obvious.

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


The Kickinghorse Rest Area just off of HWY 1 near Golden, BC. Impossible to miss, just look for all the RVs.

Put In

The put in has been complicated in recent years due to construction. The put in is a road leading off the highway almost exactly 10km east from the Kickinghorse Rest Area. It may look like you are driving through a construction zone but this road is well used by rafting companies. The road snakes down into the valley an turns back into a rough dirt road as it reaches the river. There are a few forks in the dirt road. When I did it we stayed right if I recall correctly but everything down there should end up at the river eventually. If in doubt talk to a raft company in town.


Bigger volume river run

Length & Time

11km, Half_Day



Flow Information

The Kickinghorse has a long season due to it being primarily glacier fed. However, it usually starts out a little later once it gets warm up high. Regardless there is usually something fun to do from May until September or later.



Other Resources

River Alerts

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