Livingstone River (AB) III

This is a low-volume, mostly read-and-run creek (typically run in playboats) in a fairly shallow canyon that pretty much follows hwy 940 for its entire length. The major hazard is wood, which is almost certain, but the river is generally not very pushy so it's easy to spot and avoid with good river reading. Note that many eddies are 1 or 2 boat deals, so if you have a larger group, maintain some space. There is a potential for some good surfing, but a lot of it is catch-on-the-fly.

The most significant rapid on the entire run is Livingstone Falls, about 3 km downstream of the “official” put-in described below. There are two eddies on river left after a bend to the right, when the horizon line can be seen. The falls is a ~30 degree slide with about 4” of water into a flat hole. Note that there are two LARGE logs about 30 m downstream of the falls; they are easy to avoid and also easy to set safety upon, but it's advised to have a look before you leap!

After this, the river slips pretty quickly in a narrow sloping canyon for about 100 m, with few chances to eddy out.

After this, there are no significant drops; everything is read-and-run. The river picks up a lot of little drainages along the way; when we ran it (June 4, 2011), the volume at the confluence with the Oldman was easily 3 times that of the upper put-in!

Shortly downstream of the confluence, the river goes around a sharp bend to the left, and there are several nice surf waves, followed by a constriction that produces 3 or 4 large haystacks.

A short distance after this, there is an angled ledge at a rock outcrop on the right, which forms a recirculation that will typewriter to the right. The easiest line is far right. This rapid is class II+/III.

The take-out is on river right following a sharp bend to the right. There are several eddies to catch and walk up the hill to the car.

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Run Information


From the “official” put-in described below, drive SOUTH on hwy 40 (940) for 25 km to a lane on the left (EAST) side.

Drive down the lane, across the gravel pit, and continue in that direction to the bluff above the river.

Alternatively, drive 28 km to where the river is right beside the road and there is a pull-out.

Put In

From Calgary, it's most efficient to drive to the put-in first and then shuttle to the take-out.

From Calgary, drive south on hwy 22.

28 km south of Longview, turn right (WEST) on hwy 532 (gravel road).

Stay on this road for 25.5 km and bear left (SOUTH) onto hwy 40 (forestry trunk road). Note that this is a “Y” intersection for logging trucks.

From here, it's 7.3 km to the “official” put-in, where there is parking in a pull-out road on the west side. Alternatively, drive 9.7 km from the junction to Livingstone Falls (camping area, see sign). You may want to drive here and have a look before putting on the river to recognise it.


Small volume low gradient creeking.

Length & Time

28km, Full_Day



Flow Information

Early season. As this run is in southern Alberta and fed mainly from snowmelt, it comes up fast and drops fast.

There is no gauge - the nearest gauges would be the Oldman@RR13A (ROLD13A) (which it flows into) or Willow Creek@Secondary532 (RWIL532) (another small-volume creek that originates in a similar location).

This river is do-able at a wide range of flows.

High water is more likely when the Oldman is above 90 cms.



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