Pipestone River (AB) IV

Modified from Kayak West: It is mostly grade 3 with a few class 4 rapids. From the start, expect a mix of ledgey whitewater, and boulder drops. The creek has a fairly bed rock character, but isn't at all slidey. There are two very distinct horizons the first is at a drop called two step. There are some nice eddies on the right above it, all though you do want to be paying attention to make them. It doesn't hurt to scout. The drop has a very distinct green tongue, and ramps about 6 ft. There usually isn't too much of a hole below it. [This has apparently changed. The video below shows TS without much of a hole, really just a flushing V-wave, in 2009. As of 2014 there is a very sticky hole there. You will definitely want to scout it, and if you run it have safety set.] At lower water you will notice a second ledge behind it that is more in the range of 1-2 ft. It doesn't hurt to boof this drop, but if you miss, I've seen people go very deep, doing strange mystery moves, without finding the bottom, so not a bad place to learn some more exciting whitewater. Grade 3 rapids continue for a while, until you reach Sidewinder. This is a class 4 drop which you can scout from the left. It shoots out at a bit of an angle, into a huge and very deep pool. This drop has also been run any which way by less experienced paddlers. Below here the river pools, and then tears into Mr. Splat. This is a class 3+ boulder garden with a massive midstream boulder. Most mistakes on this rapid, happen because the crux is not the rock itself, its the stuff on the right, where you're not looking. Below here the river starts to ease up, there is some great scenery in the canyons. You can either, take out by the gravel road, on river right, or it's often fun to boat right into the town of Lake Louise and get out at the parking lot there.

River Alerts


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


You can takeout right in the town of Lake Louise just before the Pipestone enters the Bow River.

Put In

Drive to the Lake Louise ski area take the road all the way to the very end. Stay left at a sign for Whitehorn cross country ski trails. From the dead end hike about 500m on a small trail until you reach a fork, stay right for another 100m. You will reach a creek, follow this creek down to the Pipestone River.


Ledgey creeking

Length & Time

2km, Couple_Hours



Flow Information

The Pipestone River primarily flows in the spring time and is fed by snowmelt and rain. It can come up during heavy rains in the summer. Low flow is 12cms, high flow is above 25cms.



Two Step, the first rapid worthy of a scout. There is a nice eddy on river right.

Other Resources

River Alerts

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