Red Deer River -- Mad Mile --II-III

The Mad Mile is a great section of whitewater for introducing paddlers to whitewater. Since the floods of 2013 the run is a little bit scoured out and probably a little bit more challenging than prior to the floods. As with most of the rivers that were flooded in '13, there is still wood falling into the river and sweepers and logjams are constantly evolving. The river has changed course in a couple of places creating new corners we hadn't seen before and losing others.

From the new put in (24km post) to the Double Ledge the character of the river is pretty similar to before the flood. Bouncy class II with a few corners and little rapids that might be at the upper end of class II. Of note there are at least a couple of fairly major LogJams that sometimes have a stray log sticking out into the main flow. There are lots of eddies and a few opportunities to surf on your way down to Double Ledge. Double Ledge is still recognizable with the bedrock shelf sticking out from the River Left Bank. Scouting and Portage usually happens from River Left. The lead in to Double Ledge might be a little pushier than before, making the rapid as a whole a little bit tougher for beginners. The few hundred meters below double ledge is essentially unchanged and is still a great series of eddies for ferrying and eddy hopping. About 1km downstream from the Double Ledge there is a new river wide ledge. The center of this ledge seems to be backed up by some under water boulders, as there are some funky boils immediately downstream and the center is overall kindof ugly looking. There is usually clean lines down both the right and the left sides. From this point down to Coal Camp Ledge the river breaks into two channels, both of them having multiple small ledges and rapids. At low water they have a creeky feel to them. At higher water lots of it is flushed out. The river reconvenes just above Cartier Creek Campground and the last kilometer or so is essentially unchanged, finishing with a splash in the face at Coal Camp Ledge.

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!

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Run Information


From Sundre: Head West on 584. Turn Left(south) on RR63, following signs to Mountainaire Lodge and Red Deer River Ranches. Stay on this road, this turns into Coal Camp Road. You know you've reached the Takeout when you're driving parallell to the river just downstream of a noticeable ledge(Coal Camp Ledge). There is a parking lot on the river side of the road just upstream of Coal Camp Ledge.

Put In

Directions from takeout to put in Continue West on Coal Camp Road. You're land mark is a White Mile Post on the River Side of the Road. It will be marked “24km”. Pull into the ditch in this general area on the river side. There is a natural swale just upstream from the Mile Post, it leads down to an excellent Put in Eddy on the River Left Bank.


River Running and Playboating

Length & Time

8km, Couple_Hours


Number, percentage, whatever works for you

Flow Information

Lowest Possible 15-18cms Low Water 25-40cms Mid 40-75cms Med High 75-100cms HIgh 100+

Has been run above 1000cms, probably not recommended.


Red Deer River Below Burnt Timber Creek


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Other Resources

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River Alerts

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