Red Deer River (AB) - Red Deer to Drumheller I

This is a popular scenic route which traces the transition from Rocky Mountain foothills to Prairie Badlands. There is lots of exploring that can be done up and down coulees as you get closer to Drumheller. This stretch of river can be paddled in a variety of different ways from a short day trip (i.e. Bleriot Ferry to Drumheller) to a 4+ day trip (Red Deer to Drumheller). Camping can be done at random below the high water marks along the river. There are also a number of established campgrounds at convenient locations along the way should you prefer this. The river itself is mostly fast moving water with one notable exception between Content Bridge and Trenville Park (Backbone Riffle, Class I-II). While this is an easier run it is still important to be properly prepared as there are remote sections where it may be more challenging to get help. At high water (400cms+) the river moves very quickly and may be filled with debris so extra caution is required. As of this time I am not aware of where there is cell service.

More information can be found in Mark's Guide for Alberta Paddlers and I have used his excellent GPS information and distances in this guide with permission.

River Alerts

If this space is blank there have been no alerts posted for this specific river.


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


There are multiple takeouts depending on where you decide to go. Use the google map to determine directions. Most are readily accessible from major highways/urban centers. Shuttling through beautiful prairie farm country! I have left a van parked in Newcastle Park in Drumheller without a problem.

Put In

Again there are multiple put ins. Please use google maps to decide on the best directions for you and call in advance to ensure you can leave your vehicle somewhere.


Medium size, fast moving river

Length & Time

This can be variable. The amount of time it takes for you to travel on this river can be dramatically impacted by the wind and current. If the wind is coming out of the S or SE it quickly becomes a strong headwind when channeled up river. In my experience 30km is a full day on the river whereas 10-20km is a half day. Here are some common distances.

Burbank Park (Red Deer) to Joffre Bridge: 19km
Joffre Bridge to Content Bridge: 49km
Content Bridge to Trenville Park: 29km
Trenville Park to Tolman Bridge: 36km
Tolman Bridge to Morin Bridge: 22km
Morin Bridge to Newcastle Park (Drumheller): 31km

Total Distance: 186km



Flow Information

This run can be done throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall. Ideally you are looking for flows between 40cms and 200cms on the Drumheller Gauge. The river can get as high as 1000cms+ in spring run off. Be aware that when flows are very high it is a FAST river and requires strong rescue skills should someone flip.



Other Resources

River Alerts

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