Wigwam River (BC) III+

This description is the result of one run at low/medium flow so take it with a grain of salt. As with any creek you should be making your own decisions regarding the rapids. This run is remote for parts of it and frequently has wood in it so paddle with care.

Lodgepole creek is a bump and grind depending on the water level, technically this might be class II whitewater. It provides a chance to stretch your muscles before you join up with the Wigwam. Once you join the Wigwam there is significantly more water. The first few kms of the Wigwam are pretty mellow and again provide a good chance to stretch the muscles and enjoy the scenery. As the river gets steeper and the canyon walls come in the action picks up. It is mostly boulder garden creek boating. At the level we did it at I would describe it as class III+, at higher water I think this would step up to class IV with fewer good eddies and more consequential moves. The river maintains this character for the next while with parts of it being more technical and other parts being more mellow class II/III. Before you reach the Elk River it mellows out a bit again and the canyon walls pull back. There are no big notable drops on this run but lots of good fun, bouncy, whitewater.

Once you reach the Elk River you are paddling the ”Lower Elk” run.

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


HWY 93S Bridge over the Elk River, this is the same takeout as the Lower Elk. Take HWY 3 west from Fernie and it will be obvious. If you are driving from Fernie there is a right hand turn you can take just on the south side of the bridge which will lead you down to the water.

Put In

The only put in I know about is the one at Lodgepole Creek. I believe that later in the summer you can also put in directly onto the Wigwam river as there is a forest service road which opens on June 15th, same directions as the Lodgepole Creek put in but you should be able to just continue farther down the river. You may want to double check this with someone who has paddled this run more than me.

To get to the put in you will drive most of the way back to Fernie and then turn east (R turn if driving back from the take out) at a place called Morrissey Rd. You then take a mix of roads to the put in, I have marked this in green. I was in the car when we drove this and based on my memory and on Google Map I have it correctly on the map. You can back track and check the turns using the map on this page. It isn't too hard and when we drove it the road wasn't in terrible condition.


Boulder garden creek boating

Length & Time

24km in total. This breaks down to about 2km on Lodgepole Creek, 12km on Wigwam River and then 10km on the Lower Elk. Typically this is a full day paddle. It took about 5 hours when we did it.



Flow Information

This is a springtime run which is fed primarily by snow melt. As the Elk River starts to get medium/high then this run should be good to go. You might want to try and get some local beta as there is not an easy way to know for sure what the water level is at.


No Gauge


Embedding video and images is simple, to do it properly and quickly please read How To Add Video and Images.

Other Resources

River Alerts

AquabaticsCalgary PaddleAlberta