Q. Do I need experience to go whitewater rafting?
A. No, you don’t. Most of our guests are first-timers and our trips, equipment, and briefings are designed to put beginners at ease. Our experienced guides will provide a safety orientation before you get on the water and coach you the whole way through the rapids. No previous whitewater experience is necessary.
Q. It’s supposed to be raining the day of our trip, will the trip be cancelled?
A. We raft rain or shine! You’re going to be getting wet anyways. The only events that we would cancel a trip are in adverse weather conditions or if the water levels are not suitable for rafting.
Q. How many people fit in a raft?
There are usually 8-10 participants in a raft, plus one river guide who sits and coaches you from the back.
Q. Can I go rafting if I don’t know how to swim?
A. If you do not know how to swim, our Kananaskis Whitewater tour is the perfect option for you. This tour is still challenging and lots of fun but not intimidating or overly powerful. We do not recommend the Horseshoe Canyon for those who cannot swim. Our Horseshoe Canyon Whitewater tour features higher water levels and more powerful rapids. There is a greater chance that a boat could flip or that you could fall out and you would need to swim to safety.
Q. Are any of the whitewater rafting trips suitable for seniors?
A. There is no maximum age limit for our whitewater tours – so long as you’re physically fit you’re welcome aboard! Our scenic float is also an amazing experience for anyone still wanting to get out on the river, but not interested in whitewater rapids.
Q. Is lunch included in either of the tours?
A. No, it is not. However, everyone who rafts with us is eligible to save 15% off food and non-alcoholic beverages the Stoney Nakoda Resort (establishments include: Sidelines Lounge and The Ridge) and The Drake Pub in Canmore. Just show them the receipt of your rafting purchase!
Q. What sets Canadian Rockies Rafting apart from other rafting companies?
A. Canadian Rockies Rafting has been running the rivers of Alberta and British Columbia for more than 20 seasons. Our dedication to safety and customer service is second to none and our staff members are friendly, experienced and willing to answer all of your questions and concerns. We pride ourselves in offering the most affordable whitewater rafting adventures in the Bow Valley with free shuttles from Banff and Canmore (making us one of the most accessible tour companies as well!) Not to mention, we offer excursions that you won’t find anywhere else including river boarding and two-hour dawn and dusk wildlife-viewing float tours.
Q. Do we need to be physically fit to go rafting?
A. We recommend that all of our rafters be in good physical health as the cold water can be a shock if you fall in and the paddling is a lot more strenuous then it looks! If you have a medical issue but you still want to go rafting, we always recommend you check with your doctor first.
Q. What is the best time of year to go rafting?
A. The rivers change from May to September. High water is usually from mid June to mid July. For the real whitewater enthusiast, this would be an exciting time to book on our Horseshoe Canyon Whitewater tour as the rapids are at their biggest. That being said, the amazing scenery along the Horseshoe Canyon makes it a fantastic experience all summer long. The Kananaskis River is dam controlled and stays consistent all season long, making it an excellent choice at any time during the season. If you’re interested in spotting wildlife, our Bow River Nature Float offers great birding opportunities in May through June.
Q. When does your season start and end?
A. We start rafting as soon as the ice is off the river, and up until the snow falls! This is usually between the start of May to the end of September. We have even done the odd trip in April and October depending on Mother Nature!
Gear & What To Bring
Q. What do I wear?
A. Most guests arrive with their swim suit underneath their clothes. Once at our river base you change into your wetsuit, wearing your swim suit underneath. We provide you river boots, so don’t worry about what shoes you need to wear.
Q. What do we need to bring?
A. You need to bring a swim suit, towel, dry clothes (for afterwards), fleece sweater (optional), sunscreen, and lots of energy!
Q. What if I don’t own a swim suit?
A. That’s okay! You can wear tight shorts, a tight-fitting tank top or t-shirt, or leggings underneath your wetsuit. The closer the wetsuit is to your skin, the warmer you will be.
Q. What can I bring in the raft with me?
A. Just yourself! We do not allow cell phones, cameras, or backpacks the raft as there is a good chance that they will get wet, damaged, or lost. Sunglasses are allowed but not recommended. If you need anything for medical reasons, please let your guide know and they will make sure it comes on the raft with you.
Q. Can I bring my GoPro?
A. Yes, but at your own risk. We have a few helmets at the river base with the GoPro helmet mount (first-come-first-serve) – just make sure you bring any necessary accessories. We do not take responsibility for any GoPros or personal items that are lost on our river tours.
Q. I wear prescription glasses. Can I wear them on the raft?
A. Yes, of course! We wouldn’t want you to miss the adventure! We recommend you bring an eyewear retainer or safety strap. If you do not have one, our guides have string at the river base for you to use. Just ask!
Q. Can we bring our cameras/ phone on the raft with us?
A. No, we do not recommend it. Any technology on the raft is at risk of getting wet, damaged, or lost. We do allow GoPros, but guests must be aware that Canadian Rockies Rafting is not liable for any personal belongings lost or damaged on the river. There will be a photographer along the river banks taking photos of your adventure which will be available for purchase on rafting.ca 24-48 hours after the date on your trip.
Q. Can we bring our own wetsuits, life jackets, or river shoes?
A. All guests must wear Canadian Rockies Rafting life jackets and helmets for safety reasons and insurance purposes. Our gear is checked regularly to make sure it is in good condition and up to current Canadian safety standards. You can bring your own wetsuit as long as it is 3mm or thicker, has long pants, and is checked by your guide first!
On The River
Q. Will I get wet?
A. Yes. You can expect to get splashed on all our whitewater trips! Not to mention, you have the option of jumping out of the raft and going for a swim on both of our whitewater tours. On our Bow River Nature Float, however, you will not get splashed or wet. This tour is a relaxing float on calm water.
Q. How cold is the water?
A. The waters of the Bow River and the Kananaskis River average 5C in the summer.
Q. Are we going to be freezing the whole time?
A. Definitely not. Your wetsuit is designed to keep you warm by warming the water that it collects, creating a layer of insulation. If you know you are a “cold person” you can bring a fleece sweater to wear between your wetsuit and your splash jacket. (Do not bring cotton – when it gets wet it will keep you cold!)
Where To Meet, Shuttle & Parking
Q. Where is the best meeting location for me?
A. If you do not have your own car and you are staying in Banff, you can catch our free shuttle from one of our Banff pick-up locations: Banff Rocky Mountain Resort, Banff Caribou Lodge, Douglas Fir Resort, Banff Ptarmigan Inn. If you do not have your own car and you are staying in Canmore, you can meet us at our Canmore office (909A Railway Ave.) and catch our free shuttle to the river base from there. If you are staying in either of these locations, or elsewhere, and you have your own car, you can meet us directly at our river base, the Stoney Nakoda Resort & Casino. If you are driving from Calgary or Edmonton, we recommend that you meet us at our river base, the Stoney Nakoda Resort & Casino.
Q. Where do I park?
A. If you arrive at our Canmore office (909A Railway Ave.) there is a free, gravel parking area across the street behind Home Hardware. (Turn into the Home Hardware parking lot at the lights at Railway Ave. and Main St.) If you arrive at our river base, the Stoney Nakoda Resort & Casino, you can park anywhere in the large parking lot. You will see our shed, with our branding and picnic tables out front on the left-hand side as you drive in.
Q. Do you offer shuttles from Lake Louise or Kananaskis?
A. No, we do not offer shuttles from Lake Louise or Kananaskis. If you are staying in Lake Louise, we recommend you catch a cab or take a bus to Banff and meet us at one of our Banff pick-up locations: Banff Rocky Mountain Resort, Banff Caribou Lodge, Douglas Fir Resort, Banff Ptarmigan Inn. If you are staying in Kananaskis, you are a 20-40 minute drive away from our river base, the Stoney Nakoda Resort & Casino, and we recommend you meet us there.
Q. If we meet at the base, how do we get back to our cars after?
A. The parking lot of the Stoney Nakoda Resort & Casino (on the left-hand side) is our river base meeting point where we get all guests geared up and our guides do an important safety briefing. From there, everyone hops on a bus to the actual “put in” location on the river (the piece of the river bank where we put the rafts in the water). Then, once everyone arrives at the “take out” of the river (where the river tour ends) our bus driver will be waiting to drive everyone back to the Stoney Nakoda Resort & Casino parking lot.
Q. Will we start and finish at the same spot?
A. No. On your river tour, you will flow downstream, catching the rolling rapids and working as a team to conquer the whitewater along the way. Where you put the boats in the river will not be the same place you take the boats out of the river.
Q. Is it cheaper to meet at your rafting base?
A. No, it is the same price. Our shuttles to/from Banff and Canmore are free!
Q. What time will we be finished?
A. Our Horseshoe Canyon Whitewater tour runs 8:45am-11:45am, for a total of 3 hours. Our Kananaskis Whitewater tour runs 1:45pm-4:45pm, for a total of 3 hours. If you have opted to take our free shuttle to/from Banff or Canmore – add approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour on either end of these trip times. If you are joining us for our Bow River Nature Float, this tour runs 7:50am-9:50am or 6:40pm-8:40pm. If you have opted to take our free shuttle from Banff (only available for the evening tour time slot) – add approximately 45 minutes on either end of this tour time.
Q. How long are we on the river for?
A. On our whitewater tours, you are on the river for approximately 2 hours. On our Bow River Nature Float tour, you are on the river for approximately 1.5 hours. If you choose to go riverboarding, you will be in the river for 1-1.5 hours.
Tour Details & Information
Q. What’s the difference between the Kananaskis River Whitewater and the Horseshoe Canyon Whitewater tours?
A. We get this question a lot! To put it simply, the Kananaskis Whitewater tour is great for beginners, families, groups, and people of all ages, while our Horseshoe Canyon Whitewater tour is designed for guests looking for higher class rapids and more adrenaline. On the Kananaskis Whitewater tour the rapids are class 2-3 versus the class 2-4 rapids found on the Horseshoe Canyon. At the end of the Kananaskis Whitewater tour there is a float section with an optional swim (which kids love!) while on the Horseshoe Canyon rafters can experience a thrilling cliff jump! With a minimum age of 5 years old, our Kananaskis Whitewater tour is our most popular excursion with lots of rapids and fun to be had by the whole family! Our Horseshoe Canyon Whitewater tour (minimum age 12 years old) is popular with couples, adults, and thrill seekers! Both excursions are excellent for bachelor/ bachelorette parties, birthday parties, or team building events.
Q. Is there a weight minimum for my kids on the Kananaskis Whitewater tour?
A. No. If your child is 5 years or olde, they are welcome to come on the Kananaskis River. If you are nervous about your child falling out of the raft we can sit them in the middle of the raft where there is a smaller chance that can happen.
Q. Do we get wet on the float tour?
A. No, you will not get wet on the float tour. This is a relaxed float tour on calm water. The only chance of getting wet is if you want to jump in!
Q. Are we guaranteed to see animals on the nature float?
A. We can’t control Mother Nature, but we can say that lots of local species live in the area and they are commonly seen by our river guides throughout the summer. On the Bow River Nature Float tour, you have a good chance of seeing osprey, bald eagles, cliff swallows, river trout, elk, and even beavers!
Q. Is food provided on the float trip?
A. No, but we do supply a hot or cold beverage (usually lemonade or hot chocolate). If you would like to bring your own snacks or non-alcoholic beverages you are more than welcome!
Q. What should we bring/ wear on the float tour?
A. You can wear anything you like! On cooler days, we recommend you wear long pants and bring a warm sweater. You can wear open or close-toe shoes.
Q. Where does your float tour start and finish?
A. Our Bow River Nature Float tour starts at the Trans-Canada Highway bridge and ends in Three Sisters Campground. We float through an area known as Dead Man’s Flats. If water levels are too low to float this section (in late summer) we will float from the Canmore public boat launch to the Trans-Canada Highway.
Policies & Booking Restrictions
Q. How do I book?
A. You can book online, book over the phone by calling us at (403) 678 6535, book via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or book in-person at our office in Canmore, located at 909A Railway Ave.
Q. When should I book?
A. To ensure space on the date of your choice, book as early as you can. We recommend you book 7-3 days prior to your desired trip date.
Q. Do you have cancellation policy?
A. You can add or drop numbers on your reservation or cancel your trip all together up to 48 hours prior to your trip date at no cost. Within 48 hours of your trip date, the reservation you have on file is non-refundable. Please read our full cancelation policy here.
Q. Is there a maximum weight restriction for either trip?
A. The maximum weight for one person is 350lbs. We have wetsuits and life jackets that will fit up to this weight.
Q. If my child is 12 years old but less than 90 pounds can they still go on the Horseshoe Canyon Whitewater tour?
A. Unfortunately, they cannot. All guests must be at least 90lbs for the Horseshoe Canyon Whitewater tour for safety reasons. Some sections of this river have strong currents, and should a guest fall in, they need to have the weight and strength to overcome the rapids and swim to safety. In addition, anyone under the age of 12 but more then 90lbs is also not allowed on the Horseshoe Canyon for safety and liability reasons.
Q. Do you offer a group discount?
A. Yes! We offer a discount of 15% off for groups of 10-19, 20% off for groups of 20-29, and 25% off for groups of 30 or more.
Q. Can my group/family guarantee our own raft?
A. We cannot guarantee that your group or family will be the only guests in a raft, this is at the discretion of our river guides who divide up the boats based on total trip numbers. That being said, if you make a special request to the trip leader the day of your trip, they will do their best to put you all together.
Q. My group has made separate bookings, can we still be in the same raft?
A. Yes, you can still be in the same raft as your friends. The trip leader will make groups at the river base and they will do their best to keep all your friends together (unless, of course, your group has more people than one raft can hold!)