Canoeing and other water activities are an excellent way to gain a different perspective of the stunning Rocky Mountains. Being on the water allows you to see some of the most beautiful scenery the area has to offer. There are many lakes and rivers in Banff and Yoho National Park as well as the nearby Kananaskis Country area that offer opportunities for canoeing, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding. There’s something for all ages and abilities from leisurely river float trips to exhilirating whitewater rafting on Class 4 rapids. The optimal time frame to enjoy the water activities in these areas is from June through September, it depends on the conditions and temperatures.
For more detailed information on where the best spots are to get out on the water, particularly if you have your own equipment see our post on Best Places In Banff To Canoe, Kayak and SUP.
Lake Louise Canoe Rentals
Canoes are available at the boat dock operated by the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel. They are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. More information can be found here: Canoeing On The Turquoise Waters Of Lake Louise
Moraine Lake Canoe Rentals
Canoe rentals are available at Moraine Lake at the dock operated by Moraine Lake Lodge. Rentals are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Hotel guests take priority. More information can be found here: Tips And Information For Visiting Moraine Lake
Canoe, Kayak and Stand Up Paddle Board Rentals In The Towns Of Banff And Canmore
The Banff Canoe Club has a dock at the north end of Bow Avenue at the corner of Wolf Street in the town of Banff. Paddlers of any level can rent canoes or kayaks. There are options to explore a calm section of the Bow River or follow Forty Mile Creek into the Vermillion Lakes. Both routes offer opportunities to see wildlife. Paddles, life jackets, and safety orientation provided. Banff Travel/Summer Tours And Canoe Rentals
The Banff Canoe Club is one of the few places that offers canoe rentals for off-site use. Experienced paddlers can rent canoes or stand up paddle boards for the day. They include foam blocks and straps for rooftop vehicle mounting. Rentals are self serve which means you must be able load and attach the equipment to your vehicle without any assistance from the canoe club staff. Life jackets and paddles are provided. The offsite rentals are limited, especially on weekends. They can’t be reserved. More info can be found here: Banff Canoe Club Rentals
Canmore and Banff Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) Rentals – Boards can be reserved. They offer foam pads and straps for your vehicle. Lessons are available. Bow Valley SUP Rentals
Mountain Equipment Co-op Canoe, Kayak And SUP Rentals Out Of Calgary
Since there are not a lot of options for renting a canoe or kayak in the Banff National Park area you may want to consider renting one from Mountain Equipment Co-op in Calgary. The rates are fairly reasonable to rent for the day or by the week. They include paddles, life jackets and safety gear, but you would require a roof rack. Information can be found here: Mountain Equipment Co-op Calgary. Click on gear rentals down on the left hand side.
Lake Minnewanka Pedel And Motorboat Rentals And Lake Cruises
Lake Minnewanka is the only lake in Banff National Park where motorized power boats are permitted. Aluminum boats are available for hire for fishing or for leisurely touring around the first portion of the large lake. Pedal boats that can hold up to four people are available to self-propel on the lake. They are provided on a first-come, first-serve basis at the Lake Minnewanka docks. More information can be found here: Lake Minnewanka Boat Rentals
Lake Minnewanka Boat Cruises are available to take visitors on the largest lake in Banff National Park. On the tour there are waterfalls visible on the shorelines and opportunities to see wildlife. Information is available here: Banff Minnewanka Lake Cruise
Yoho National Park
Emerald Lake – Canoe rentals are available through the dock 0n the lake. More information can be found here: Emerald Lake Canoes, Food, Trails And Cabins
Kayak, Canoe, River Float And White Water Rafting Tours
Below are some of the companies offering whitewater rafting, river floats and guided canoe and kayak tours. The most exhilerating whitewater can be found on the Kicking Horse River near Golden, B.C. just west of Lake Louise.
Banff Canoe Club Tour – in addtion to rentals for self use the Banff Canoe Club also offers tours in large voyaguer canoes on the Bow River.
Banff Travel Kayak Tours – Kayak tours on the class III waters of the Kananaskis River or calming waters of the Bow River.
Banff Adventures – Gentle float trips and whitewater rafting.
Rocky Mountain Raft Tours – Guided float trips on the Bow River within the townsite of Banff. Suitable for all ages. Rafts with elevated floorboards to keep you dry. Hoodoo Tour and Bow River Safari Tour.
Canmore Float Tours – Family friendly river floats suitable for all ages. The one hour Townie trip leaves from the boat launch a few minute walk from downtown. The two hour Explorer trip extends into the Bow Valley wildland. They also offer a Dog Days Of Summer one hour float that you can enjoy with your dog!
Wild Water Adventures – Kicking Horse River whitewater trips through rapids from class 2 to 4+ Located in the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel.
Chinook River Rafting – Kananaskis River Family Splash, Adventure Splash in Horseshoe Canyon or Wild Splash on the Kicking Horse River.
Canadian Rockies Adventure Center – Offering rafting in Banff, Canmore, Lake Louise, Golden, Jasper and other rivers.
Hydra River Guides – Rafting on the Kicking Horse River.
Canadian Rockies Rafting – Bow River nature floats, Kananaskis River and Kicking Horse river whitewater rafting.
Kananaskis Whitewater Rafting – Guided whitewater rafting adventures and riverboarding in Kananaskis Country. Gentle float trips to level III.
Inside Out Experience – Offering trips on the Kananaskis River, Horseshoe Canyon, Elbow River, Red Deer River. Mild to exhilarting adventures.
Kananskis Outfitters – Equipment for use on Barrier Lake in Kananaskis. Canoes, kayaks and stand up paddle boards must be picked up at the shop near the Kananaskis Village and transported to the water. Boat rentals are first-come, first-serve and can be rented at the lakeside. Voyaguer canoe tours of the lake are offered as well as Stand Up Paddle board lessons.
Alpine Rafting – Whitewater rafting, gentle river float trips, stand up paddle boards.