So you like bouncing your way down churning whitewater? or peacefully paddling? or maybe a power boat is more your style?
You’ve come to the right place. The Columbia Valley is home to all types of water sports and activities from rafting rapids to stand up paddleboarding.
Locally there are several excellent rafting companies offering a variety of half-day and full-day packages suitable for everyone and great for families.
If you’re an experienced paddler, this is Nirvana; the Kootenay, Spillimacheen, Lussier, Wild Horse and White rivers, along with Toby, Skookumchuck and Horsethief creeks are great for both for kayakers, canoeists and paddleboarders.
Of course, all watercourses end up in the Columbia River, which doesn’t offer whitewater adventure; all the Columbia can provide is gorgeous scenery around every bend and easy access. The river begins here and it winds its way through its internationally significant wetlands, which at 180 km in length, makes them the longest continuous series of wetlands in North America.
And it doesn’t matter which river or creek you dip a paddle in, wildlife is always evident.
If rafting doesn’t suit your needs, we suggest you check out some good old valley ingenuity.
The Columbia River offers some of the most beautiful day paddles this side of heaven. The float down the river from Athalmer to Radium Hot Springs is a wonderful way to spend a day and the chances of spotting a wide assortment of bird and wildlife are enormous. It’s an easy float going north and we recommend you have a pick-up spot down river rather than trying to fight the current on the way back.
Skookumchuck, 58 km from Fairmont Hot Springs, is a good spot to conclude the beautiful four to five hour paddle down the Kootenay River from Canal Flats. Pack a picnic lunch and make it an all day trip down the mostly gentle class one river. For the more adventurous, the Skookumchuck River offers class five rapids. Canoe rentals and shuttle services can be arranged in Skookumchuck.
The Kootenay River between Kootenay National Park and Canal Flats is another popular canoeing river, though we recommend you brush up on your knowledge of the river prior to departing as it contains a couple of tricky rapids.
The valley and the benches of the Rockies and Purcells contain numerous small lakes which make for nice, quiet paddles. We recommend you check in with local sporting stores, the Invermere Forest District or Kootenay National Park for more information about places to canoe, and for more in-depth info about the areas you’re considering launching.
Local Water Sports Businesses
|Columbia River Paddle||Kayak, canoe, stand up paddleboard (SUP) rental, guided tours of wetlands|
|Adventure Paddle School||Lessons, fitness, adventures – kayaks, paddleboards|
|Columbia Wetlands Adventures||paddle tours|
|Kootenay River Runners||River rafting adventures!|
|Wet n Wild Rafting Adventures||River rafting adventures!|
|Invermere Sales and Rentals||Recreational rentals – water toys!|
|Pete’s Marina||Power boat rentals, marine services, boat valet|
|Shadybrook Marina||Power boat rentals, watersports school, pro shop, charter services|
|Far Out Gear Rentals||Rent a paddleboard, kayak or canoe – in Radium Hot Springs|