View all canoeing programs

ABC. Canoeing Complete Beginner Weekend

Give canoeing a try with this popular weekend course that combines the ABCs over one weekend. Plus it's at a discounted rate. Start with Friday evening's basic flatwater skills and then spend Saturday learning river fundamentals. On Sunday, you'll spend a full day learning and practicing whitewater skills, finishing with a river run to bring it all together. Prerequisite: none. Includes: instructor, all canoe gear.

A. Intro to Lake Canoeing

You'll learn the basics in this beginner flatwater canoeing lesson that takes place at Bowness Park. Learn how to track straight lines, turn, brace and how to control your canoe and work together with your partner. We will enjoy paddling in the shelter of the lagoon and down the canal.  Prerequisite: none. Includes: instructor, all canoe gear.

B. Intro to River Canoeing

Build on your flatwater canoeing skills and take them to the Bow River. Join us at Bowness Park where you will learn the skills to safely navigate moving water. You will learn how to do eddy turns and forward ferries in order to increase your confidence on the river. Prerequisite: Canoeing A or equivalent. Includes: instructor, all canoe gear.

C. Intro to Whitewater Canoeing

Canoeing just got thrilling! Now that you've moved onto the river, we'll help you to improve river-running and maneuvering skills as you run the rapids from Ghost Dam to Cochrane. This is a full-day course that will equip you to take our moderate level guided canoe trips. Prerequisite: Canoeing B or equivalent. Includes: instructor, all canoe gear.

C+. Canoeing Refresher Weekend

Start off the paddling season strong by refreshing your skills early. Over the weekend, we'll practice river maneuvers, rescues and safety. The first day is on the Bow River west of Cochrane for some class 1+ and the second day is on the Kananaskis River for some class II. There is an option to join us Saturday only if you can't do the full weekend. Prerequisite: Canoeing ABC or equivalent. Includes: instructor, all canoe gear.

D. Whitewater Canoeing

Learn how to read whitewater and practice the skills needed to maneuver your canoe through rapids on class II rivers. This 1-2 day course is perfect for becoming more confident in whitewater and taking the next step. Do this all safely under the guidance of a trained professional. Prerequisite: Canoeing ABC or equivalent. Includes: instructor, all canoe gear.

Guided Canoe Trips

Paddle some of the best canoe-tripping rivers in the world right here in Western Canada. You'll see things like hoodoo-lined canyons, gorgeous mountain valleys with scenic waterfalls, turquoise glacial water and exhilarating class I-III rapids. These 5-day canoe trips will introduce you to the beauty of travelling by river as you wilderness camp along the way. Come relax with us this summer on either the historical North Saskatchewan river west of Rocky Mountain House or the magical Kootenay river nestled in the heart of the rockies. Prerequisite: Canoeing B or equivalent for Easy rivers, and Canoeing ABC or equivalent for Moderate rivers. Includes: guides, all canoeing and cooking gear, van transportation, and camping fees.

***BONUS! Register for a trip and get 10% off any ABC or D Full Weekend course.***

ABC. Whitewater Solo Canoeing Complete Beginner Weekend

Come get introduced to the world of whitewater solo canoeing! In this course, you'll progress from basic strokes on the Bowness lagoon to beginner whitewater skills on the Bow River. Try something new or build on what you know about canoeing and see the river in a different way. Prerequisite: none, but canoe experience is recommended. Includes: instructor, all canoe gear.

D. Whitewater Solo Canoeing

Learn how to read whitewater and practice the skills needed to maneuver your solo canoe through rapids on class II rivers. These evenings or weekend long courses on the Upper Red Deer, Kananaskis or Highwood rivers are your chance to take your solo whitewater skills to the next level. Prerequisite: Solo Canoeing ABC or equivalent. Includes: instructor, all canoe gear.

Adaptive Paddling Programs

Spend a summer evening learning to canoe on Bowness Lagoon! These sessions are centered upon giving participants with physical and/or cognitive disabilities the experience to participate in various adaptive watersports. Participants and their friend, family member, or aide will learn the basics of paddling with one of our trained instructors while building their skills and confidence on the water. Lessons will occur at Bowness Park Lagoon in Calgary, Alberta. We will also have pedalboats available if participants are not comfortable in a canoe.

Teen Canoe Expedition

Spend 3-5 days on a canoe trip this summer! Learn about paddle strokes, water safety, and how to pack for a multi-day trip from experienced canoe guides. Trips will be lake-based or river-based in Alberta.
Please Note: camping may not be at designated campsites. This program involves travel in a 15-passenger van, driven by a trained and qualified driver.

  • Able to swim 50m in a lifejacket

Expeditions are activity-based, multi-day overnight trips. Please review the list of required items in the details below that you will be expected to bring. Each expedition also has a pre-trip meeting that guardians and participatns must attend. In that meeting, guides will discuss the required items and cover meal planning (food is not included).

Custom Paddle Program

Hire a guide to take you on the trip of your choosing or to give you expert instruction to improve your paddling skills! We also instruct school groups and other non-profits at Bowness Lagoon at an affordable rate. Customize a group booking through the Outdoor Centre today! All gear can be provided by the Outdoor Centre.

Fill out the Outdoor Centre Custom Group Activities Booking Form to book now.

The programs listed in this section are for custom groups to register only and not open to the public. If you are interested in booking a custom program yourself, please fill out the form or contact

Paddle Canada Certification Courses

Paddle Canada Skills or Instructor certification courses being offered by the Outdoor Centre.