River Kayaking

Whitewater kayaking starts here! Take winter pool clinics, then river kayaking lessons on the Bow and the Kananaskis Rivers.


View all river kayaking programs

ABC River Kayaking Complete Beginner Weekend

Jump into river kayaking with this popular weekend course that combines the A, B and Cs. You'll start with lessons in the pool and finish with an exciting whitewater run on the Bow River outside of Calgary. These weekend courses start Thursday night and go all day Saturday and Sunday. You'll need stamina to paddle all weekend, as this course is energetically paced. Required: Farmer-John-style wetsuit. Prerequisite: none. Includes: instructor, all river kayaking gear.

A. River Kayaking Basics

This 3-hour session includes everything you need to get started. It will begin with a mini-lecture on gear and river awareness to introduce you to the world of river kayakying. Then prepare to get wet as you head to the pool to learn entries, exits and basic paddling strokes. 16+. Prerequisite: none. Includes: instructor, all river kayaking gear.

B. Intro to River Kayaking

Learn to identify river features and hazards, and how to safely navigate a river run. In this full-day session, you'll learn eddy turns, ferry glides and the essentials of confident river running. End the day with a down-river paddle, where you'll continue developing your skills. This course has a two-evening option. Prerequisite: River Kayaking A. Includes: instructor, all river kayaking gear.

C. Intro to Whitewater River Kayaking

After you have moved onto the river, spend a day with us improving your river-running and maneuvering skills as you experience the rapids on the Bow River outside of Calgary. Gain confidence in whitewater under the watchful eye of our knowledgable and passionate instructors. Prerequisite: River Kayaking B. Includes: instructor, all river kayaking gear.

D- Next Step- River Kayaking

After you have moved onto the river, take this course to improve your river running and maneuvering skills as you experience the rapids of the Kananaskis River. Gain confidence in whitewater under the watchful eye of our knowledgeable and passionate instructors.

River Kayak Roll Introduction

A kayak roll is an essential skill to learn and will increase your confidence on the river. In this 2-hour evening course, receive step-by-step instruction to help you complete your first roll in the safety of the University of Calgary pool. NOTE: A nose plug and wetsuit are recommended. Prerequisite: River Kayaking A or equivalent. Includes: instructor, all river kayaking gear.

River Kayak Roll Clinic

Become a rolling superstar. Master or re-learn the river kayak roll with practice and hands-on coaching in this 2-hour evening session. Prerequisite: River Kayak Roll Introduction. Includes: instructor, all river kayaking gear.

River Kayaking Whitewater Weekend

Challange yourself on this 2-day clinic on either the Kananaskis River or the Upper Red Deer. This is the next step for people with the basics who want to practice on a new river and build confidence. You'll have the opportunity to tackle new features under the watchful eye of our experienced instructor. Prerequisite: River Kayaking ABC or equivalent. Includes: Instructor.

Custom Canoe/Kayak Program - Schools

Want to give your students the trip of the year? Let our experienced guides introduce the basics of canoe/kayak tripping on a variety of lakes and rivers across western Canada.

Programs are highly customizable, running from a single day trip to week long expeditions. Our instructors can cover all the paddling instruction needed along with the wilderness skills needed to spend time safely in the back country. All required gear can be provided by the Outdoor Centre.

To set up a program please contact Matthew Steele at (403)220-4205, swapple@ucalgary.ca

Intro to Pack Rafting

Want a new way to explore the wilderness? Our pack rafts are 1-man inflatable kayaks weighing just 5 lbs! An experienced guide will teach you the basics of paddling a pack raft on the Bow River to get you comfortable paddling on your own. Prerequisite: none. Includes: instructor, all packrafting gear.

Open Recreation Pool Session

Use our gear to practice and strengthen your paddling skills during this 1.5 hour session at the University of Calgary pool. Formal/paid instruction is not allowed. To reserve a spot, call Active Living Client Services at 403.220.7749. 14+. Prerequisite: ability to do a braces entry and wet exit. Clean personal boats and solo canoes are welcome. Includes: river/sea kayaks, paddles, spraydecks.

Guided Multi Day Kayak Trips

These family-friendly, easy trips are great for first timers or for a group of mixed ages and abilities. Enjoy the trip from the comfort and security of a raft or paddle it in a kayak!