River Kayaking

Take pool clinics and paddling lessons with us on the Bow and the Kananaskis. Then spend the summer paddling Alberta rivers and playboating on whitewater.


View all river kayaking programs

ABC River Kayaking Complete Beginner Weekend

Jump into river kayaking with this popular weekend course that combines the ABCs and River Kayak Roll Introduction. You'll start with lessons in the pool and finish with an exciting whitewater run on the Kananaskis 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 1.5 hour session includes everything you need to get started. 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. 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 exciting Kananaskis River outside of Calgary. Gain confidence in whitewater under the watchful eye of our knowledgeable and passionate instructors. Prerequisite: River Kayaking B. Includes: instructor, all river kayaking gear.

D- Harvie Passage Skill Builder

After you have moved onto the river, take this course to improve your river running and maneuvering skills as you enjoy Calgary's new river paly park at Harvie Passage. Gain confidence in whitewater under the watchful eye of our knowledgeable and passionate instructors. Learn to surf right in your own backyard.  Prerequisite: ABC's of kayaking

River Kayak Roll Introduction

A kayak roll is an essential skill to learn and will increase your confidence on the river. In this pool session, 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 pool session. Prerequisite: River Kayak Roll Introduction. Includes: instructor, all river kayaking gear.

Pack and Play on Harvie Passage- Pack Rafting introduction

Want to have fun on Harvie Passage and try out our pack rafts ? Our pack rafts are 1-person inflatable kayaks weighing just 5 lbs. An experienced guide will teach you the basics of paddling a pack raft at Harvie Passage.  The boat is so light you will easily be able to walk up and run the fun rapids many times!  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 braced entry and wet exit. Clean personal boats and solo canoes are welcome. Includes: river/sea kayaks, paddles, spraydecks.

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

Teen River Kayak Series

Learn how to river kayak on the Bow with an energetic, adventurous group.  Build your skills from the Bowness eddies to whitewater fun at Harvie Passage in this 3 night series. The only prerequisite is a willingness to get wet and desire to have fun!

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!