Whitewater Rafting & Float Trips

#7 in Best Things To Do in Banff
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Paul Zizka Photography/Banff & Lake Louise Tourism

Key Info

Price & Hours

Prices vary by tour company
Hours vary by tour company

Details

Recreation, Tours, Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 3.5Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

When you're not admiring Banff's stunning scenery from a hiking trail or in the comfort of your car, get out on one of its rivers. Whether you're craving the excitement of a whitewater rafting adventure or just want to peacefully glide through the water, you'll find Banff tour operators satisfy a variety of interests.

For a scenic, guided tour of the Bow River and the Hoodoos, consider Rocky Mountain Raft Tours. During these float tours, which can span one to nearly three hours, you'll be seated in a raft as a guide paddles you calmly through the river. Not only is this a great tour for seniors and families with young children, but it's also ideal for anyone who isn't interested in getting wet (even your shoes are safe thanks to the rafts' elevated floorboards). Prices range from CA$55 (about $43) to CA$90 (approximately $70) for adults, depending on the tour. These tours are also the closest to Banff since they take place on the Bow River.

Looking for something a little wilder? Recent travelers recommended Chinook Rafting and Hydra Rafting. These tours, which take travelers through the waters of Kicking Horse River, Kananaskis River and Horseshoe Canyon (located 40 minutes west of Lake Louise and 1 hour and 15 minutes from Banff), are definitely not for the faint-hearted (you'll be wearing helmets and expected to paddle through the rapids). But travelers who opted for these adrenaline-pumping tours loved it. Tour lengths and prices vary by company and the rafting experience you choose, but you can expect to pay about CA$55 (about $43) to CA$169 (around $131). Some operators also provide transportation to and from their launch sites. For a more detailed list of rafting and float trip operators in Banff, check out the Banff & Lake Louise Tourism website.

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#1 Banff Sunshine Village

Located miles 11 miles west of Banff Town, Banff Sunshine Village offers 12 lifts, more than 3,300 skiable acres and a peak elevation of 7,200 feet. And thanks to its location straddling the Continental Divide, Sunshine sees more snow than its neighbors, meaning the ski season here is long – typically from early November to late May. The powdery terrain beckons skiers of all levels (another point of praise from recent travelers), and the Sunshine Mountain Lodge offers a great setting for dinner and drinks after a day on the slopes. 

If you're not in Banff for ski season, you should still make a point to visit Sunshine, according to reviewers. From mid-June to early autumn, the Sunshine Meadows are open for hiking and provide visitors spectacular alpine views of the surrounding peaks, including Mount Assiniboine. Hiking is free and so is the shuttle from town, which runs from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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