Kootenay River Multi-night Raft Trip
Scenic drive through Banff and Kootenay National Parks
British Columbia rafting in the Canadian Rockies
A chance to see wildlife such as bears, moose, bighorn sheep, wolves and eagles
Float past amazing riverside waterfalls and hoodoos
Spectacular company, great food and top of the line gear
Fun and friendly class II - III white water
The Kootenay River is a “must do” Canadian classic for any whitewater-tripping enthusiast or those new to rafting and camping. Situated in the rugged Canadian Rockies, the Kootenay is full of fast water, fun rapids and epic scenery. We spend 3 days on the river and during that time guests will experience massive waterfalls poaring into the river, deep canyons, open valleys and ample amounts of wildlife!
Stroll along the river, hike to one of the many waterfalls, fish, read a book or just relax by the fire while our guides get camp set, the brew on and dinner ready. It’s a vacation, so enjoy it.
We are booking now for the summer of 2020 and are offering you an experience of a lifetime. So come join us, you wont regret it!
Kootenay Multi-night Raft Trip Breakdown
Meeting Place: Settlers Cabin, Canmore Alberta, Canada
Meeting Time: 5:00 PM the night before your trip
Return Time: Approximately 6:00 PM on day 3
River Rating: Class II-III
River Distance Kms: 70
Put-In: Highway 93 South, B.C., Canada
Take - Out: Settlers Road, B.C., Canada
Age Restrictions: Minimum age is 5
Boat Type/Propulsion: Oar raft, paddle assisted
Price: Adult: $859.00 + GST | Youth: $759.00 + GST (2020 Prices)
Trip Duration: 3 days, 2 nights
Minimum occupancy: 6 Max occupancy: 12
Transportation Included from Canmore and Banff
Photo by: Chelsea Scott
Photo By: Canadian Rivers Wild
Included in your cost
Skilled, professional guide service
All meals from lunch on day 1 through lunch on day 3
2 nights catered camping
1 waterproof bag to hold your gear for the trip (approximate sealed size: 33” tall x 16″ diameter—with a maximum capacity of 110 liters).
1 small waterproof bag for camera and other small items you’ll want during the day (approximate sealed size: 17” tall x 9” diameter)
2-person tent on a shared basis
PFD: Personal Floatation Device to be worn at all time in the raft
River Booties open request
Camp amenities such as chairs, eating utensils, cups and plates
Highest quality inflatable rafts and related equipment
Van transfer from Canmore to the river and and back to Canmore
All park fees and necessary permits
Not included in your cost
Transportation to and from Canmore pre/post actual trip dates
Pre- and post-trip accommodations and meals
Insurance of any kind, mandatory emergency medical evacuation insurance
Sleeping kit including sleeping bag and pad
Fishing gear and license (optional)
Items of a personal nature and equipment (an equipment list will be provided)
Take a peek into what life is like on the river!
Raft Type and Propulsion
On our Kootenay River trips we usually provide NRS (Northwest River Supply) oar rafts. Oar rafts carry our camp gear along with a handful of passengers. Your guide rows the raft with a set of 9 - 12 ft oars from a centre or stern-mounted frame. Oars allow guests with more freedom inside the raft to look for wildlife, bask in the scenery and of course lounge during calmer reaches. Your guide may ask you to assist with paddling in the more challenging sections or if the conditions become cool or windy.
Our journey will take us from high up in the Canadian Rockies, past rugged mountains with spectacular glaciers and peaks, forested river valley's full of a variety of trees and plants and end up near the Columbia River trench. This is area full of natural and historical histories. From the First Nations that lived of the land and rivers to the wolf and the eagle that still call this wilderness home. It can be a harsh environment to live in and many people, including miners, trappers and foresters have come and gone but the one thing that will always remain is it's stunning beauty.
The Kootenay River starts high up in the mountains as the Vermillion River. The Class II - III whitewater section that we will float, is glacial fed and remains pretty cool all year round. The Kootenay runs highest in June and early July, with the spring snowmelt typically leaving medium to moderate levels for August and September.
Flora and Fauna
The Kootenay Valley is a fantastic area for viewing wildlife. Wildlife sightings have included grizzly and black bear, moose, cougar, bighorn sheep, elk, deer, mountain goat and wolf. Indigenous species also include coyote, lynx, marten and red fox. In the fall eagles may be found feeding on the salmon and occasionally can also be seen soaring over the canyons of the middle and lower sections of our trip. A large variety of water fowl and song birds also call this river valley home. Canada geese and the fish-eating merganser are found along the river.
The mountain slopes and forested valleys are home to a variety of trees including pine, fir, spruce and cedar. Aspen, poplar, and cottonwood are found on the alluvial fans and river terraces, while wildflowers such as fireweed, yellow cinquefoil, hare bells, red paint brush and wood lilly's cover the river’s edge.
Life at Camp
At the end of each day on the water, we will head to shore to set camp for the night. On land, our first task is to unload the rafts. Guests can grab their Billy Bags and locate an area on the beach or tree line to camp for the night. Once tents are set-up and everyone is settled in, guests will have the option to head up to the Cross River Falls while the rest of the guides set up the kitchen and fire/seating area. There is also a UFO shaped toilet area away from camp that a guide will point out..
As dinner is being prepared our chef, will lay out a few cheese and meat platters by the fire for guests to pick away at.
In the morning coffee, tea, hot chocolate and some juice and water will be ready along with fresh fruit and cereal will be ready in the kitchen area. You can fill your mug and/or grab a bite, then head off and pack up your gear while breakfast is being prepared. Once breakfast is served and devoured, camp will be broken down and loaded onto the rafts.
All the meals we prepare are healthy and hearty. We only use fresh ingredients and a variety of foods. Mornings on a multi-day trip usually start with toast, bacon, sausage, eggs, hash browns, fruit, juice and coffee or tea. A riverside lunch will be a healthy spread of meats and cheeses with a variety of wraps or pitas stuffed with veggies and hummus. There are always cookies and a cooling drink to top it off. At dinner, our chef's cooking skills truly shine—sizzling steaks, chicken, calamari and delicious pasta dishes are all part of his repertoire. Dinner generally includes a salad, and desserts are frequent. Oh and there are always a variety of cheeses, meats and crackers before dinner!
We need to know as soon as possible about any dietary restrictions we should consider in planning your trip. If you have additional food allergies or necessary restrictions, we will do our best to accommodate your needs.
Beverages / Alcohol
We provide a variety of canned beverages, water, juice and a limited supply of beer and/or wine with dinner. You are welcome to bring your own favorite beverages, alcoholic or non-alcoholic, in non-glass containers. If you choose to bring additional drinks or alcoholic beverages, please let us know in advance. For your safety and the safety of others, alcoholic beverages are limited to camp.
Because of the length of this trip, we actually bring along fresh mountain spring water right out of the ground. If for some reason we run short we do have a purification system we use. We store the purified water in large containers that are accessible in camp, at lunch time and before hikes for filling personal water bottles. All water in containers is for drinking only. It is not used for cooking, washing, bathing or brushing your teeth. The river supplies us the water for those amenities.
We plan to do a couple of short hikes and walks during the trip. Please let your guide know if you are an experienced hiker or beginner and remember to bring a water bottle and sturdy shoes. Remember, however, that all hikes are optional and you can choose to stay at camp and relax instead.
We are lucky in the sense that we have actual pit toilets at both our camp spots on this trip. Thanks to Paddle Canada and Special Adventure Services Inc., we installed donated thrones a few years ago. Each bathroom is located at a safe distance from the water and yet still easily accessed from our campsites. We carry hand sanitizer, toilet paper and some reading materials to ensure we always have the essentials at each location. We also have spots along the river that guests can access if nature calls while on the raft.
If you think that a nice bath is in order after a day on the water for after a hike, a quick dip in the river to wash off is allowed. However the water is glacial cold. Most often guests prefer to wipe down and refresh with disposable baby wipes which are especially convenient. If you do use soap while in the river, we recommend using a liquid biodegradable soap, such as Camp-suds which can be purchased at camping and health food stores in Canmore or Banff. A rule of thumb is to please advise your guide or trip leader before you go into the river and they will direct you to a safe spot to soak. Guides will have locations and guidelines to use while bathing at camp.
If you wish to bring, and we recommend it, your camera we do provide a small waterproof bag (17” tall x 9” diameter—approximate sealed size) to store that and other items you might need during the day. While these bags are designed to be waterproof when closed properly, you should place your camera in a zip-lock plastic bag or waterproof casing for additional protection. Remember to bring additional memory cards, batteries and any other extras you will need. Of course the use of any personal equipment is the users responsibility. We will not be responsible for lost or damaged items.
Once we are on 93 south there is zero connection with the rest of the world until we are off the river and back into the Banff township area. Cell phone and wifi service is not available anywhere along our journey. We do carry satellite phones which are strictly used to call out in case of an emergency situation on the river.
This is a semi-arid zone. Average July/August temperatures range from a high of 26°C/79°F to a low of 8°C/46°F. The area enjoys 2,000 hours of sunshine per year, and an annual rainfall of just 241mm/9.5in. Although the weather here an be favourable, it is also susceptible to quick weather changes. Because this area is in the mountain, weather can change quickly. Please be prepared for all possibilities by following the packing guidelines provided for you. You can also keep an eye on the weather up here by visiting
PACKING FOR YOUR TRIP
All clothing (with a few exceptions) should be quick-drying and made of merino wool or synthetics. Warmth and comfort are the main objectives with this outline. Weather conditions can vary considerably in the mountains no matter the season. It’s important to dress to the weather of the day. By following the packing guidelines provided, you should be prepared for all weather and environmental conditions.
Raftwear—Always start with sunscreen no matter if it's sunny or cloudy, base layers, pants/shorts that can get wet and a long-sleeved shirt/warm hoody and of course a river hat. Additional layers of fleece, socks and rain gear can be stored in your day bag. As the day warms up, layers can be taken off and stored away. Rain pants should be large enough to accommodate base layers.
In Camp—Cotton pants/shorts and shirts make great camp wear. A dry set of long underwear is the perfect base layer under long pants and a fleece sweater when first off the river or if the temperatures are on the cool side.
Hiking Clothes—Choose lightweight fabrics that breathe well while walking. Base layers can be added or removed based on the weather. Whatever you choose, make sure you have comfortable freedom of movement, especially for uphill and downhill walking.
Rafter—Comfortable runners/shoes/sandals that you don't mind getting wet and warm wool/fleece/neoprene socks. At times an neoprene shoe with good soles may be appropriate. Sandals will not provide the protection you want from the water by themselves when its cold. Your feet will get wet getting in and out of the boat and the water is cold. No-slip soles are ideal.
In camp—Comfy shoes/light hikers/flip flops or sandals make for good camp shoes. It’s nice to put on dry socks and shoes after a day on the water. Flip flops or slip-on sandals are OK for wearing in camp only.
Hiking— We do have an optional small hike or two so having decent hikers/sturdy shoes are important. Our trails are often rooty or sometimes muddy, you need a good strolling shoe or boot with a firm sole, a degree of water resistance and some ankle support. It’s easy to find a “hybrid” walking boot, which combines the lightweight, ventilated features of a shoe with the support and durability of a boot.
Socks—We recommend wool socks, as they will keep your feet warm if they get wet. It’s a good idea to change into clean, dry socks once you’re off the river at camp.
If you plan to buy footwear for the trip, allow time for break-in and wear your footwear until its comfy.
Bring along a good river hat with a big brim to help shade the sun on those hot sunny days. If the weather gets cool, having a beanie or toque will be much appreciated.
To Avoid Being Cold
Merino wool or synthetic long underwear is a must-have on river trips. It keeps you warm even if it’s wet, dries quickly and can be layered under your rain jacket and pants. Be aware that cotton items, once wet, do not insulate; only synthetic and wool materials will keep you warm if wet.
Pile or Fleece— This fabric is warm, dries quickly and is not excessively bulky. It can be found in many different styles and colors. Bring along good fleece tops and bottoms, along with a warm hat and gloves. You’ll want to double-up on your synthetic layers so that you’ll have a set to wear in the boat and a set of warm, dry clothes for camp.
It is one of the essential items that all passengers should have, no matter what time of year you are traveling. You will want a waterproof rain jacket and pants for on the water and in camp on those wet days. Look for jacket and pants that are 100% waterproof, not just water resistant. A hooded jacket is recommended, with secure closures for your head, neck and wrists. Pants should be large enough to accommodate several base layers underneath.
Protecting yourself from the sun should be taken very seriously. A hat, sunscreen, lip balm and sunglasses are a must. In many cases, a long-sleeve shirt is the best method for preventing sunburn on your upper body. Light-weight long pants may also be appropriate to protect your legs. Consider bringing a good hat that offers full coverage, such as a wide-brimmed hat.
Bugs & Mosquitoes
Bugs and mosquitoes vary depending on location and time of year. It’s a good idea to come prepared with insect repellent. Long sleeved shirts and pants may be desirable at times.
The following is a list of items that you are responsible to bring along for the trip. Maximum baggage allowed per person.
These items must be kept in separate bags; the small kitchen bag will be stored with the group kitchen/food overnight. If you are coming as a group or couple, try to maximize space to cut down on the number of bags. We have a limited amount of room in the rafts, so please respect the baggage restrictions.
☐ Daypack: for day hikes. It should be large enough to carry raingear, jacket, camera and water bottle
☐ Two 1-liter water bottles: durable and reusable if you have one; an empty soft drink bottle works fine if you don’t
☐ Headlamp or flashlight (consider bringing extra batteries)
☐ Sunglasses (preferable polarized) with securing strap (consider bringing a spare)
☐ Small, quick-drying towel and washcloth
☐ Bathing towels/wipes: pre-moistened disposable wipes such as Coleman Swash Cloths
☐ Toiletries including biodegradable soap
☐ Sunscreen and lip protection: waterproof & SPF 30 or higher (aerosol sprays not recommended)
☐ Moisturizing lotion or cream
☐ Insect repellent
☐ Personal first aid kit (Band-aids, antibiotic ointment, ibuprofen, moleskin, eye drops, etc.)
☐ Spare pair of glasses and/or contacts
☐ Cash for gratuities and incidentals
☐ Lightweight hiking boots or shoes: 1 pair, comfortable and with good tread for hiking and in camp
☐ Sandals with a heel strap or flip flops
☐ Socks: 2 pair, wool or fleece socks
☐ Long-sleeved shirt: 1 quick drying (UPF rated shirts are great)
☐ Long pants: 1 lightweight and quick-drying
☐ Shade hat or visor with securing strap
☐ Rain jacket & pants: waterproof (not water resistant). A hooded jacket with secure closures is recommended
☐ Swimsuit / trunks
☐ Shorts: 1-2 pair
☐ T-shirts/tops: 2
☐ Base layers/long underwear—tops & bottoms, light to mid-weight merino wool or synthetic
☐ Fleece pants: (medium to expedition weight)
☐ Down or synthetic insulated jacket for camp wear
☐ Beanie-style hat and gloves—wool or fleece are ideal
☐ Binoculars: small
☐ Camera and accessories
☐ Plastic bags: Large trash bags and assorted zip-lock bags to separate wet or dirty clothes
☐ Sketchbook, notebook and pen, paperback book
☐ Fishing rod with case and tackle (fishing license is required)
☐ Whiskbroom: small (no long handle) to sweep wet sand off tent
Packing Your Gear
At the pre-trip meeting each person will be given a large waterproof "Billy Bag" (110 Ltr).This bag will be for your clothing and personal items and will be your “checked luggage” and accessible in camp. Tents and sleep kits are stowed separately. We also provide a small waterproof bag for day use where you can keep items such as raingear, camera, sunscreen, lip balm, etc. (approximate sealed size: 17” tall x 9” diameter). The bags are cylindrical in shape and pack from the top. At the end of the river trip, you will return to Canmore with your waterproof bag, where you will be able to unpack your gear before your trip home.
We recommend you take on the river only what’s absolutely necessary. Keeping gear to a minimum ensures it will fit into the waterproof bags we supply and reduces unnecessary packing and unpacking in camp. If you have extra items needing storage, you may be able to store it at your hotel or campsite back in Canmore or Banff.