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I.C.Y.M.I.: The Best Spots to Float Down a River in Alberta

HOT SUMMER GUIDE: Albertans know how to take full advantage of the summer. The long winters make the warmer months just a little sweeter.

Luckily, when the ice melts, Alberta’s long and winding rivers can be one of the best places to soak up the sun and enjoy the great Albertan summers.

While the Rocky Mountains have plenty of places to white water raft, we wanted to talk about the best spots in Alberta to float down the river. This is for everyone who wants to enjoy the afternoon letting the current gently push you along.

Where to Get Your Floating Gear

Before you head out on a river you must make sure that you got the right gear. Even the calmest rivers can be treacherous if you aren’t prepared, so make sure you have life jackets and all the necessary and recommended safety gear for heading out. If you are looking to rent or buy gear, there are plenty of local sports shops who can help. If you don’t have a favourite local spot, check out MEC.

Pembina River

Located about an hour west of Edmonton, the Pembina River boasts spectacular views and a leisurely pace. It’s the perfect spot for anyone who wants to see the beauty of the prairies without worrying about a lot of competing watercraft. Plus, Pembina River Tubing is there to offer you all the equipment you need as you float past the 62-metre gorge and plenty of wildlife.

North Saskatchewan River

Arguably the best place to float down the North Saskatchewan River is between Voyageur Park and the Devon Lions playground. This beautiful little spot is also a favourite boat launch for paddlers, so there is a nice sense of community for anyone enjoying the river.

The Bow & Elbow Rivers

Calgarians know that both of these rivers offer excellent waters for tubing and leisurely exploring. Families will probably enjoy the shallow calm of the Elbow River while people who want something a bit grander can head to the Bow River. For both, be sure to check conditions before you head out.

South Saskatchewan River

For those living further south in Alberta, the South Saskatchewan River is an excellent choice. For the best excursion, head to Echo Dale Regional Park-East on Holsom Road. If you do go, be sure to pack a whistle, a 15-foot tow rope and a PFD so that your trip complies with local laws.

Floating down one of Alberta’s grand rivers is an excellent outdoor excursion that’s relaxing and beautiful. Wherever you go, make sure you know the local laws and regulations, and always be sure to have the safety equipment you need to keep you and your family safe. Happy floating!

Zachary Edwards is a freelance writer and a contributor to Great West Media. This story was republished for the Great West Media & Southern Alberta Newspapers Hot Summer Guide advertising feature. The Hot Summer Guide is a special feature about summer activities, bucket list adventures, staycation options, road trips, attractions, events, and road trip-worthy food & beverage destinations across Alberta. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff.

This article was originally published on August 25, 2021.

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