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Paddling in Banff and Lake Louise

Imagine paddling across turquoise water so vivid that it almost doesn't seem real, that's what you can expect when taking to the glacier fed lakes and rivers of Banff National Park. Whether you travel by canoe, kayak or stand up paddle board (SUP), you will be met with unforgettable mountain vistas and an adventure to match. Non-motorized boats including canoes, kayaks and stand up paddleboards are permitted on all water bodies in Banff National Park.

Big Canoe Tour on the Bow River
Banff Canoe Club


Paddling on any lake in Banff National Park is a memorable experience for both visitors and locals alike. Popular lakes to paddle on include Vermilion Lakes, Johnson Lake, Two Jack Lake and Lake Minnewanka near the Banff town area; Lake Louise and Moraine Lake in the Lake Louise area; Herbert Lake, Bow Lake and Waterfowl lake along the Icefields Parkway; and Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park.


Bow River in Banff National Park has excellent paddling for seasoned canoeists and kayakers. The three most popular sections are Lake Louise to Castle Junction, Castle Junction to Banff and Bow Falls to Canmore. Learn more from Parks Canada.

Canoe, Kayak and SUP Rentals 

Rentals are available through the Banff Canoe Club, Black Diamond RentalsBow Valley SUP, Lake Minnewanka Boat RentalsRadventuresSkiBig3 Adventure Hub and Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise canoe docks. You can also purchase gear at Atmosphere in Banff. 

Safety and regulations

Visit the Parks Canada website for important safety information when paddling in Banff National Park.

Lifejackets: Wearing a lifejacket on any watercraft including stand up paddleboards is a requirement set out by Transport Canada. For more information, visit the Transport Canada website.

Self-certification permits: are required to paddle on any water body in Banff National Park. Permits are available online or at multiple locations throughout the park. Visit Parks Canada for more information.

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Plan Your Stay

Browse and book accommodation and lodging packages with our trip planning tool. To learn about the different types of accommodation available in Banff and Lake Louise, visit our Places to Stay page or Contact Us to speak to a local expert.