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Kayaking, Vermilion Lakes, Banff National Park
Noel Hendrickson
Vermilion Lakes

Canoe & Kayak

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Explore the tranquil lakes and waterways of Banff National Park by kayak or canoe. Canoeing and kayaking are ideal for a family-friendly outing on the water for a few hours, or pack a lunch and make a full day of it. Most lakes have picnic areas with tables and benches, a sandy beach, and swimming area. 

Canoeing is a wonderful way to work out, get some sunshine and take in the nature all at once.– Sabina Trojanova, Elite Daily


There are several places where you can put in your own non-motorized boat. Local favourites close to the town of Banff include Johnson Lake, Two Jack Lake and Vermilion Lakes. In the Lake Louise area, Moraine Lake and Lake Louise are stunningly scenic lakes to explore, while the Herbert, Hector, Bow and Waterfowl Lakes along the Icefields Parkway offer yet more spectacular vistas. 

Non-motorized boats – including canoes, kayaks, sailboats and rowboats – are allowed on all lakes within Banff National Park. Boats with motors (gas or electric) are restricted to Lake Minnewanka only.


Bow River in Banff National Park has excellent canoeing 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.



Please note: 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.

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.