Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) is a fantastic way to enjoy some exercise and experience the park and its surroundings by water. Head out at dawn to watch the sun come up over the mountains and hear loons calling across the lake, or enjoy an afternoon of gentle rapids and brilliant views on a lively river.
Vermilion Lakes in Banff provide great opportunities for wildlife viewing. Their waters are normally calm enough for novice paddlers and a wooden dock right off the road offers easy access. The three lakes have incredible views of Mount Rundle and are very close to Banff town. Other lakes that are excellent for paddleboarding include Johnson Lake and Two Jack Lake, as they tend to be more sheltered from the wind than Lake Minnewanka.
Lake Louise and Moraine Lake are idyllic locations for a SUP. Paddle the turquoise waters of Lake Louise with the striking Mount Victoria in the background and float on Moraine Lake as you are encircled by the famous Valley of the Ten Peaks.
Rivers and Backcountry
For more adventuresome and experienced SUPers, take things to the next level by riding the Bow River from Banff to Canmore or renting an inflatable board and hiking into pristine lakes in the Rocky Mountain wilderness.
Remember to plan ahead when going paddleboarding in the Canadian Rockies. The lakes are glacier fed and can be very cold if you happen to fall in. Beginners may want to consider renting a wetsuit while learning, and choose a warmer day with little to no wind when paddling on a larger lake. Check Parks Canada weather conditions before you head out.
Stand up paddleboards (SUPs) are available to rent from Banff Canoe Club and can be purchased at Atmosphere in Banff. Easily transportable, inflatable SUPs are available from the Adventure Hub on Banff Avenue where the staff will also happily provide tips for the best spots to go paddling.