The sun is out, and you’re looking to the river to cool off. We wish taking a good ol’ float was as easy as hopping into a dingy with some snacks and a pair of sunglasses. You’re going to need to plan ahead, especially if this is your first time. Luckily, that’s something we’re able to help you guys with! Here is our guide to everything you need to know in order to enjoy a full day of floating down the Bow River in Calgary.

Where to Rent

First things first. The basics! If you have your own drift boat, canoe, kayaks, or raft, skip forward! You’re already ahead of the game. If not, you’re going to need to rent a floater. We would recommend booking way ahead, because naturally when the heat hits, everyone heads out. All places listed below will have everything you need to take the Bow! They’ve got rafts, paddles, kayaks, and life jackets.

Lazy Day Raft Rentals

Where: 720 – 3rd Street NW, Calgary
Cost: $55+

The Paddle Station

Where: 5227 – 13 Ave NW, Calgary
Cost: $50+

Sports Rent

Where: 4424 16 Ave NW Calgary
Cost: $55+



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Now that you’ve got a raft, you’ll need to know where to park! We’d recommend having two cars and parking one vehicle at one end and the other at a starting point.

Typically, if it was any other year, Lazy Day Rental would actually also offer transportation. Unfortunately, their shuttle service is currently out of order but we definitely recommend keeping these guys in your back pocket for 2021!

Popular starting points include: 

Carburn Park

Where: 67 Riverview Drive SE, Calgary

Edworthy Park

Where: 5050 Spruce Drive SW, Calgary

Bowness Park

Where: 8900 48 Ave NW, Calgary

Prince’s Island Park

Where: 698 Eau Claire Ave SW, Calgary

Sue Higgins Park

Where: Southland Drive SE &, Deerfoot Trail, Calgary

Safety and Rules

Safety is first and foremost on the Bow. We know some of you will try to resist because you feel like your rebel reputation may be on the line, but don’t. We promise no one will think you went soft because you brought the proper gear and survived.

All passengers must wear a lifejacket, and you won’t be able to drink a Bow-pop while on the water. Sorry guys, you’ll have to leave the good stuff on land. Also, because its Calgary, and the weather is super unpredictable, it’s important to note that if the clouds roll in and it begins to pour, it’s recommended that you pull over to the side (no matter how tempting it may be to ride those waves like a peg-legged sea captain in the first five minutes of a pirate film.)

If you have any other questions about the do’s and don’ts of floating down the Bow River, check out the city of Calgary website here! 

Summer will be gone in the blink of an eye, so keep one on the forecast! Sunny days are ahead and you won’t want to waste a spicy minute of the season. Hopefully, we’ve helped you guys plan your Bow River adventure. Enjoy yourselves, and be safe!