So you’ve got one eye on the river and one eye on the forecast and you’re realizing that you’re going to have to plan ahead for floating the Bow, and probably see an optometrist as well. Good thing we can help you with one of those, so here’s our guide for everything you need to know about a great day of floating down the Bow River.
Where to Rent
Alright, so right off the bat we have to give you some basics. Naturally, if you have your own raft or kayak or whatever you’re using to get down the river then you can skip this step. If you’re looking for rentals, however, you can go ahead and check any of these places out (and we recommend booking ahead): The Paddle Station, Lazy Day Raft Rentals, Sports Rent, and even the Outdoor Centre at the UofC.
You can get everything you need equipment-wise from these spots, including rafts, kayaks, paddles, lifejackets, shark cages, piranha bait etc. so once you get this set up you’ve got the hard part taken care of.
Bet you didn’t think that where to park would be one of the most important things about floating the Bow, did you? If you did then go ahead and pat yourself with your genius hand on your genius back and if you didn’t then don’t worry you are just normal like the rest of us. If you’re renting from Lazy Day Rentals, you can park at its location (Calgary Curling Club) and hop onto the hourly shuttle that will take you to your starting point.
The Paddle Station makes this easy as well, as you can choose from multiple stations to stop along the river and leave your kayak or raft with one of the Paddle Station vans. You might have to Uber back to Shouldice Park to pick up your car, but hey, guess what? Paddle Station will set that up for you too.
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Safety and Rules
We know that you’re an absolute rebel and that you’ve always thought rules were meant to be broken, but no one is going to think you’re less tough for being safe on the Bow. Lifejackets for all passengers, proper gear, and of course no alcohol are some of the most important rules out there on the wild waters. And if the weather turns sour, then make sure you’re prepared to go head-on against the might of Poseidon and ride those waves like an old Sea captain (JK just pull over to the side).
We know there aren’t too many perfect days weather-wise in Calgary, and that the summer can disappear in the blink of an eye. So if you find yourself with a day off and the sun is shining then get down to the river and try out some of the above options!