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Paddlers Paradise - best spots to paddle in Calgary and area from beginner to expert - Mountain Cultures

Paddlers Paradise - best spots to paddle in Calgary and area from beginner to expert

Alberta is known for its majestic mountain views and pristine lakes and rivers. Paddle boarding is the ultimate way to take advantage of these surreal landscapes giving you a whole new perspective on these magical places. Whether you're a beginner looking to work on basic skills or a more adventurous paddler ready for an adrenaline rush, review our top spots for paddling to get the most out of paddle board season.


Bowness Park Lagoon: Located within the renowned Bowness Park, this lagoon offers calm waters perfect for beginner paddle-boarders. Surrounded by trees, it's sheltered from strong winds, making your paddle boarding experience smooth. Plus, with park amenities nearby, you've got everything you need for a fun day out!

Lake Bonavista: Located in southeast Calgary, this man-made lake is a haven for beginner paddleboarders. with its calm waters and easy access. The lake has gentle breezes and minimal waves, creates a perfect place for practicing essential paddle boarding techniques, such as mastering balance and finesse in maneuvering.

Carburn Park:  Tucked away along the Bow River, Carburn Park is a beautiful spot for beginner paddle boarders.  The park's sheltered lagoon is the perfect training ground before braving the river's more intense currents. This park is abundant in wildlife, trees and if you are feeling like a break from paddling there is a rope swing into the river.

Sikome Lake: In the expansive Fish Creek Provincial Park is Sikome Lake which is a man-made aquatic facility with sandy beaches and clear gentle waters.  It's an inviting spot for beginner paddle boarders and is open from June - late September.  Since it's a popular spot for swimming, it is recommended to visit early morning or evening to avoid the crowds. 

Elbow River: The Elbow River offers a gentler, smoother paddle boarding experience than the Bow river and offers a mellow scenic route through Calgary's natural beauty.  Many exit points allow you to choose your own adventure.


Bow River:  The bow river is amazing for someone looking for a more adventurous paddle. The river flows through town, giving you an unequalled perspective of the city’s river valley and downtown area with incredible views of the city skyline and flourishing banks.  There are some obstacles so keep your head up and get ready for an invigorating ride.  It's easy to deflate your board and hop into an Uber whenever your adventure ends opening up many exit points.



Chestermere Lake: Close to Calgary, Chestermere Lake is a hotspot for water sports enthusiasts.  Since this lake is often busy with motor sports we placed this on the intermediate list as paddlers will have to contend with waves from passing boats and jet skis.  Surrounded by homes and nearby amenities, including a sandy beach, marina and boat launch Chestermere lake is the perfect place to hang out and step up your paddle game. 

Spray Lakes Reservoir: Located in Kananaskis Country, a 2 hr drive from Calgary is Spray Lakes Reservoir.  This larger body of water can be a bit windy, but has some calm areas that are suitable for intermediate paddlers.


Ghost Lake Reservoir:  Just a short drive from Calgary, Ghost Lake is a mecca for many adrenaline seekers. With its ever-changing wind and weather this lake offers a challenging and unique paddle experience. Avoiding weekends this lake is relatively quiet allowing for a peaceful paddle boarding experience. Embrace the refreshing mountain air as you navigate the reservoir's choppy waters and immerse yourself in the rugged beauty of the Rocky Mountains.

Barrier Lake:  If you want challenge and amazing views then go no further than Barrier Lake.  Located in Kananaskis Country, this reservoir can easily turn from calm to challenging due to changing winds and its large size. Views of Alberta's magnificent mountains give paddlers the sought after balance of beauty and heart racing adrenaline. 

There are endless paddle boarding adventures waiting for you in the mountains and across the province and the country.  Let your imagination run wild as you navigate rivers, canals, and lakes and let these naturally beautiful landscapes fuel your soul.

** Before heading out on any paddling adventure, be sure to have your lifejacket/PFD, bring your cell phone in a waterproof case or dry bag and bring a friend!  Be certain to familiarize yourself with the latest weather /wind conditions and water levels prior to heading out.

Be safe and happy paddling!!!





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