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Floating down the
Bow River
What you need to know to plan
your own adventure
¦ Ah, summertime and the living
is easy, the sky is blue, the birds are
chirping and the rafts are on the Bow
River. Want to join them? It’s not that
hard to pull off once you have all the
details sorted out. Here’s a formula
for taking out a group — small or
large — and enjoy the day. Thorough
planning days ahead of time will
ensure an enjoyable and stress-free
day for your float.
CHOOSE YOUR TRIP: There are two
recommended easy half-day trips, both
of which keep your floaters away from
the dreaded weir, which spells certain
death to anyone attempting to go through
it. The weir is between the Calgary Zoo and Deerfoot trails. Just west of that 3) someone to return the rental gear (this
river access and the 17
Avenue/Cushing intersection on Blackfoot, take a right at can be the same person as the one
river access. One half-day trip goes from the first set of lights (17A street). Take meeting the carpoolers). They should
Bowness to the zoo, and another goes an immediate right onto a gravel road have (or arrange) a large enough vehicle
from 17
Avenue/Cushing to sikome Lake. and park in the parking spots up ahead to transport the rental equipment back
You can purchase a Bow River map which to the left. The put-in is right at the end to the outfitter.
shows all the landmarks, bridges and river of the road (under the overpass). dETERMInE YOUR RaFT TEaMS: Assign
access points. PLan YOUR GEaR: It is best to reserve your one person, or two people for backup if
For the bowness to the Zoo trip, good gear ahead of time to make sure you won’t possible, preferably experienced floaters, to
meeting spots are: be disappointed – it is not unusual for all be the captains of each of your rafts. The
1) Take-out: Inglewood, one block north the available gear in Calgary to be reserved captains will be responsible for guiding their
of spolumbo’s at the parking lot at 12th a week or two ahead of time. A couple of raft around obstacles and paying attention
street and approximately 8th Avenue good places to rent from are the university to landmarks to recognize when it’s time to
sE of Calgary Outdoor Centre and sportsRent. take out. Give a map or a list of landmarks
2) Put-in: Bowness Park at 48th Avenue A good rule of thumb is: for every six people to each captain (a simple list of landmarks
and 88th street NW. Follow the roads get six personal flotation devices (PFDs), in a ziplock bag for waterproofing works
into the park heading as far west as four paddles and one eight-person raft. A well). Distribute the other folks in the rafts
possible to the spot closest to the raft filled to capacity is not as comfortable equally, and make sure you distribute any
stoney Trail overpass. as one with a bit of spare room. experienced folks evenly rather than having
For the 17
ave/Cushing to sikome lake invite your friends and recruit helpers. a lot of newbies in a raft.
trip, good meeting spots are: you will need at least two organizers PICK YOUR MEET TIME: This is when
1) Take-out: the boat launch at Fish Creek (including yourself): everyone arrives at the put-in spot. Work
Park (near sikome Lake – at the end of 1) someone to meet most of your group at backwards from there to pick your carpool
Bow Bottom Trail). Take Bow Bottom the take-out spot for carpooling to the time and your gear rental time, about a half
Trail south into Fish Creek Park. Keep put-in spot hour before your meet time. so, for example,
heading in the same direction, keeping 2) someone to pick up the rental gear. They if your meet time is 10 a.m., your carpool/
left (toward the river). Meet in the lot should have (or arrange) a large enough rental time should be 9:30 a.m..
for the boat launch, past Hull’s Wood. vehicle to transport all the required rafts, aLIGn THE PLanETS: Your carpool
2) Put-in: near the intersection of Blackfoot PFDs and paddles to the put-in. organizer should meet everyone who’s
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