The Kicking Horse River, without question, offers the best whitewater rafting in the Canadian Rockies. It also is the most convenient river to get to given its proximity to our nation’s number one transportation artery: the TransCanada Highway (or, TCH for short). Even better, Wild Water Adventures’ RiverBase is steps away from the TCH. If driving east or west between Alberta and British Columbia, you’ll pass right by our front doorstep!
The big talk around the RiverBase is the Kicking Horse Canyon highway construction project. Over the past decade or more, the TransCanada Highway, between Calgary, Alberta and Kamloops, BC, has been expanded and upgraded. One of the last remaining sections requiring renovation is the 4.8 kilometres running through the Kicking Horse Canyon.
This narrow, twisty and curvy bit of road, located just east of Golden, BC, has to be one of the most rugged and scenic sections of any Canadian highway (rivalling the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island). With the 2022 rafting season just around the corner, we here at Wild Water Adventures want to take a moment to update everyone on this logistically-important project.
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT THE KICKING HORSE CANYON CONSTRUCTION PROJECT
1. Location, Location, Location!
Wild Water Adventures is the closest Kicking Horse rafting outfitter to Banff, Calgary and Lake Louise. Our RiverBase is strategically located alongside the TransCanada highway, several miles/kilometres before the actual construction site. Other outfits, based farther along in Golden, require guests to drive through the construction zone not once, but twice. Wild Water guests driving from the ‘east’ (i.e. Lake Louise, Banff, Calgary) won’t even see the construction site; in fact, all our put-in and take-out locations are nowhere near it. None of our Kicking Horse rafting adventures will be impacted, and daily schedules will continue to run with typical clockwork precision.
2. 2022 Construction Schedule
While some construction will continue throughout the summer season, this will mostly be done at night. From May 20th at noon through mid-September, closures are to occur only between 10PM and 7AM, 7 days per week except for Friday nights and holiday weekends. The highway will remain completely open during the day (7 AM through 10 PM).
**For the months of April and May, up to noon on May 20th, the highway will be completely closed down. Detour routes through Kootenay National Park via Highways 93 and 95 will be required. **
REMEMBER: Opening Day on the River for the 2022 Season is Saturday, May 21st.
For project-specific information, please click here.
3. Check Road Updates The Night Before Your Rafting Trip
Both British Columbia and Alberta have road-related websites offering updates on conditions and events. A day or two before your rafting adventure, please look at both DriveBC (Rocky Mountain region) and Alberta 511.
Summer is fabulous for rafting … and road construction! On any given week, a myriad of smaller projects can be found along the TransCanada highway between Calgary and Golden. Arrive on time at the RiverBase by first doing a little online research. Know before you go is a great rule of thumb for both the backcountry and the TransCanada highway! We also highly recommend adding an additional 20 minutes to the expected driving time … just to be on the safe side.
Feel free to also give us a call directly at the RiverBase for updates. We are happy to provide information and insight on the local driving conditions. Our toll-free number is 1-888-647-6444.
4. What Happens If I’m Early?
Have no worry if your arrival at the RiverBase is ahead of schedule. The welcome will always be warm and friendly! Feel free to kick back at one of our picnic tables and take in the view and the sunshine. Or, nestle up next to a propane heater on the covered deck in case Mother Nature is in a bit of a bad mood. If the legs need stretching, take a mellow 15-minute stroll down to the river itself. Depending upon your choice of rafting trip, you may float by that very spot in a short while. For those with plenty of time to spare (an hour or more), check out Wapta Falls. A brief 10-minute drive back down the highway into Yoho National Park, and a 20-minute mellow walk through the forest, brings you to a miniature Niagara Falls. This also makes a worthwhile stop after the rafting trip.
5. What Happens If I’m Late?
Even with careful planning, and an additional 20 minutes added to the expected driving time, traffic and/or construction still causes delays. Inevitably each year, a small number of guests miss their rafting departure because of slowdowns on the highway. In such cases, we will do our absolute best to get everyone on the river by re-scheduling to another trip, either that day or the next.
The Wild Water crew is always determined to provide a top-quality experience for all our guests. This includes providing up-to-date information to help with the planning process.
If there are any questions about travelling to the RiverBase this summer, please simply give us a call (1-888-647-6444) or float us an email (email@example.com).
We look forward to everyone’s safe, and timely, arrival at the RiverBase!
Author: Deborah Wade