Kicking Horse White Water Rafting
Kicking Horse White Water Rafting is renowned as the best of Canadian Rockies rafting, and closest to Banff, Lake Louise, and a pleasant drive from Calgary, Alberta. Several sections of the Kicking Horse River make it the perfect rafting trip for family rafting trips, first-time rafters, and those seeking the most exciting river trip offered in the Canadian Rockies. Click here for current water flows from the Government of Canada Water Office.
The Kicking Horse River earned its rather rowdy name in 1856. A young Scottish explorer, James Hector, was propelled into the swift and swollen river courtesy of a mighty kick from his angry and tired pack horse. The kick to James Hector’s chest rendered him unconscious for a few days, and with a pounding headache for several more! The event was sufficiently noteworthy for his traveling companions to rename the river from its original Stoney Indian name, “Wapta”, to the current name of the Kicking Horse.
The Kicking Horse River and its tributaries (the largest being the Yoho river, which originates in the Waputik and Wapta icefields on the west slope of the Continental Divide) drain a spectacular landscape of massive icefields, mountain peaks ranking among the highest in the Canadian Rockies, canyons, gorges, cliffs and avalanche slopes.
The Kicking Horse River system is fed by glacial meltwater streams with colourful names like the Ottertail, Otterhead and Beaverfoot, along with small timberline lakes. It varies along its length from turbulent rapids and jaw-droppingly beautiful waterfalls to braided streams meandering through valley flats near the town of Field, BC.
Two of the largest waterfalls along the Kicking Horse River are Wapta Falls, 27 meters high and 61 meters across, just 4km upstream from Wild Water Adventures RiverBase, and the spectacular Takakkaw Falls, dropping 254 meters from the Daly Glacier to the Yoho River near the town of Field, BC. Both waterfalls are accessible from the Trans Canada Highway.
In 1986, the Kicking Horse River was designated as a Canadian Heritage River for its historical, cultural and recreational significance, one of only 3 in the province of British Columbia.