Kicking Horse White Water Rafting is renowned as the best of Canadian Rockies rafting, near to Banff, Golden and Lake Louise while being a pleasant drive from Calgary, Alberta. Several sections of the Kicking Horse River make it perfect for family rafting trips, first-time rafters, and those seeking the most exciting river trip in the Canadian Rockies.
The Kicking Horse River earned its rather rowdy name back 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 packhorse. The kick to James Hector’s chest rendered him unconscious for a few days, with a pounding headache lasting for several more! The event was sufficiently noteworthy for his travelling companions to change the river’s name from its original Stoney Indian, ‘Wapta’, to ‘Kicking Horse’.
The Kicking Horse River and its tributaries (the largest being the Yoho River) drain a spectacular landscape of massive icefields, canyons, gorges, cliffs, avalanche slopes and mountain peaks ranking amongst the highest in the Canadian Rockies.
The Kicking Horse River system is fed by small timberline lakes and glacial meltwater streams with colourful names such as Ottertail, Otterhead and Beaverfoot. The river’s personality varies with turbulent rapids, jaw-droppingly beautiful waterfalls and braided streams meandering through valley flats near the town of Field, BC.
Two of the largest waterfalls are Wapta Falls (just 4km upstream from the Wild Water Adventures RiverBase) and the jaw-dropping Takkakaw Falls in Yoho National Park. Both waterfalls are easily accessible from the TransCanada 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.
For current information on river water levels, click here.