|Stand-up paddle boarding at Johnson Lake, Banff|
Carburn Park, Calgary (67 Riverview Dr SE) has two ponds, and the second, larger pond further from the parking lot is suitable for first-time stand up paddleboarding or SUP yoga (the first, smaller pond has murky water and leeches). Rent SUPs from U of C Outdoor Centre, Aquabatics, Sports Rent, or The Paddle Station. For a fun night paddle at Carburn Pond, sign up for LED Lightup Paddle Boarding with U of C’s Active Living!
Bowness Park (8900 48 Ave NW) has two pretty ponds that are connected, and a channel that connects the ponds to the Bow River. Watch for ducks, geese, and the resident beaver!
Chestermere Lake is a large (4.8 km long) lake 20 minutes east of Calgary with a sandy beach at Anniversary Park and rentals. Put in at Anniversary Park or John Peake Park Boat Launch (behind Tim Horton’s), or rent a SUP from Hyperactive Watersports at the Chestermere Marina. Note that this lake can get some big waves from wind and boat/Seadoo traffic, so mornings and evenings are the best time to paddle.
Other options include Calgary lake communities and Harmony Lake, Springbank. Since you must be a resident of the community or guest, get a friend to invite you!
Where to SUP in Kananaskis
Stand-up paddleboarding on Barrier Lake, Kananaskis
Image Credit: Kananaskis Outfitters
Barrier Lake is one of the closest lakes to Calgary with clear, blue water, a picnic area, and sandy beach. Rent SUPs lakeside from Kananaskis Outfitters on summer weekends. They also offer lessons! If it’s too windy to paddle, hike to Prairie View Trail or Barrier Lake Fire Lookout. The trailhead is at Barrier Dam Day Use. After the turnoff, stay right to park near the lake (going left will take you to trailhead parking further from the lake).
|Stand up paddle boarding at Canmore Reservoir|
Canmore Reservoir aka Rundle Forebay‘s turquoise waters offer easy paddling and an intro to moving water. It’s flat water where you put in, but when you turn the corner and approach the dam at the west end, there can be quite a strong current. The reservoir is 1.8 km long. Get Google directions to the unmarked roadside pullout here (across from the entrance to Canmore Nordic Centre). The Grassi Lakes trailhead is just a short ways down the road.
|Stand up paddleboarding on Spray Lakes Reservoir, Kananaskis|
Spray Lakes Reservoir has crystal clear waters and easy access. Put in at Driftwood Day Use Boat Launch or the hand launch at Spray Lakes West Campground. If the water looks too rough for paddling (it is often quite windy), hike beautiful West Wind Pass, then paddle at Canmore Reservoir on your way home. You can also access Spray Lakes Reservoir from West Spray Lakes Campground’s hand launch.
In the Canmore area, rent SUPs from Bow Valley SUP.
Where to SUP in Banff
|Stand-up paddleboarding at Johnson Lake, Banff
Cascade Mountain in the background
Johnson Lake has shallow, warm water and fantastic views of Mount Rundle and Cascade Mountain. There’s a picnic area, small sandy beach, and pleasant hike around the lake too, so you can a day of it! Look for the rope swing (use at your own risk) and old hermit cabin on Johnson Lake Trail.
|Chilly SUP day at Two Jack Lake, Banff|
Continuing down Lake Minnewanka Drive, you will arrive at Two Jack Lake, a gorgeous paddling and picnic destination. Explore the shoreline or paddle into the middle of the lake for panoramic mountain views if the water is flat. To extend your route, float south down the outflow canal – heads up that you have to work hard on the return. There’s awesome camping at adjacent Two Jack Lakeside campground. Book early to get a spot.
|Stand-up paddle boarding at Vermilion Lakes, Banff|
Vermilion Lakes is the place to go for postcard perfect pictures of Mount Rundle. Park at the first (east lake) as the water is deeper here. If it’s looking shallow, use a short fin (or remove your fin) so it doesn’t drag in the mud. Keep an eye out for birds and wildlife in the wetlands! Experienced paddlers may access the Bow River via Echo Creek and paddle upstream a few kilometres. Note that there is a sulphur smell in the water and the bottom is sticky mud, so this is not a swimming lake.
Rent SUPs from Banff Canoe Club.
What lakes would you add to this list of place to SUP near Calgary?