White Water Rafting in Banff

#TheRoadtoMore, Canada, RVing, Travel + Adventure

July 3, 2018

White Water Rafting in Banff

Our trip to Banff has been a dream come true.

Honestly, this roadtrip to the Canadian Rockies was such a bucket list item for us, so finally being here and being able to do it with friends is still a little surreal!

When we planned #TheRoadtoMore with Lindsay + Dan of Follow Your Detour and Jon + Nadia of Roaming Remodelers, we knew we’d have fun. We knew we’d be adventuring and hiking and having lots and lots of Mexican food (apparently that’s just our thing!).

But what we didn’t expect was that we’d get to go white water rafting for the very first time!

When #TheRoadtoMore crew came up with this idea, I’m not going to lie… I was a little scared.

Sure, it sounded incredibly fun. It also sounded slightly terrifying!

But in the spirit of friendship and adventure, we said yes – and we’re so glad we did!

White Water Rafting Tour with Chinook Rafting

What we didn’t realize when we said yes, is that Nadia chose the adventure trip – aka the white water rafting tour that would take us down a Class 4 rapid!

She found an amazing tour company, Chinook Rafting, that was offering two types of white water adventures for the day we booked:

  1. The “Family Splash” – a fun trip down the Kananaskis River with Class 2 and 3 rapids. On their website, it says it’s perfect for first-timers, families, and groups. This is probably the smart choice if you’ve never been before! But c’mon where’s the fun in that?
  2. The “Adventure Splash” – obviously the more adventurous choice (it’s called the Adventure splash, after all!) that includes Class 3 and 4 rapids and an optional cliff jump in Horseshoe Canyon

We all decided that we were up for a little adventure and booked the morning tour down Horseshoe Canyon!

Finding Adventure Near Calgary and Banff

One of the best parts of this tour was that Chinook Rafting is located almost halfway between Calgary and Banff – the two locations we’d be traveling through.

For our four friends who travel in small 24-foot Class C’s, taking their rig with them on adventures isn’t as difficult. We knew our 35-foot fifth wheel would be a lot harder to accommodate in parking lots, so we usually leave it at the campground and only drive our truck out.white water rafting in banff

On this day though, we were actually checking out of the Calgary West Campground and heading to our spot at the Lake Louise campground.

At first, we were a little nervous about where we’d leave the RV and if we’d have to drive back to Calgary to get it before heading on to Banff. Thankfully, Chinook Rafting has a huge parking lot and invited us to park all 3 of our RVs right at the meeting spot!

Honestly, that in itself was a huge lifesaver for us. We were all able to bring our homes and our dogs with us, and they were tucked safely away right in the parking lot of the rafting tour!

Getting to Chinook’s meeting spot was an easy 45-minute drive from Calgary, and it was perfectly on our way to head on up to Lake Louise afterwards! Talk about a #winwin.

Class 4 Rapids and Cliff Jumping

Before the rafting trip, we were taking bets on who’d be the first person to fall in the water.

But after a pretty intense safety talk (these guys mean business!) we quickly realized that we actually didn’t really want that to happen. Trying to navigate fallen trees? Rapids? Swimming to shore? No thank you!

So when we turned around the bend to approach our Class 4 Rapid, we listen very carefully to our guide. We knew when to paddle, how hard to paddle, and when to hold on tight!

And when the time came, that rapid was SO fun! No one fell out, and we all got completely soaked 🙂

After we navigated through the Class 4, it was time for the cliff jumping! There was a 6 foot jump for us scaredy cats (aka me!) and a 30 foot option for the brave (or crazy) folks like Pete.

pete cliff jumping chinook rafting-compressed

It was actually Nadia’s first time ever cliff jumping!!

The Chinook guides made us all feel super safe, and we had a blast. I’m usually a giant wimp when it comes to cliff jumping, and I was even able to make a funny face at the camera – that’s how comfortable I felt with those guys!

Bonus points for the Chinook rafting crew: they take photos of the entire trip for you!

jordan cliff jumping chinook rafting

Where They Filmed the Revenant

Pete and I don’t watch a ton of movies, but we’re big fans of Leo and true adventure stories – and so we loved the Revenant.

During the calmer portions of the river, our guide filled us in on all of the spots that the Revenant crew filmed along this shore. He said they were even filming while they were running rafting tours – how cool!

As he pointed out each scene and the spot where it was filmed (you’ll have to take the tour for yourself to find out!) we were totally geeking out thinking back to how good that movie is.

I actually went back and read this article about the locations they filmed the Revenant and realized quite a bit of the movie was filmed on the First Nations land (where Horseshoe Canyon is located!) and in Kananaskis County!

chinook rafting horseshoe canyon-compressed

Our Chinook Rafting Guide, Alex

Our guide, Alex, made us feel incredibly safe during the entire tour – which just made the experience that much more fun!

Alex knew when to be serious and give super clear directions, and he knew when to tell us hilarious jokes.

Alex was also insanely knowledgable about the area, the canyon, the river, and the history of the area! From telling us how they used to herd buffalo right off of the cliffs, to pointing out spots that the Revenant was filmed, to giving us great recommendations for our time in Banff, we couldn’t have asked for a better guide!

I mean, just look at how excited and happy Pete is right as we were hitting the Class 4 Rapid!

white water rafting class 4 rapids chinook rafting

Thank you Alex + the entire Chinook Rafting team!

More from #TheRoadtoMore

For us, this trip means a lot of things. We shared a lot about it over on Camping World’s post here:

Hi guys! We’re @peteandjordan, and we’re super exited to be caravanning around Canada with ours friends @follow_your_detour + @roamingremodelers on #theroadtomore 🚌🇨🇦 This road trip is kind of surreal to us, and it represents so much of the “More” that RV life has given us. When we became full-time RVers just 8 months ago, we expected to experience some of these Mores – more adventure, more freedom, more time for our marriage, more opportunities. But the biggest surprise for us has been the community that we’ve found on the road – and that’s the More that we are SO excited to be celebrating on this epic road trip to Banff! It’s kind of crazy to think that this time last year, we hadn’t met either of these couples. Now, because of our life on the road, we’re getting to check off one of our top bucket list items together – all because we each have the freedom + flexibility of full-time RV life. And our favorite part of it all? By having “less” – less home, less stuff, less fears, less doubts – we’ve gotten to experience way more than we ever could have imagined 🤗

A post shared by Camping World (@campingworld) on

It’s still hard to put in to words what this trip means to us, but it really has been a dream come true.

If you want to see more of this adventure, you follow along with the entire journey at #TheRoadtoMore!


Now, it’s your turn! We love to know:

Have you ever been White Water rafting?

What’s #1 on your bucket list?

And what does #TheRoadtoMore mean to YOU?

Share in the comments below!