Paddling The Great Trail in Kananaskis Country

Looking at the Great (Trans Canada) Trail map I notice that the section between the Stewart Creek Interchange and Dead Man’s Flats is now shown as a 6.5 km Water Trail. From the currently closed Bow River Campground the trail follows the Bow River for a way before heading into a narrow, twisting channel to a small boat launch in Three Sisters Campground. 

Water section

At present, there is a designated boat launch at Three Sisters between campsites 24 and 26, but nothing formal at Bow River although there are possible launch locations between campsites 25 and 27. Maybe one will be provided as part of the reconstruction. Both put-in/take-out locations are well within the campgrounds, which brings me to my next point.

Great Trail paddle-launch

Three Sisters Campground boat launch.

Has the campground operator been consulted? Do they really want the non-camping public off-loading canoes or kayaks in the middle of their closely spaced campsites? And where do paddlers park their vehicles? At Three Sisters there is a small parking area immediately outside the gate, while Bow River has a small gravel pad near the highway before the campground infrastructure that might take 4 vehicles.

Will paddlers, other than those staying at one of the campgrounds, be interested in this route as a day paddle with the traffic noise from the highway and potential hassles putting-in and taking-out. Your thoughts?

7 comments… add one
  • Tony Daffern May 18, 2018, 2:44 pm

    Thanks Chris. It seems like whoever dreamed this up didn’t do their homework or consider the logistics. The decision was probably made in Edmonton or even Ottawa!

  • Chris May 18, 2018, 1:56 pm

    This is could potentially lead to some serious incidents. We raft this section daily and if you don’t have the knowledge to navigate the log jams and multiple braided sections, you will most definitely end up in a bad situation. Please rethink this.

  • Alf Skrastins Apr 29, 2018, 8:27 pm

    There are more than a few segments of the “Great Trail” that are not actually “great”.

  • Gillean Daffern Apr 29, 2018, 3:46 pm

    Yes, and what about through backpackers.? It’s either the highway or Quebexican! A dry alternative should be made available.

  • RyderDA Apr 29, 2018, 1:24 pm

    Heading west you’re against a serious current. Heading east people float fish that section all the time — if they can find the entrance in the log jams, and don’t (like a buddy of mine) end up taken out by sweepers.

    Plus… just how practical is this? If you’re riding your bike along the trail, are you going to whip out your trusty kayak to do that 6.5 km? The kayak you’re next going to need just outside of Saskatoon?

    I like the idea of the Great Trail, but I think things like this are just ways they can say “it’s 100% connected”.

  • Tony Daffern Apr 28, 2018, 5:05 pm

    Have not had an opportunity to check it out, but looking at Google Earth there appear to be log jams, sweepers and a couple of shallow sections.

  • Tanya Koob Apr 28, 2018, 4:40 pm

    Is this section also not full of log jams? I’d think you’d want the channel further back from the highway and not the one beside the highway.

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