Make a Splash
Head out for a laid-back adventure down the Columbia River, or hop on Lake Windermere for a peaceful paddle.
Did you know? The Columbia River is home to magnificent wetlands, spanning from the headwaters in Canal Flats north to Golden.
Here, find spectacular opportunities for paddleboarding, kayaking, and canoeing down the gentle current as you are guided down the river. In the spring, let the river do the heavy lifting and soak in the views while floating down the natural “lazy river.”
Pull your boat or float onto the sandy shore and relax in the world’s best birdwatching area. Birds seen frequenting the Columbia Wetlands include bald eagles, blue herons, Canada geese, trumpeter swans, and hundreds of other variations.
Columbia River Wetlands
Take a few hours to paddle down the Columbia River! We recommend starting in Invermere and paddling with the current to Radium. Breathtaking mountain scenery and quiet atmosphere make for the perfect canoe, kayak, or paddleboard trip. Rental and transportation options available.
The primary access point for the wetlands is under the bridge as you enter the town of Invermere. After passing the Centex gas station, turn right onto a small dirt road.
The trip to Radium Hot Springs can take anywhere from 3 – 5 hours depending on water conditions and paddling speed. For a shorter excursion, the wetlands at the beginning of the paddle have very little current, and one can paddle back to the starting point.
Great for early season and early morning paddles, Lake Windermere offers stunning views of the Columbia Valley mountains. If heading out for a midday paddle, practice caution as the lake can become choppy with wind and boat activity.
There are a few access points for the lake. The primary ones are under the Athalmer bridge (turn right after the Centex when entering Invermere), James Chabot Provincial Park, and Kinsmen Beach.
A small mountain lake just beyond Invermere, Lake Lillian is a paddlers’ paradise. This recreation site has a picnic area, so pack your lunch or snacks to go!
Access by turning onto Panorama Drive in Invermere, and following along that road for roughly 7km. The parking area will be on the right-hand side of the road.
Nipika Mountain Resort
Spend a day canoeing the Kootenay River with Nipika Mountain Resort’s guides. Paddle aquamarine water, ride some rapids, and take in the Rockies from a different vantage point.
Fairmont River Float
Multiple put in spots exist around the community of Fairmont Hot Springs, but a popular one is located along Columbia River Road. Put in here and enjoy the slow-moving river past the golf course. Take out along River Drive near the meadows.
This float can take anywhere from 2 – 4 hours depending on water levels, and if one chooses to paddle along the way. This is one of the most leisure water activities in the valley.
Please note that you must not exit the river onto the golf course or any other privately owned land.
Soak up the beautiful sights of Columbia Lake, the headwaters to the Columbia River. Much of this lake is protected land, but paddlers are able to access all of this stunning lake. Roughly 12 km long, this quiet and calm lake has excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing. Access from Tilley Memorial Park in the community of Canal Flats.
Contact these local businesses for everything you need for your next adventure.