Calgary continues to grow rapidly as the center of Canada's oil industry. While it is lovingly nicknamed Cowtown due to its deep-rooted western culture, Calgary is a top destination for numerous water activities. Residents and visitors alike are hanging up their cowboy boots and grabbing their water shoes. From surfing and canoeing to fishing, diving, and yoga on the water, there is a water activity that can suit everyone. Whether you want a calm day on the lake shore today and an adrenaline pumping adventure tomorrow, there's no shortage of things to do in Calgary.
Go River Surfing
Despite being over 1,000km from the Pacific Ocean, it is possible to river surf in Calgary! The Bow River offers surfable waves right in the heart of downtown. Many local surf shops offer lessons for those who are just getting started in the sport. River surfing is by far the largest growing sport in Calgary. All ages can be found learning how to stand up on 10th Street and videos can be found across the web taking on The Mountain.
In addition to Bow River, locals and visitors alike can be found on the Kananaskis River. However, these waves are often a bit larger and recommended for those with intermediate and advanced skills only.
Learn How to Scuba Dive
Scuba diving adventures are prevalent throughout Calgary that are suited for beginners and expert drivers alike. Scuba shops, such as Calgary Scuba, are well-suited to help novices receive the gear and training they need to get started. From initial certifications and gear rentals to guided tours, it is easy to find everything in one place. Most scuba shops will have you go through your initial training in a pool.
Once you complete the exercises in a pool, certified instructors will take you out into one of Calgary's many local lakes and complete a specified number of dives. Whether taking the plunge in Alberta or around the world, you will have the necessary skills to safely dive and take in all the beautiful underwater scenery around you. The more you dive, the more confidence you will have to take on some of the world's most sought after diving destinations!
Investigate Minnewanka Landing
Minnewanka Landing is a village from the 1800s that is completely submerged under the water, which is the perfect setting for a memorable dive. Minnewanka Landing was flooded due to needing an increase of hydroelectric power at the beginning of World War II. This was the result of not one, not two, but three dam constructions that raised water levels high enough to flood Devils Creek.
Divers can see perfectly-preserved cottages, an old hotel, and wharves in Minnewanka Landing. Nearly 8,000 divers a year take the plunge and create memories of a lifetime. This underwater ghost town should only be visited by trained scuba divers. The extremely-cold waters create additional hazards that must be taken into consideration.
Go River Rafting on the Kananaskis River
Those seeking a heart-pumping, adrenaline-fueled adventure can take on the white water rafting on the Kananaskis River. This four-hour guided tour allows adventurers to get up close and personal with Class 2 and Class 3 rapids. Anyone ages five to 85 can take on the rapids and enjoy getting soaked by the river. There is a tour that by passes the Class 3 rapids that is more suitable for younger adventurers.
The stretch of water on the tour that occurs on the Kananaskis River has flat areas that allow everyone to calm their nerves and take in the beautiful scenery of Kananaskis County. However, more rapids will quickly follow. At the end of the tour, some time is built in to play in the beautiful, cool water. The tours run from May to September only, so it is important to keep an eye on the calendar and book your tour in advance.
The stretches of rivers and lakes make Calgary the perfect fishing destination. Those seeking fly fishes or other fishing tours can turn to a myriad of companies. Some specialize in visiting popular destinations while others venture to more obscure places that many would not know about if it was not for the knowledgeable local guides. Many tours will take small and large groups alike along the Bow River, Dickson Trout Pond, and Kananaskis River.
Most tours can be completely customized to meet the needs of your party and type of fish you would like to catch. Some tours even offer the ability to visit multiple fishing spots over the course of a few days. Whatever type of fishing adventure you take on, you can expect to come back with enough of a day's catch to feed the whole family and more!
Join a Paddleboard Yoga Class
In Calgary, nearly everything can be completed on the water and yoga is no exception. Now, you can spice up your yoga routine by doing it on the water with Wild Spirits Up Yoga. The additional core strength required to stay balanced while flowing between Warrior 1, Downward Dog, and other moves will challenge your body and mind like never before. However, the challenge will be met with amazing views of the mountains and a peaceful environment.
Whether you already have your own paddle board or need to rent one, you will find it's easy to get started with this style of yoga. If the great outdoors are a bit intimidating to start with, there are also classes offered in an indoor pool. This can help add an extra level of security and peace of mind while you find your balance and center yourself.
Take a Canoe Tour
From May to November, novices and experienced adventurers alike can climb into a handcrafted canoe and receive a private guided tour of Pyramid Lake in Jasper National Park. This tour provides the history of the park along with detailed information about the wildlife. Additionally, the tour is conducted in true Canadian fashion—that means baked goods and hot drinks are ready and waiting for passengers when they arrive!
During the early part of the season, adventures can enjoy seeing rare birds. Throughout the year, moose, elk, wolves, bears, and other animals can easily be seen on the tour. Those on the tour are surrounded by snow-covered peaks the entire time. Many who have completed the tour said they have never felt so close to nature. Be sure to bring a camera to capture the beautiful scenery of Pyramid Lake.
Make a Splash in Calgary
While Calgary may be known for its western culture and cowboy boots, the number of water activities in the area continue to grow. As the river surfing sport continues to rise in popularity, more surf shops and private teachers are offering lessons to get everyone started in the sport. Even yoga instructors are jumping on the water bandwagon and offering classes on paddle boards. Calgary even has the classic water activities that are loved by many, including diving, boating, canoeing, and white water rafting. Whatever type of water activity you want to do, you can't go wrong in Calgary.