Epic Paddleboarding in Banff National Park

Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) has been stealing the adventure spotlight. One great reason is that learning to ride a paddleboard is a breeze! Anyone can try and most are successful within about 15 minutes after setting foot on the board. And, it offers a lot of freedom –  the only limit is your imagination.

The next time you are going paddleboarding or want to try it out, why not do it against a jaw-dropping backdrop? From snow-capped mountains, boreal forests, glaciers, and emerald-green water, Banff National Park has it all. Our SkiBig3 Adventure Hub specialists will set you up with an inflatable SUP that includes a pump, backpack and PFD, so you can roam the park with ease.

To help you find your next SUP oasis, we’ve put together a list of epic stand-up paddleboarding locations you absolutely need to see experience.

FULL DAY ADVENTURES

A full rental day allows for a more relaxed pace and a complete day of exploration around Banff and Lake Louise.

Lake Louise & Moraine Lake

Stand-up paddleboarding on Moraine Lake, Banff National Park.

Photo by Sue Shih.

These stunningly scenic locations are a great place to paddleboard. The emerald waters are vibrant and offer a beautiful contrast to the surrounding landscape. Lake Louise by paddleboard offers close up views of the Victoria Glacier and a completely new perspective of the surrounding peaks. A short drive from the village is Moraine Lake. Here you will be surrounded by boreal forest and bordered by the iconic Valley of Ten Peaks. Once featured on the Canadian $20 bill, this paddleboard destination is not to be missed. Pack a lunch and explore the area by both the water and trails.

Local Tip: Because these are popular places to go, it is best to arrive before 7 a.m. to get a parking spot and the best morning light. Or, opt to take Roam Transit (Route 8X.) The bus has stops at both the Lake Louise village as well as closer to the lakeshore. For the safety of our travellers and commuters, face coverings are mandatory on Roam Transit.

Herbert Lake

Three people sit on stand-up paddleboards on Herbert Lake, Banff National Park.

Photo by Noel Hendrickson.

This quiet serene SUP experience definitely plenty of room to paddle. Herbert Lake is located just 3 kilometres up the Icefield Parkway from the southern entrance just past Lake Louise. The surrounding peaks reflecting on the clear water makes this an ideal place for a quiet, peaceful paddle. 

Local Tip: It is best to visit this lake early in the morning, when the waters are calm. Also gives you the best morning light for those Instagram worthy photos.

HALF DAY ADVENTURES

If you’re looking to add paddleboarding to your adventures in Banff National Park, there are plenty of options close to the town of Banff that can be done in half a day. 

Johnson Lake & Two Jack Lake

Offering amazing views of the surrounding mountains, these two lakes are ideal for beginner and novice paddlers as the lakes are more sheltered from the elements. The water is also deep enough to provide lots of room to safely fall, without fear of being too far from shore. Both of these locations are accessed from the Minnewanka Loop Road and have plenty of space for parking, washrooms and picnic tables to use.

Local Tip: Johnson Lake has warmer temperatures compared to neighbouring Minnewanka and Two Jack Lake. Feeling adventurous? Make it a full day of exploring. Rent an e-bike and carry your SUP on your back! The ride out is breathtaking.

Vermilion Lakes/Echo Creek/40 Mile Creek

Stand-up paddleboarder looks at crystal clear water at Consolation Lakes, Banff National Park.

Photo by Sue Shih.

These waterways have beautiful landscapes and are recommended for novice and expert paddlers due to the shallow nature of the lakes. Simply launch your SUP from the Canoe Dock located at the corner of Bow Avenue and Wolf Street. From the docks, immediately paddle north along Echo Creek, winding your way through the trees onto 40 Mile Creek or Vermilion Lakes. 

Local Tip: You can also launch at the docks on the first and second Vermilion Lakes found on Vermilion Lakes Drive. The second lake offers spectacular views of the Rundle Range. 

Paddleboarding is an unforgettable experience in Banff National Park. When planning your SUP journey remember to wear a life jacket (this is included in the rental), layers for the changing weather conditions in the mountains and ensure that you attach the provided leash to your ankle when on the water.

Stop by the SkiBig3 Adventure Hub and talk to our specialists to get you started. From rentals to safety tips to location tips, they have everything you need to SUP in Banff this summer. Or, save 15% by reserving your SUP online and ensure your model of choice is available during your visit to Banff National Park.

A GUIDE AT YOUR FINGERTIPS

The SkiBig3 app is your guide to Banff National Park for summer and winter adventure. Download the app and stay informed!

  • Paddleboard Safety, Routes & Maps
  • How to Inflate/Deflate your Paddleboard
  • E-Bike Tips, Routes & Maps
  • Weather Forecast

Banff National Park might be just the place to quietly escape for a much needed summer vacation. Talk to our in-destination Reservations Team today to plan a personalized trip, or book your lodging and paddleboard rentals online. With a flexible change policy and no risk cancellation options, this might be the coveted summer escape you crave.

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