Stand Up Paddle boarding is becoming mainstream and a very popular summer activity. There is a draw for adventure like the stories of Huckleberry Finn on his raft seeking one adventure after the next. The world also looks different when exploring on the water. This summer try exploring new places or from a new angle and check out one of these 8 Places to Stand Up Paddle Board near Calgary.
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4 Helpful Stand Up Paddle Board Tips:
- If you have never paddled any sort of boat before then think about taking a lesson or paddle some of the smaller and warmer lakes like Quarry Lake, Chestermere Lake, Two Jack Lake and Johnston Lake.
- Check the wind report before going on the water. Winds of 15 km/h or more can make it very difficult to paddle and some of the lakes are extremely cold.
- Always pack along a life jacket and have whistle attached to your lifeboat!
- Before taking your kids on your stand up board make sure YOU know how to paddle AND turn.
Want to try something different? Try Stand Up paddle board yoga with Wild Spirit SUP Yoga
Places to Stand Up Paddle Board near Calgary
Location: Quarry Lake, Canmore, Alberta (~100 metre walk from parking lot)
Type of water: Lake
Highlights: Beginner Friendly, Sandy Beach, bathrooms, Hiking Trails
Quarry Lake located in Canmore, Alberta and is a beautiful kid friendly spot to go stand up paddle boarding. It is also a great place to hang out on a beach with beautiful mountain views and is listed in the post “10 Beaches to explore near Calgary”. The lake has become very busy especially on hot days and weekends. Learn more about Quarry Lake here.
Location: 19.8 km from downtown Calgary. The lake is located down the highway 1A and the boat launch is just behind the Tim Hortons.
Type of water: Lake
Highlights: Beginner Friendly, Beach, Bathrooms, Boat launch, Rentals, Restaurants,
Chestermere Lake is located really close to Calgary and great for those paddles after the kids are in bed or for an easier day on the lake. If you forget food there are grocery stores and rentals within walking distance. Find rentals at Hyperactive Watersports here. Learn more about Chestermere Lake here.
Barrier Lake Reservoir
Location: 12.1 km down highway 40 from Highway 1. There are two turn offs. Head past the first turn off for the boat launch and rentals.
Type of water: Man made Reservoir, Cold
Highlights: Rocky Beach, Bathrooms, Boat launch, Rentals,
Barrier Lake is a beautiful place to stand up paddle board just under and hour drive from Calgary. It is a man mad reservoir created by a hydro-electric day. On windy days it can be challenging and the water is cold! Rentals are available on site from Kananaskis Outfitters. Reserve your gear here. Learn more about Barrier Lake here.
Ghost Lake Reservoir
Location: Located 70.8 km from downtown Calgary past Cochrane on the highway 1A. Turn onto the Ghost Lake Provincial Recreation Area.
Type of water: Reservoir Lake, Cold
Highlights: Gravel Beach, Washrooms,
At just under an hour, Ghost Lake is another great place for a stand up paddle board session. Access the lake through the Ghost Lake Provincial Recreation area. There are bathrooms and a gravel beach for kids to play. Learn more about Ghost Reservoir here.
Two Jack Lake
Location: Located near Banff, Alberta and 129 km from Downtown Calgary off of highway 1. Take the turn off away from Banff towards Lake Minnewanka.
Type of water: Lake
Highlights: Beach, Mountain Views, Bathrooms, Camping
Two Jack Lake is a beautiful place to hang out with the family and enjoy some stand up paddle boarding. The lake is calm and relatively warm so perfect for beginner paddlers. If you have little ones this is a great spot to try paddle boarding with the kids on the board. Learn more about Two Jack Lake here.
Location: 129 km from Downtown Calgary off of highway 1. Take the turn off away from Banff towards Lake Minnewanka. Johnson Lake is also located near Banff, Alberta and right next to Two Jack Lake.
Type of water: Lake
Highlights: Sandy Beach, Bathrooms, Boat launch, Rentals, Picnic Tables
Another great lake to try stand up paddle boarding with little ones on board is Johnson Lake. Located next to Two Jack Lake it also boasts a beach area, picnic tables and bathroom. Johnson Lake gets busy but is the perfect place to spend warm summer days. Learn more about Johnson Lake here.
Spray Lakes Reservoir
Location: Located 122 km from downtown Calgary. First head down highway 1 and take exit 93 towards Three Sisters Parkway. The drive 23.6 km up a gravel road with large potholes to the Dirftwood Day use Area.
Type of water: Reservoir and Very Cold
Highlights: Pit Toilets. Boat Launch.
Spray Lakes Reservoir is a beautiful place to stand up paddle board but the water is extremely cold. Any wind makes it challenging to paddle but on a calm morning or evening the lake is spectacular. Camping at Spray Lakes Campground gives you access to the lake. Learn more about Spray Lakes Reservoir here.
Location: In Calgary
Type of water: River
Highlights: Various entry points, Moving water
The Bow River through Calgary is an exhilarating Stand Up Paddle board ride because of the moving water. Two vehicles or a shuttle is required to paddle the river. There are some rapids on the river and a life jacket and whistle is necessary not just for safety. It is a requirement to wear a life jacket and have a whistle attached while SUPing the Bow. Learn more about taking a trip down the Bow River here.
Note: Not Recommended for beginners or with children on the SUP Board
Want some more great posts on Stand Up Paddle Boarding?! Check out these great posts from Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies!
Want to do some hiking in the area?! Check out the post “10 Hikes for Preschoolers To Do Near Calgary”