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 Post subject: Canoe the Elbow River?
PostPosted: September 11th, 2005, 7:22 pm 
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Joined: July 31st, 2003, 9:39 pm
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Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
I'm in Calgary for a week on business from Vancouver and drove by the Elbow river today, I noticed it is quite high and moving swiftly.... Has anyone here paddled the Elbow and if so, could give me some advice? I'm interested in knowing where a good put-in and take out might be and also... where in Calgary I might be able to rent a canoe? Would anyone here be interested in doing this river?

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PostPosted: September 11th, 2005, 8:50 pm 
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Joined: March 22nd, 2005, 1:19 am
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Location: Calgary, Alberta
I'm interested in paddling it as well. Haven't gotten around to looking for any info as I'm getting info on the Bow River from it's headwaters. I'll ask around and see what I can find out from a few locals I know and get back to you.

There are plenty of places to pick up canoes.
Mountain Equipment Co-op
U of C Outdoor Program (probably the cheapest)
Undercurrents
Aquabatics
There are more, but you should be able to find something from one of the above.
PM me if you want any further info and if your looking for someone to paddle it with.

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PostPosted: September 11th, 2005, 10:54 pm 
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Hey there Eco... I found at least one person who says people have paddled it between the Glenmore reservoir and where it joins at the Bow River. Sure looks like a lot of fun and I confess to having wanted to paddle this river for some years now. PM on the way.

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PostPosted: September 11th, 2005, 11:26 pm 
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Joined: July 28th, 2004, 11:59 pm
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Location: Calgary
I've paddled several times from Glemore down to the Zoo. It is a short 1.5 hr trip or so, easy grade I route. Here is some blarff on the trip from last winter http://www.trailcafe.com/paddling/partI ... o_Bow.html. (The prefered take out is at the Zoo, on the island, marked as 'alt take out' on the map. Just don't get swept down river on the Bow, there is a weir about 1/2 a km down stream.) The trip was from Pre Flood, the overhaning trees have moved down stream a bout 50m and make up the only bit of strainer material I noted on the last trip down. easily avoidable.

It can be really low this time of year, but if you get out in the next few days it should be pretty good with the rain and snow in the Mtns.

http://www.braggcreek.ca/kananaskis/elbowcanoe.htm is a link to a trip up by Bragg creek. I've not done this section though I'd like to... I've also been wondering about running in from Bragg Creek or Hwy 22 to Glemore..

I'm slightly conserned with sweepers, given the June flood on the river. There are none in clagary as of a few weeks ago, but further out of town is anyone's guess as far as I know.

Have a good trip.


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PostPosted: September 13th, 2005, 1:17 pm 
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I've paddled the Elbow River up around Bragg Creek. I'll compile some info for you on it. But, basically it has some class II stuff and quite a few sweepers. 13m3/s is too low and 30m3/s is quite pushy but some of the rapids would be washed out. It's a blast to paddle with some winding sections.

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PostPosted: September 13th, 2005, 5:11 pm 
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Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Thanks so much for this information Myrl and D.R. Zandee, time is beginning to press for me to do this and with it, my determination. My real interest was to paddle the Elbow through the city of Calgary and where I observed it was very close to the Stampeded grounds.

Where is Bragg Creek and how far from Calgary is it? I thought the Elbow simply flowed for a very short distance between the Glenmore Reservoir and the Bow River, basically existing only inside the city limits. Could someone correct me on this question and also, is it possible to paddle this particular stretch of water. My thoughts were that this would be a very short paddle given the speed its moving at right now. I was hoping to rent a full-length canoe (prospector or tripper) and find someone here to paddle it with? I have a rental car and if someone else had a car then this would take care of the shuttle but if not, I'd simply lock up the canoe at the take out and cab it back to my car and then drive back to pick up the canoe. The other option I was thinking of was to rent a smaller mad riverboat and solo the stretch of river I mentioned. I'm a lifetime canoer and, from what I've seen of the river, it certainly looks with in my skill level but if there is something I should know, any further advice would be greatly appreciated.

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PostPosted: September 13th, 2005, 11:05 pm 
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Location: Calgary
The run in Calgary is easily doable. Last time down it was 'normal' level, yet someone had managed to wrap a canoe around one of the bridge pillars.

Tomorrow would seem to be the best day to get out, given the weather. I'd like to join you but, with work and the family it is difficult to get out, so I'll have to pass.

Consider trying to rent from the Bow waters canoe club, you may have to do some fast talking to rent as you are supposed to be a member. However since you are from out of town I expect they'd get you a canoe. The club house is just below the weir, on the irigation cannel and about 17th street. you could canoe almost right there. with a portage accross the deerfoot trail using the 17th st bridge. That my make the arangements slightly easier. you may even get someone to go with you.

There is a club trip planned for Thursday, I do not know where though. (I forget my log on to the members forum so I can't find out). check out http://www.bowwaters.org some where there in is contact info in there some where.

Bragg creek not quite an hours drive out west from Calgary, West and then south. A small village in the foothills.

If you are stuck for logistics, consider a tool around on the Glenmore resevour, the weasle head flats are slightly interesting, and you can take the canoe a bit up stream. The bonus is Calgary canoe club is right on the lake (west side), and I think you can rent there. It is kind of a poor second choice, but better than staying in a hotel room watching tv.

good luck


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PostPosted: September 14th, 2005, 2:00 am 
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Joined: July 31st, 2003, 9:39 pm
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Thanks for the tips Myrl, I've sent off an e-mail to the Bow waters canoe club and hope I get a response but if not, I'll be looking up Eco to do this with me and just rent at MEC. I have one last question though, if I put in at the Glenmore reservoir, will I have any portages if I only go as far as the zoo?

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PostPosted: September 14th, 2005, 9:09 am 
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Location: Calgary
No portages, provided the water is not to shallow, it should be okay right now.

I assume you are putting in at Sandy beach just below the dam. Take Crowchild to 50th (I think) turn east, and follow the road until it hits the river.

for hazards:
Last time I went down, there was a canoe wrapped around the pillar where the current pushed into it a bit. At 24th street bridge.

There was an overhanging tree, but the flood washed it down river, it was a bit of a sweeper hazard, but easily avoidable.

the BWCC classifies this as a novice section of river.


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