Summer is short in Calgary and super hot days are far and few between in the city. That’s why on days when the sun beats down relentlessly, Calgarians hit the Bow River to float and cool off. After all, the Bow River is much more enjoyable when it isn’t frozen solid.
Good places to start your rafting journey are Bearspaw Dam, Bowness Park, or Edworthy Park. The trip from Bowness to the Calgary Zoo is about 19km and takes roughly 4-5 hours to complete. If you don’t have your own raft and all the necessary gear, they can be easily rented from the U of C.
It’s important to note that under city law, lifejackets/PFDs are mandatory while you are on open water in a boat or inflatable device. Police and Fire actively patrol the Bow looking for people who are not in compliance with this law (and who are breaking liquor laws).
During our 4-hour excursion we saw boat patrol enough to make it annoying. It’s best to save yourself the $500 fine and just wear a lifejacket.