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Kayaking in Edmonton: 7 Best Spots to Check Out

Kayaking in Edmonton 7 Best Spots to Check Out

Edmonton is a goldmine of freshwater lakes and rivers, so locals are spoilt for choices when it comes to kayaking adventures. The best part is that you don’t need to register or get a license for non-powered kayaks!

Want to give it a try? Get your paddles ready because we’ll go through the best kayaking spots to check out in Edmonton!

Where to Kayak in Edmonton 

1. North Saskatchewan River 

North Saskatchewan River

Image Source: CBC News 

Public Access Points for Kayaking• Whitemud Park (dock and hand launch)

• Sir Wilfrid Laurier Park/Buena Vista Park (dock and launch)

• Dawson Park (dock)

• Hawrelak Park (dock)

• Capilano Park/50th Street (dock, hand launch, and vehicle launch)

Best for• Intermediate to experienced paddlers

North Saskatchewan River runs across the entire province of Alberta. Aside from being a scenic destination, it’s also a popular spot for recreational activities and water adventures.

Since Edmonton sits on the banks of the river, locals can visit public access points for kayaking, canoeing, jet skiing, rafting, and fishing. 

Boat launches and docks are also open in several parks around the city, such as Whitemud Park, Hawrelak Park, Dawson Park, Capilano Park, and Sir Wilfrid Laurier Park. 

Of course, if you don’t have your own equipment, you can search for kayak and canoe rentals. Just note that straightforward rapids are evident in the river, so you must be careful when approaching the fast sections. 

Nonetheless, the overall kayaking experience in this river is fairly easy. It’s also suitable for beginners if more experienced paddlers accompany them.

2. Astotin Lake

Astotin Lake

Image Source: Northwest Voyageurs 

Public Access Points for Kayaking• Elk Island National Park (dock and boat launch)
Best for• Novice to intermediate paddlers

Another familiar place you can go kayaking is Astotin Lake in Elk Island National Park. The lake has tranquil waters, so it’s a good starting point if you want to try kayaking.

If you want to explore further, you can paddle along the shoreline or go to the middle of the lake and visit the High Island. This crescent-shaped island is an excellent photo spot, especially at sunset.

If you’re bringing your kids, you can let them navigate the kayaks on the shallow parts of the lake. The water is calm, and the staff helps steer the kayaks to the shore when docking. 

Just remember that kayak and canoe rental shops are weather dependent, so if the wind is blowing over 20 kilometers per hour, you may not be allowed to sail due to safety issues. 

3. Telford Lake 

Telford Lake

Image Source: AQ Outdoors 

Public Access Points for Kayaking• Leduc Boat Club ( dock and boat launch)
Best for• Novice paddlers

Telford Lake is a recreational area next to William F. Lede Park. Many tourists visit this lake because it hosts dragon boat competitions during summer as well as Alberta Endurance Ice Racing and Leduc Motorsports Club events during winter

Moreover, it’s a nice location for kayaking and birdwatching. If you decide to go boating in this lake, we suggest you visit Leduc Boat Club because it has a pier where you can launch and dock your kayaks. 

Besides that, the club also offers a range of paddling programs and races, so you can enjoy various recreational opportunities aside from kayaking. 

The lake is a good place to practice paddling because it is long and narrow, so it’s unlikely you’ll encounter many paddlers while exploring. 

We’d like to warn you, though, that there are leeches and other water critters in the lake when the water warms up, so swimming there is not recommended. 

4. Pigeon Lake 

Pigeon Lake

Image Source: Kayak Holland 

Public Access Points for Kayaking• Pigeon Lake Provincial Park (dock and boat launch)
Best for• Novice to intermediate paddlers

Pigeon Lake Provincial Park is located southwest of Edmonton and features year-round activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, sailing, skiing, and kayaking. 

Water sports are popular in this park, and rentals offer a collection of motorized and non-motorized boats and kayaks.

The route is moderately challenging, and you have to be careful of the small rock island opposite the northeastern part of the lake because the water can get shallow around that area. 

As you paddle around the lake, you can spot different types of wildlife, such as elk, deer, grebes, teals, loons, and coots. 

You can also visit other public and private beaches nearby. Some of the beaches you can discover are Ma-Me-O Beach, Sundance Beach, Norris Beach, Silver Beach, Itaska Beach, and Mission Beach. 

5. Big Lake and Sturgeon River

Big Lake and Sturgeon River

Image Source: Summer In The City 

Public Access Points for Kayaking• Downtown St. Albert (boat launch)

• Riel Recreation Park ( boat launch and dock)

Best for• Novice to intermediate paddlers

Big Lake and the Sturgeon River are accessible through Riel Recreation Park. Here you can rent a single kayak or invite a friend to try the tandem kayak. 

What’s good about the rentals inside the park is that they offer safety lessons and paddling tutorials. This is advantageous for beginners who want to try kayaking and canoeing. 

Moreover, the paddling route for the lake and river begins and finishes at the same place.

We’d just like to note that kayaking around the Sturgeon River can be a bit challenging, especially during summer, because it often has low water levels. Alternatively, if the water level rises, the current upstream will be stronger, so always be careful. 

6. Islet Lake 

Islet Lake

Image Source: Northwest Voyageurs 

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Tuesday 2:30–7:30 PM

Wednesday 10 AM–4:30 PM

Thursday 2:30–7:30 PM

Friday 10 AM–4:30 PM

Saturday 11 AM–4 PM

If you prefer to go kayaking in a quaint and tranquil place, Islet Lake can be your best option. This small lake features picturesque scenery and rich wildlife in Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area. 

The launch point is set a few steps away from the parking area so you can easily access it. Besides that, you can explore the paddling route because the water is generally calm. 

However, there is no docking area inside, so you have to wade into the water and drag your kayak or boat to the beach. 

Take note that there are densely forested islands near the center of the lake, so check if there are submerged logs around you as you go kayaking.

7. Black Nugget Lake 

Black Nugget Lake

Image Source: Edmonton Canoeing 

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Black Nugget Lake may not be as big and famous as other lakes in the city, but it’s still worth the trip because it has islands and passages you can explore. 

The passageways lead to several sheltered coves where you can take pictures and go birdwatching. 

Trees also surround the lake, so you don’t have to worry about strong winds once you hop on your kayak. 

Alternatively, if you decide to extend your stay, you can book a reservation at the park’s campground. Each site features a boat launch, picnic shelter, and cookhouses for the guests’ convenience. 


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