Words By: Aquabatics Team
Hey paddlers, Spenser here, checking in with a river report on the Canyon section of the Mistaya river. I ran this with a group of four earlier this week and we had a ton of fun on this continuous stretch of classic Rockies Whitewater. As it happens, the Mistaya is one of my favorite rivers, with super fun and continuous whitewater, however, it is the views that I find even more spectacular. Whilst on this run paddlers spend most of their time in a deep canyon with few eddies and very continuous water. This river is great for aspiring class 4 kayakers, with a solid roll; who want to experience a classic canyon feel.
The River Report – Mistaya River Canyon Section
Location: Icefields Parkway, near Saskatchewan crossing.
Our Water Level: No specific gauge for this river that I know of, the North Saskatchewan river gauge at Rocky Mountain house was reading at 250. I would consider this to be a Medium-high level for this section.
Grade (at this level): III+/IV-
Character (at this level): Dictionary definition of a committing canyon, this section of the river is super continuous waves and holes with less than a handful of eddies capable of holding our group of four.
Run Spotlight: (the part of the show where we discover the good, the gross and the glorious parts of the river through trial and error/success)
- The put in is at a popular tourist stop on the icefields parkway, be prepared to have folks taking pictures of you getting ready to hit the water.
- The put in for this section requires some basic rope work to lower boats, or a seal launch of around 10ft. Teamwork makes the dream work with the ropes, a few people to help makes this process smooth and quick.
- This run is short, and worth lapping. Once in the water to the takeout is less than 30 minutes if you’re just charging through (which is likely due to the notable lack of good sized eddies).
- One rapid of note is a restriction in the river about 5 minutes from the put in. There is a large set of waves that lead into a tight slot about 4 feet wide. Make sure your group has adequate spacing to deal with this. Thankfully there is a large eddy behind this rock to recollect your group.
- Scouting the entirety of the canyon from the rim is an excellent idea for this run. Wood is moving around a bit and would be very hazardous in the wrong spot. There are a variety of game trails to use for your exploration.
- Once you’re out of the canyon, keep your head up. The river continues with a decent gradient drop until the confluence with the North Saskatchewan.
- The take out is the bridge over the north Saskatchewan on the icefields parkway. Easy to find, and on the north side of the bridge there is a gas station with food and washrooms (although try not to buy gas here as it is about a million buck a liter)
Final thoughts: Rivers like the Mistaya are why I love kayaking. Super beautiful and super fun, best enjoyed with friends on a warm summer day!
PHOTO: Simple rope skills to gets boats to put in
PHOTO: Canyon Exit after a super fun lap
PHOTO: Joining the big water of the North Saskatchewan at the confluence