Lower Kakwa

CanadaAlbertaPeace/Slave, Buffalo and Hay
Submitter & Author Information
Route submitted by: 
Trip Date : 
Additional Route Information
90 km
2 days
Loop Trip: 
Portage Information
No. of portages: 
Total Portage Distance: 
2000 m
Longest Portage: 
0 m
Difficulty Ratings
River Travel: 
Lake Travel: 
Not applicable
Background Trip Info
Water Levels: 
Route Description
Access to Put-In Information: 

You are at least a one days paddle to assistance.

Technical Guide: 

-Put in 85Kms. North of Grande Cache at Highway 40 Bridge.
-Kakwa River flows into the Smokey River.
-Take out at Canfor Bridge (30 Kms. south of Grand Prairie)
-Total trip 90Kms.

Trip Journal/Log/Report/Diary: 

My friends and I have run this river 3 times in High spring run-off, medium river levels, and the lowest water levels. It took us longer to run this river in high fast water because of equipmet mishaps, scouting and portaging (3-4 days) than in the lowest water (1 1/2 days). This is a remote widerness trip and the Lower Kakwa is rated as one of the premier whitewater rafting rivers in Alberta so extreme caution should be exercised by canoe paddlers.

Topo maps and a compass are a necessity because of the remoteness of this trip

Maps Required
Topo Maps (1:50,000): 
83L -Latitude 54.45 degrees -Longitude -118.51 degrees<br />
Special Comments: 

-Challenging wildrness trip that should only be attempted by experienced canoe paddlers.
-Relatively easy paddle(Level 2) for first 17 Kms.
-First significant rapid (Satan's Blender)is a ledge (Level 4) that should only be run after scouting and only by expert paddlers with spray decks or flotation. Lining is possible but difficult due to rock out crops. Run at your own risk. River drops about 15 feet in 50 meters, through a series of ledges and pools.
-800 Meters downstream, another set of serious rapids which can be run on river left but portaging may be the wise choice depending on water levels.
-900 meters further downstream an interesting rapid formed out of a gravel bed which literally shoots you through a chute into several large standing waves. Very runnable but shouls be scouted.
-Rest of the Kakwa very fun paddle until approximately one hour before the Kakwa/Smokey confluence where the Kakwa takes a sharp bend through a small canyon. Large standing waves (Level 3-4) occur with large water volumes. Scouting is a necessity as is superior paddling skills.
-Water volume on the Smokey increases significantly creating large standing waves which for the most part can be avoided if desired.
-Only serious rapid is the Cutbank Rapids which can be avoided by running river right.
-After the Cutbank it is a 3-4 hour paddle to the take out.