The island’s diverse geography provides river kayaking for all levels of skill. Satisfy your passion for rapids by running our fast-flowing rivers through breathtaking canyons and waterfalls; or launch from beaches and inlets to surf the wild waves of the Pacific Coast.
Few sports can match the thrills, spills and challenges of whitewater kayaking, and few places can enhance the excitement like the scenic wonderland of Vancouver Island!
Gold River: Try an expedition on the Gold River and apply your kayaking skills against continuous rapids, rock gardens, surfing waves and the “Big Drop”. The river is class II to IV – suitable for advanced kayakers and guided intermediates. The Gold River experience is enhanced by the wonderful scenery through which the river flows.
Cowichan River: This scenic river flows 58km and drops 168m before finally emerging in the tidal flatlands of Cowichan Bay. Along the winding route are a series of steep falls and over a hundred sets of rapids suitable for intermediate-level kayakers or guided beginners.
Nimpkish River: Kayakers usually put in at the confluence of the Nimpkish River and Kaipit Creek. However, due to logjam, launch just west of Kaipit Creek. Swirling eddies and surf waves provide a challenging ride down the river to Nimpkish Lake. The river is class II to III – suitable for novice paddlers.
Woss River: The Woss river flows from Woss Lake to the Nimpkish River. The river is class II – suitable for novice paddlers. This is an excellent location, as you can practice newly acquired skills on the lake before braving the river.
Salmon River: The river flows through a deep canyon, with most of the river being grade II, with two class III rapids suitable for novices and up.
Oyster River: This is an excellent river – the swift moving water, waves and eddies enable you to practice your skills.
San Josef Bay and Raft Cove: Experienced kayakers can paddle to Raft Cove via the San Josef River and San Josef Bay. Waves at Raft Cove are three times the size of those at San Josef Bay.
Long Beach, Pacific Rim National Park: Here, the full effect of the Pacific Ocean can be witnessed – it’s immense and unpredictable!
For those who devote themselves to adventurous exploration, the Jordan River, Koksilah River, Nanaimo River and Campbell River will provide the opportunity for an enjoyable kayaking trip.
- Winter for Surf Kayaking
- October to May for river Whitewater Kayaking (autumn rains, spring snow melts)
- Whitewater Kayaking is potentially dangerous
- A helmet, lifejacket and paddling jacket are mandatory
- The water of B.C are cold: wetsuits are required
- Scout your put-in and take-out locations before paddling