The area around Squamish is a kayaker’s mecca. Sea or whitewater, whatever your discipline, you won’t be disappointed. From beginners to advanced, there’s a river, eddy or watering hole for every level in our pristine water wonderland.
Cat Lake – Still Water
For those who are just about to put on a PDF and grab a paddle for the first time, cat lake is a great place to learn the basics. The water is warm and clear (the perfect recipe for learning to roll) and it’s located only fifteen minutes from downtown Squamish. Use your time at Cat lake to master your roll and test out a variety of strokes. Make a day of it and pack a picnic lunch.
Mamquam River – Lower = 2/Upper = 3
The Mamquam River is a five-minute drive from downtown Squamish. It is considered an excellent beginner river for kayakers to try their luck. It boasts an excellent and easy play wave and if you’re inclined, there’s a fun and challenging slalom course to test your stroke accuracy. Several professional outfitters in Squamish offer kayaking classes on the Mamquam river.
Squamish River Estuary – Class 1/2 Float
Wildlife and bird watching enthusiasts might want to consider taking a mellow kayaking float down the Squamish River Estuary. You will marvel at the abundant wildlife and birds that are readily available to view along the shoreline.
Cheakamus River – Class 3/4
The Cheakamus River is not for the faint of heart. It boasts an almost continuous roller coaster ride for kayakers of intermediate to advanced skills. It features Class IV rapids that can be extremely challenging.
Callaghan River – Class 4/5
The Callaghan River is a true kayaking classic. With two large waterfalls, the river is for advanced kayakers. There are also numerous boulders and logs down its expanse which takes the experience to navigate. It features Class IV and Class V rapids.
Ocean Kayaking for All Skill Levels
Novice sea kayakers often find the prospect of ocean kayaking to be terrifying. However, near Squamish is the Porteau Cove which is an excellent location for beginning kayakers to experience sea kayaking. Intermediate and experienced kayakers won’t be disappointed with the challenges of Anvil Island, Christie Inlet, Pam Rocks, or Gambier Island. Take a short journey and paddle around Vancouver Island or the Sunshine Coast
What else do you need to know?
For new kayakers: You can rent gear from Valhalla Pure or MEC (in Vancouver) or keep an eye on the buy/swap/sell pages for second hand deals.
The Whitewater Whistler Facebook page is another excellent source for second-hand kayaks and gear. The page is also a great place to meet other paddlers, share tips, tricks and info on the changing rivers.
In Squamish, local rafting companies sometimes allow paddlers to jump on board their customer buses in order to get to/and from the rivers. Contact a few of the rafting outfitters and see if you can get lucky scoring a ride.
Whether it’s rivers, lakes, or the wide open expanses of sea, the chances are good you are going to find the perfect place to enjoy kayaking around Squamish.