Update: May 10, 2023
Bow River River Access Sites20170707_100822
West Baker Park Boat Ramp20180829_094419
Shouldice Park River AccessSunnyside Han LaunchSt Patricks BR 18Mar22Harvie P White WAter ParkOgden Ramp 120160311_114457
Glenmore / Grave Bridge Boat RampIMGP2588
Fish Creek Boat Ramp20180710_152058
Policeman's Flats River Access SiteMcKinnon Summer Weekend
McKinnon Flats River Access Site040 ADJ 4x6 557X
Legacy Island River Access Siteimg_8563
Carseland - Johnson Island Boat Ramp
Bow River River Access Sites
West Baker Park Boat Ramp
Shouldice Park River Access
Glenmore / Grave Bridge Boat Ramp
Fish Creek Boat Ramp
Policeman's Flats River Access Site
McKinnon Flats River Access Site
Legacy Island River Access Site
Carseland - Johnson Island Boat Ramp
Bow River Access Strategies
The Calgary River Access Strategy committed to two new boat ramps at Inglewood and Ogden Bridge, improvements at West Baker Park and Glenmore/Graves Bridge, and improved access at Sunnyside. Once these Priority Access Points are completed, river users would be able to float the entire Calgary reach of the Bow and Elbow Rivers. The Government of Alberta approved the Bow River Access Plan in 2019 that will see upgrades to five existing boat ramps between Calgary and Carseland.
The following lists all boat ramps in and downstream of Calgary that are included in these strategies. A complete list of all Calgary’s hand and trailered-boat launch sits is available on the River Map Page
West Baker Park –
Located in the north-west quadrant of Calgary and accessed off 85 Street and Scenic Bow Road NW
Public access improvements were made under Calgary’s River Access Strategy. The boat ramp has been enlarged to accommodate both hand and trailer-boat access. An expanded staging area and short-term parking stalls were configured to accommodate convenient access to the river. A large parking lot has also been added to the river access site.
Access Shouldice Park off Home Road NW onto 13 Ave NW and proceed to the public river access site under the overpass.
Angled car parking is available. Truck-trailer parking is available along 13 Ave NW. Portable toilets and garbage bins are available. This river access site can get busy in the summer months with float tube rental operations out of this location.
Sunnyside Hand Launch
This new hand launch site on the northside of Memorial Drive and 4 St NW was completed in 2021 as a part of the Calgary River Access Strategy – Priority 1 Developments. Parking available at the Calgary Parking Authority parking lot #59 to the east. Lazy-Day Rentals also used the river access site. They are located in the Calgary Curling Club building and patrons can use the club’s parking lot.
Used as a takeout point for floating the Bow River downstream from either West Baker Park or Shouldice, and a put-in access for floats through Harvie Passage to further downstream destinations at Ogden, Graves-Glenmore and Fish Creek river access locations.
St. Patrick’s Island
Access St. Patrick’s Island parking from Zoo Road- 12 Street SE, opposite the Calgary Zoo South Entrance.
St. Patrick’s Island Boat Ramp is perfectly positioned to offer river users a takeout point above Harvie Passage. Although canoeists and rafters have always been able to use St. Patrick’s Island and other hand launch sites upstream, and with the assistance of Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, a boat ramp has not been available for larger trailered recreation river craft.
Now it will be possible for the drift boat fishing community and large paddle craft to float the inner city reach of the Bow River. Vehicles will be able to use the boat ramp to drive their trailers down to the Cove Lagoon.
Calgary Parking Authority kiosks payment options are available in the Zoo Parking Lot 8302. For trailered-boat users there will be the challenge as to where to park vehicles while floating to or from St. Patrick’s Island. It is recommended that vehicles be parked at upstream launch sites and shuttled close to or after arrival at St. Patrick’s Island. And if the boat is launched at St. Patrick’s Island the vehicle could be shuttled almost immediately downstream to a take-out site.
Harvie Passage is currently accessed from the Bow Habitat Station parking lot and by foot across Pearce Estates Park.
The Harvie Passage whitewater park was opened to the public in 2018. A boat ramp installed in the tail-out of the HP Low Water Channel is currently not open to the public.
The City of Calgary has established a Harvie Passage Task Force to define the scope of future development at the site and report back to City Council in the spring of 2023. Vehicle access to the Low Water Channel, bankside parking and a new Boathouse proposal are within the scope of the task force. CRUA is a principal stakeholder in the discussion. As plans roll out over 2023 updates will be posted on our website.
The HP Low Water Channel flows are subject to the operation of the Western Irrigation District water diversion sluicegates. When they are closed, from mid-April to October each year, water levels rise upstream of the weir and water flows through the Low Water Channel that allows for recreational use of the park and safe passage through it.
The Calgary River Access Strategy Ogden Bridge development was completed in October 2020.
Located on the east side of the river at the Old Refinery Park site, vehicle access is available from Ogden Road SE. just after leaving Bonnybrook Bridge. Toilets, garbage containment and site enhancements completed in 2021.
Glenmore – Graves Bridge
Glenmore /Graves Bridge boat ramp is a very popular river access location for both the paddle and fishing community that is accessed off Heritage Drive SE. A flood barrier is currently being installed along Heritage Drive that has changed the configuration of the parking lot and access to the river. Once construction is complete the site will be returned to the same footprint it once had, although parking under the bridge may be limited.
Fish Creek Park
Fish Creek Park is accessed from Bow Bottom Trail SE. The park is a part of the Alberta Parks system and therefore comes under their policy guideline. Toilets, garbage containment and a large parking lot is available.
The park is open from 8 AM to 10 PM in the summer months with the boat launch open from April to October, as long as safe access can be provided.
No overnight camping or parking.
Policeman’s Flats is located approximately 20 min south of Calgary on Highway #2, east on Dumbow Road about 2 Km and turn left on Bow River Bottom Trail and drive down toward the river.
The property is owned by Sherbrook Investment who have kindly granted public access to the property that is maintained under a Bow River Trout Foundation Development Project
The road access to the site is closed during the winter months from November 01 until April 15 each year
McKinnon Flats is a public lands recreation area east of Calgary and south of Dalemead on the banks of the Bow River. The property was purchased from LK Resources in 1982 and developed into one of the Bow River’s most important river access sites. McKinnon’s Flats is not just a river access site for the fishing community. As the popularity of outdoor pursuits has gained traction in urban centers, the paddling community, float tubers, mountain bike, bird watching, dog walking, bow-hunting and general river recreation use has increased along with the population growth locally at Chestermere, Langdon, and Strathmore.
The Government of Alberta’s Bow River Access Plan had a new all-season road constructed across the property to the river access site in the fall of 2020. And in the fall of 2021 the McKinnon Flats Stewardship Partnership between Calgary Fish & Game Association and Alberta Environment & Parks completed the expansion to the river’s edge parking lot and designated river access assignments to enhance river recreational use while protecting the property’s habitat. High river flows in 2022 damaged the river access site, but were repaired later in the year. A site assessment will take place in 2023 that will determine what improvements are possible in the future.
Legacy Island is located south on Highway 24 and west of Carseland at the 3-way stop sign. Trout Unlimited Canada – Bow River Chapter holds a Government of Alberta lease on the property that assures public access to the Bow River while protecting the island’s habitat and wildlife. Vehicle access to the boat ramp requires crossing a ford onto the island that can be challenging during high water flows and ice buildup in winter months. Roadway access improvements are planned for the of 2023
Wyndham – Carseland – Provincial Park
The Johnson Island boat ramp can be access directly south of the town of Carseland. Johnson Island is a part of the Wyndham – Carseland Provincial Park system and therefore comes under their policy guideline. Toilets, garbage containment and a large parking lot are available. Designated camping is available below the Bow River Irrigation District dam that can be accessed from Highway #24. Paddlers can portage around the weir, but for the drift boat user, Johnson Island is the final destination. A site assessment will take place in 2023 that will guide much needed site improvements.