Water Levels & Safety
A safe outdoor adventure is the best outdoor adventure! Our expert guides share their knowledge on water levels and safety here
River levels are measured in cubic meters per second or m³/s. Below is a general guide to the levels on the North Saskatchewan River taken at the link: https://rivers.alberta.ca/ (North Saskatchewan near Rocky Mountain House - 05DC001)
Below 80 m³/s - not recommended for reasons of rocks and gravel bars blocking passages
Between 80 m³/s and 150 m³/s - a great time for a paddle. The water is lower which will make the rapids smaller and the current has less force. Be on the lookout for rocks and shallow gravel bars. This is a great flow rate for the less experienced paddlers.
Between 150 m³/s and 250 m³/s - a great time to paddle but becoming more of an intermediate river. The water is running at a medium level which will make the rapids larger and the current will be strong. Most rocks and gravel bars will be covered but if strainers and sweepers are present, you will be pushed more towards them. More attention and skill is needed for this flow rate.
Between 250 m³/s and 300 m³/s - not a recommended level except for very experienced paddlers. The water is running high and the river is starting to change. Some rapids washout and disappear while others will grow significantly in size and power. New rapids, strainers and sweepers can appear in numerous locations. The force of the current is very strong and you will need to be able to read, understand and be proactive with your canoe. This is not a flow rate for inexperienced paddlers.
300 m³/s and above - do not paddle in a flood. This high water level makes for very strong currents, strainers, sweepers, massive rapids and debris flowing down the river. It is extremely dangerous to paddle at this time.