Elk River

The Elk river is located in the Kootenay region of BC. It originates at the Petan Glacier and Elk Lakes which is near the continental divide in the Rockies. It flows in a southwesterly direction through the Elk Valley and connects the communities of Elkford, Sparwood, Hosmer, Fernie and Elko. This 220 km stretch of river ends at Lake Koocanusa, just north of the BC- Montana border.

Our float trips explore the mellow meandering stretch of the Elk River, north and south of Fernie. The white water trip originates southwest of Fernie near the town of Elko. Here the Elk turns south and drops in elevation dramatically for about 16 km before it flows into Lake Koocanusa. There is a small reservoir at Elko, as well as the Elko Dam. The dam was build by the East Kootenay Power Company in 1924 and still produces power today. It is a run of the river dam so it does not affect the flow downstream.  The Elko Dam is owned and operated by BC Hydro.

From the dam to the raft put-in is a deep canyon with Class 5 and 6 rapids that only gets run by teams of expert kayakers.  This is where the Lower Elk Canyon begins and where the raft put-in is.  The Lower Elk Canyon section of river is where we run our white water day trips. With it’s outstanding scenery and rapids set in a wilderness canyon – this stretch of river is a must see!

The “Lower” section is run by rafts and kayakers. The “Lower” ends where the Elk River flows into Lake Koocanusa.

Bull River

The Bull River is a lower volume river than the Elk and offers exciting white water at higher flows in the spring. It is a scenic beautiful stretch of river, which drains off the west side of the Rocky mountains, near the Continental Divide.

The Bull River drainage contains many tributaries which bring icy mountain water to the Bull. It flows in a SW direction, into the Kootenay River. The Kootenay River is damed at Libby Montana. In the spring the dam shuts creating a giant reservoir known as Lake Koocanusa. Ultimately the Kootenay River flows into the Columbia River which flows into the Pacific Ocean.

The spectacular scenery of our Bull River trips can be attributed to the mountain peaks viewed along the way. These include Goathaven Mountain, Whister Basin, Dibble Basin, Mount Patmore and the Steeples Range. It is the geology of these mountains, which contain precious metals, that had contributed to the Bull River’s rich prospecting history.

The Bull River Drainage is also well known for it’s plentiful wildlife. Deer, elk, sheep, bears, moose, eagles and many others are commonly spotted.

Bull River

The Bull River is a lower volume river than the Elk and offers exciting white water at higher flows in the spring. It is a scenic beautiful stretch of river, which drains off the west side of the Rocky mountains, near the Continental Divide.

The Bull River drainage contains many tributaries which bring icy mountain water to the Bull. It flows in a SW direction, into the Kootenay River. The Kootenay River is damed at Libby Montana. In the spring the dam shuts creating a giant reservoir known as Lake Koocanusa. Ultimately the Kootenay River flows into the Columbia River which flows into the Pacific Ocean.

The spectacular scenery of our Bull River trips can be attributed to the mountain peaks viewed along the way. These include Goathaven Mountain, Whister Basin, Dibble Basin, Mount Patmore and the Steeples Range. It is the geology of these mountains, which contain precious metals, that had contributed to the Bull River’s rich prospecting history.

The Bull River Drainage is also well known for it’s plentiful wildlife. Deer, elk, sheep, bears, moose, eagles and many others are commonly spotted.

Map of the Elk and Bull River

Google Maps
Our guide Paul was wonderful. He was knowledgeable and fun and guided the raft well. He is obviously experienced and showed us everything. We would highly recommend this company for anyone looking for a true look at the beauty of the canyon with great fun. Thanks to Paul and Blair.
Trip Advisor