Rivers in and around Jasper National Park
River difficulty is rated using the six part International Scale of River Classification System. Individual rapids are called classes, while sections are called grades.
This rating system is a reference to general guide of rivers and is not intended for people who does not have paddling experience. Do not try boating these rivers without experience or an experienced guide.
Class I Easy rapids, riffles and small, regular waves. Passages are clear, easy to find, and require only elementary maneuvering to enter. Obstacles are easily seen and avoided. Sharp bends are simple to negotiate. Suitable for novices in all boats.
Class II Rapids with some eddies, turbulence, and waves up to 3 feet high. Obstacles may require some maneuvering. And there may be some holes and a few obstructions in the main channel. Rescues easy. Moderate current and frequent eddies permit stops in many places. Channel is straight forward and readily recognized. Suitable for intermediate open canoe, novice closed canoe or white water boat with intermediate accompaniment. Best with a certified river guide.
Class III More difficult rapids, requiring a good deal of maneuvering around obstacles. Scouting may require to find the correct route. Some eddies may be strong, and fairly powerful holes and turbulence may be encountered if the optimum route is missed. Waves of up to 5 feet. Small falls. Rescue not too difficult for competent parties. Eddies may be small and hard to get into, but there are stopping places beyond all danger spots. Class 3 covers a multitude of situations, having perhaps the widest range of difficulty of any rating. Suitable for advanced paddlers in white water and closed boats. Best with a certified river guide.
Class IV Difficult rapids, challenging for strong boaters with considerable experience. High, irregular waves, powerful , powerful eddies, and strong crosscurrents will be encountered, along with difficult maneuvering. Obstructions in the main channel. Scouting is generally mandatory, and strong teams are required to make successful rescue reasonably likely. Big drops, Falls, and holes. Rest spots and landing often irregularly spaced and fairly difficult to enter. Suitable for advance paddlers in closed canoes and white water boats. Not suitable for open canoes! Best with a certified river guide.
Class V Extremely difficult rapids which are treated with respect even by teams of experts who are capable of running them, Long, continuous, turbulent white water with irregular powerful waves, crosscurrents, eddies, white eddies, and holes. Best course may be difficult to pick out even from shore. And a perfect run will still require encountering severe turbulence directly. Rescues very difficult. Extremely hazardous for any but a practiced team of well-equipped experts. Suitable for expert paddlers only!
Class VI The limit of navigability for the very best boaters running in the ideal conditions. All the above difficulties extended to their limit. Cannot be attempted without some risk to life, even by team of experts. Nearly impossible and very dangerous. Suitable for teams of expert white water paddlers, at favorable water levels and with adequate provision for rescue.