The Bow River that runs through the Banff townsite offers a number of diversions to travellers, from white water rafting to canoeing and kayaking.

Banff Canoe Club (not a real club but part of Banff Adventures Unlimited) rents canoes and kayaks at the dock on the Bow River in the Banff townsite, so that you can have a leisurely paddle on the Bow or nearby Vermilion Lakes.They also offer guided 1-hour voyageur canoe tours; book at least 1 day (16 hours) in advance.

Rocky Mountain Raft Tours launches their guided trips from the base of Bow Falls, near the Banff Springs golf course.  Never exceeding level two waters (suitable even for the timid), their  first offering of the float rides lasts 1 hour. The rubber boats hold about 16 people who sit around the edge with life-jackets supplied while a guide steers and paddles from the centre. It costs around $40 per person and on a clear day gives views of mountains and hotels and wildlife that can't be appreciated from the bank.

As an alternative, there is a three hour raft ride to Canmore. In both cases the return journey to Banff (two drop off spots) is by bus (not air conditioned). These gentle excursions are suitable for children aged about 5 and over and present opportunities to take photographs of attractions including the Banff hoodoos.