5 Places for a Sunrise Paddle in Banff National Park

Travel to Canada - What to Expect

5 Places for a Sunrise Paddle in Banff National Park

There’s something special about that early morning calm, particularly when it’s spent on the water. With the glassy, untouched surface of a glacial lake reflecting the grandeur of the surrounding Canadian Rockies, these lakes are perfect for taking a SUP out for a morning sunrise paddle. Watch closely for wildlife on the lake shores, too – they’re often most active at dawn.


Wondering where to pick up all your SUP adventure gear? Pop in to the SkiBig3 Adventure Hub, conveniently located right on Banff Avenue. They offer several inflatable stand-up paddleboards  in an easy-to-carry bag, perfect for convenient transportation. They even have all the extra summer essentials that you might have forgotten – like backpacks, sunglasses, and sunscreen.


1) Vermillion Lakes

Paddling on Vermillion Lakes, photo by Will Lambert
Paddling on Vermillion Lakes, photo by Will Lambert

The closest lakes to the town of Banff can be accessed via the public Banff Canoe docks and up Echo Creek, or from Vermillion Lakes Road. Enjoy one of three beautiful lakes with perfect views of the Rundle range.


2) Two Jack Lake

Early morning paddle on Two Jack Lake, photo by Will Lambert.
Early morning paddle on Two Jack Lake, photo by Will Lambert.

Located along the Lake Minnewanka Loop, Two Jack Lake offers ample parking early in the morning. The water here is so clear that you can even see down to the lake’s bottom. Enjoy a different perspective on Mount Rundle, as seen on the drive between Banff and Canmore.


3) Johnson Lake


This lake is great for beginners and families as it’s a bit warmer than the other nearby bodies of water. Take the SUPs out for a morning paddle, then enjoy a picnic breakfast on the beach and go for a swim once the weather has warmed up.


4) Moraine Lake

Sunrise at Moraine Lake
Sunrise at Moraine Lake

Taking in a morning view at Moraine Lake is a bucket list item for every trip to Banff National Park, but experiencing it on a SUP takes it to another level. Paddle out to the middle of the lake and watch as the surrounding Valley of Ten Peaks comes aglow with the morning sun. Remember, Moraine Lake is only accessible by shuttle service. Some shuttle services will accommodate the transportation of inflatable paddleboards, however it is best to research in advance to avoid disappointment.


5) Emerald Lake


Located 30 minutes west of Lake Louise Ski Resort in Yoho National Park, Emerald Lake is a stunning location to take the SUPs for a sunrise spin. Enjoy this popular summer destination all to yourself in the moments of morning calm.


SUP Tips:

Self-certification permit for waterways
Filling out a self-certification permit for waterways, photo by Jillian Tester

To help combat harmful aquatic invasive species, such as invasive mussels and whirling disease, Parks Canada is now making it mandatory for all water-way users to clean, drain and dry their watercraft before arriving. Self-certification permits are required for anyone paddleboarding, fishing, or boating in Banff National Park. You can either collect a permit at the lake or river or get one ahead of time online.

You can learn more about this prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species on the Parks Canada website.

  • All SkiBig3 paddleboard rentals are cleaned after each use and tracked for usage, so you can have confidence that your SUP is approved for use within Banff National Park!
  • Lifejackets are essential, even for experienced swimmers.
  • The glacial lakes in Banff National Park are very cold. If you’re less experienced with SUPs, you may want to give them a try on a hot summer day.
  • Reserve your SUPs online ahead of time to guarantee your board is available, or visit the Adventure Hub.

Need help booking your hotel stay? Package your hotel with paddleboard rentals for that perfect summer vacation experience. Our friendly Reservations Team is always happy to share their local knowledge and experience to help you find the best rental package for your style and budget. You can reach them via Live Chat (scroll up for the Live Chat link at the top of our website), or by calling 1-844-754-2443.