A List of Top 10 Famous Rivers in Alberta

Rivers in Alberta
Photo by Anna Newell on Unsplash / Copyright 2023

Known for its stunning natural beauty with a backdrop of the magnificent Canadian Rocky Mountains, Alberta is a province located immediately east of the continental divide in Western Canada. This province is quite famous for its rivers in Alberta, the thriving arts and culture, and many events and festivals that are held here throughout the year.

Moreover, Alberta’s environment is home to many beautiful and serene rivers. Along with peace and calm, the rivers in Alberta also offer a wide variety of recreational activities such as kayaking, rafting, fishing, etc. If you were looking for a peaceful escape to the rivers from the hustling-bustling city life, then consider this article as a sign,

Visit these 10 Rivers in Alberta

1. Athabasca River

The Athabasca River originates from Columbia Icefield in the Rocky Mountains of Jasper National Park and travels 1,231 km before emptying into the largest freshwater delta in the world, the Peace-Athabasca Delta. It is also the longest river in Alberta. Furthermore, Athabasca receives its tributary waters from the Muskeg River, north Berland River, Sulphur River, Sloat Creek, and Yates River.

Athabasca River is surrounded by mesmerizing views, including mountains, forests, pulp and paper mills, mining of the oil sands deposit, and provincial parks. There are also many trails and camping sites near the Athabasca River that offer a delightful experience of the river.

2. Bow River

Rivers in Alberta
Photo by Gurudas Gandhi on Unsplash / Copyright 2023

Bow River is approximately 587 km long as it receives water from Sheep Creek, Nose Creek, and Alice Creek. It flows through southern Alberta and then ultimately flows into the Hudson Bay. In addition, the river got its name from the reeds that grew along the banks of the river.

These reeds were used to make bows, which were used by the indigenous crowd for hunting. The river is considered to be an amazing spot for fly fishing. There are also plenty of hiking trails carved around the Bow River, so if you are not a fan of fishing, then you can enjoy the scenic view of the river.

3. North Saskatchewan River

The North Saskatchewan River originates in the Canadian Rocky Mountains near the Saskatchewan Glacier and then flows eastward, merging with the South Saskatchewan River. The river then gets tributary water from the Bigoray River, Belcourt Creek, and Pinto Creek, and then it eventually flows into Hudson Bay by winding through Edmonton.

The Edmonton Valley Park System of the river is a must-visit and the largest urban park destination in the whole of North America. Here, the visitors can also explore the North Saskatchewan River by kayak or canoe, take a hike or bike along its banks, or simply relax and take in the serene view of the river. The river is also year-round and famous for jet boating, fishing, gold panning, etc.

4. Oldman River

This 362 km long river originates from the Canadian Rocky Mountains and eventually empties into the Southern Saskatchewan River. The Oldman River has plenty of hiking trails ranging from easy beginner strolls to challenging treks, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts

Oldman River also offers recreational activities like fishing, whitewater rafting, and kayaking. If adventure isn’t your preference, then you have an option to relax by the river and appreciate the natural beauty of southern Alberta. In addition, the Castle River Bridge, here, offers picnic tables and a stunning view of the Oldman River.

5. Milk River

The Milk River is approximately 1,173 km long and got its name from the milky-looking water. It flows through southern Alberta, Canada, and Montana and then finally mixes into the longest river in America, the Missouri River, and then into the Gulf of Mexico watershed. The Milk River is fed by two main tributaries: the North Milk River and the South Milk River.

Its scenic beauty and excellent trout fishing make the Milk River known. Moreover, the surrounding area of the Milk River is home to a variety of flora and fauna. You should definitely pay a visit to the Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park and Milk River Ridge Reservoir here for outdoor recreational activities.

6. Peace River

If you are looking for a peaceful getaway to relax and unwind, then the Peace River should definitely be on your list. This 1,923 km long river was named after the Peace Point, which settled a territorial dispute. Peace River originates from the Canadian Rockies and flows northward across the Alberta prairies, receiving its tributary waters from the South Heart River, Fishery River, Berland River, Hines Creek, Saddle River, Harper Creek, and Kleskun Creek.

Subsequently, the river then flows into the Mackenzie River, which ultimately drains into the Arctic Ocean. Fishing enthusiasts will encounter a diverse range of fish species here, such as the northern pike, whitefish, and walleye. The Historic Dunvegan Provincial Park is a must-visit as it will give you a glimpse into the history of the Peace River.

7. Hay River and Hay River Watershed

This 670 km long river is actually a tributary of the Peace River. The river is home to a variety of fish species, including the walleye, arctic grayling, and northern pike. Hay River is counted among the northern rivers of Alberta. Located near the border of the Northwestern Territories is the Little Hay River Watershed.

The watershed covers an area of about 4,400 square km that includes several different landscapes such as forests, grasslands, wetlands, etc. Visitors to this watershed can enjoy a range of outdoor recreational activities such as fishing, kayaking, boating, etc.

8. Mackenzie Rivers in Alberta

It is the 13th longest river system in the world. The Slave, Peace, and Finlay Rivers form the Mackenzie River.  The Athabasca River joins the Finlay-Peace River to form the Slave River. The Slave River, along with its tributary waters from Hornaday River, Lennard Creek, then flows into the Great Slave Lake.

Mackenzie River originates from the Great Slave Lake and empties into the Arctic Ocean. It runs through a stunning landscape of dense forests and majestic mountains, and its crystal-clear river water makes it a picturesque destination.

9. Fawcett Rivers in Alberta

Fawcett River is a small tributary of the Pembina River in west-central Alberta. The river’s clear water and abundant fish population make it a favorable location for swimming and fishing. Additionally, the river holds significance within the region’s culture and history. Therefore, the visitors can also enjoy the historical beauty here.

10. East Prairie Rivers in Alberta

Image from anglersatlas.com

East Prairie River is a stream situated near the Big Prairie Settlement. The river is well known for its clear water and abundant fish population, making it a popular spot for fishing. The surrounding area of the river is also home to several provincial parks, including the Peace River Wildland Provincial Park. Hence, this river is a popular spot among visitors for hiking, camping, bird watching, etc.


Finally, these rivers in Alberta contribute to the biodiversity of the province. These rivers hold immense importance in the cultural, ecological, and economic state of the province. They also support aquatic fauna and flora and serve as vital water sources for agriculture as well as industries. So, if you ever plan to visit Canada, then you should definitely check out these rivers in Alberta!


Nidhi is an ambitious 19-year-old who loves reading, writing and travelling. She is currently pursuing her Bachelors in Commerce. Nidhi loves exploring and researching about absolutely everything under the sun and now with her these exploratory skills, she is exploring lifestyle and travel related content.