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KickingHorseRiverHome

History Bites
Horse Tale
While exploring a Rocky Mountain river in 1858, surveyor-geologist James Hector suffered a near-fatal kick by his packhorse. Hector survived, and the river and a nearby mountain pass were named in honour of the incident.
Fishy Facts
High Habitat
The steep grade and cold, clean glacial waters of the Kicking Horse River are favoured by the bull trout, a member of the char subgroup of the salmon family.
Rapid Fact
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Kicking Horse River
Like a downhill skier who pauses to catch his breath before making one final, headlong run, eastern British Columbia's Kicking Horse River descends swiftly from the ice fields of the Canadian Rockies, slows briefly into a broad, U-shaped valley, then plunges wildly to its Columbia River confluence. Rising from the ice-cold glacial waters of Wapta Lake, and joined by the tributaries of the Yoho, Emerald, Amiskwi and Ottertail Rivers, the Kicking Horse falls steeply in its upper reaches before widening onto a flattened valley floor. Suddenly, it drops again, rushing recklessly through the narrow, turbulent channels of the infamous Kicking Horse Canyon. The Kicking Horse is a river of contrasts: wild and free, it flows untamed and unobstructed through some of Canada's most spectacular mountain terrain. Yet it is bordered by both a national highway and a transcontinental rail line; the resorts of Banff, Lake Louise and Golden are just a short and scenic drive away, and the evergreen forests, wildflower meadows, and legendary aquamarine lakes of its watershed are within easy hiking distance. The waters of the Kicking Horse flow through the protected lands of Yoho National Park, part of the vast and beautiful Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site. As an ecological, recreational, and historical jewel of the Canadian West, the Kicking Horse enjoys the distinction of being the first British Columbian river to be recognized as a Canadian Heritage River.