Location: River Bend Recreation Area – Located along the river 3.5 km north of 30 Avenue from 67 Street http://www.rbgra.ca/discovery-canyon/
Parking: Free parking in parking lot
Season: Weather dependent. Usually early June until the September long weekend
Amenities: Washroom/change rooms, concession, tube rentals.
Note: it can be quite busy. It will be less crowded if you go earlier in the day, during the week or on a day that is warm but not hot.
In the summer months, Discovery Canyon has a inner tube run that kids can ride down. The water is never very deep. Water is pumped up from the lake below and you can ride along until you get to the pool at the bottom of the canyon. At the bottom is a lovely beachy area with sand, rocks and shallow water.
You can rent inner tubes for $5 (requires photo ID) or you can bring your own (30-50 inches). The rental tubes come in two – sizes medium and large.
There are picnic tables, a concession, nice shady trees and up the hill on the South West side there are washrooms/change rooms. A new playground was built in 2018 (after this review was done).
The tube run is probably best for kids in the 5-12 year old range. They recommend life jackets for kids who can’t swim, but very few kids were wearing them while we were there.
My 8 year old loved the tube run and was able to go up and down completely independently. My 5 year old needed a little help getting on the tube at the beginning but was able to go down by herself.
Adventurous kids who are comfortable in the water may be able to do it independently a bit younger. It can be a little chaotic at the beginning of the run though.
There is a shallow pool that you have to get into that can be a little challenging. If you need a bit more space or time, try going on the Northern side as it is generally less busy (this is a bit less direct and involves a few stairs). Younger kids should be monitored to make sure they get going safely down the run.
My husband and I each tried taking our 2 year old down on one of the large inner tubes. I am currently 5’4″ and 170 lbs and my son is around 30 pounds. We got a little bit stuck a couple of times, but I was easily able to dislodge us and it was a fun (if a little bit stressful) ride down. My husband is 6’4″ and found he bottomed out a bit too much for it to be really enjoyable.
The ride down only takes a couple of minutes and is a short walk to the top. In general it is a pretty slow ride and sometimes you may get stuck in a little eddy. If you just wait a little bit you’ll get going again. At the bottom of the ride just before you enter the pool it can be pretty fast so be prepared to hold on.
The pond area is lovely, with sand and shallow water. My kids really enjoyed playing with the inner tubes in the pond and jumping off the big rocks. I wish I would have thought to bring some sand toys as the beach area is really nice. Although there are a lot of big trees nearby, you may want to bring some shade if you want to set up near the sand.
We had a great time at Discovery Canyon and I can’t wait to go again. I’m sure it is going to be one of the highlights for our kids this summer.
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