The 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.
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.
The water level for the Kicking Horse River is measured on the gauge located below the north end of the Hwy. 95 bridge in town.