So, if every river was a rock song, the lower section of Toby Creek that plunges down the mountain near Panorama would definitely be “Crazy Train.” The only head-bangers who run this section of water are seasoned kayakers. But even though it’s much tamer, the upper section of Toby Creek is still a thrill. Rafting this section may not have you “Screaming for Vengeance,” but it ain’t no “Sound of Silence,” either. Expect plenty of “Troubled Water.”
Kootenay River Runners’ two-hour rafting trip down upper Toby is ideal for whitewater newbies. With class 1 to 3 rapids and regular wildlife sightings (on my maiden voyage a massive moose was spotted slurping the glacier-fed waters) you’ll be engaged from start to finish. In those rare moments of calm, hilarious guides entertain you with off-colour jokes and instigate all-out, paddle-splashing warfare with the other boats on the water.
One of the best aspects of Kootenay River Runners’ Toby Creek trip is the cost — $67 for adults and $57 for kids ages eight to 14 — making it one of the least expensive white-water rafting trips on the market. With just a 20-minute drive separating the put-in and take-out spots, it’s also one of the most convenient. During the summer, tours depart daily at 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. from Panorama’s Adventure Centre in the Lower Village, so you can raft the river in the morning and still have the entire afternoon to play golf, go for a bike ride or just enjoy some serious patio time.