Pembina River Tubing Adventures

Tina came up with the best idea: to go tubing down the Pembina River!

She posted about this in her summer wish list, and I think she’s knocked quite a few things off her list already!

Now, when I was invited, I said yes right away, but wasn’t really sure what to expect, but thankfully Jenny sent me the Pembina River Tubing website so I was a little bit better prepared.

When Jenny and Adam came to pick us up, we were ready with bathing suits, towels, hats, sunscreen, food, a change of clothes and a wad of money, and no expectations! 🙂 I was so grateful that Jenny and Tina and Des had done some research into this, because I am sure I would have gotten lost, first of all, and secondly paid way more than I needed to!

We met up at the little pub in Entwistle, Alberta, and had a few drinks before gathering up our gear, and in a good-old-fashioned-money-saving-kind-of-way, we ferried people and tubes back and forth from start to end locations, so we didn’t have to pay $10 each for the shuttle bus service.


Thanks to Adam’s Boy Scout/MacGyver ways (and complete hyperactivity), we had tubes blown up and ready to go in no time, and all I did was stand around and take a few photos. 😛


We got into the water and the fun began!

There were plenty of moments of just chilling and relaxing, and plenty of other moments of fun and squeals when we went over ‘rapids,’ got hung up on rocks and bounced around.

Adam spent most of his time out of the tube, pushing us off rocks and such, and Tina, Adam and I all got out and went for a swim in a deeper part of the river, but I banged toes and knees and shins a few too many times and decided it was best to get back into the tube, where it was safe.

The water was really quite warm, so I’m guessing the Pembina River mustn’t be glacier fed. It was shallow most of the way, where most people could stand up most of the time, with a few deeper areas (like where we went swimming), but full of great big slippery rocks, so not entirely safe to walk around in.

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It was really fun!

You could take this trip as slowly as you like – several people stopped at little beaches and suntanned and relaxed. Others were drinking and having a party on the river. Yet others were really family-oriented, with BIG floating islands!

Part of the time I felt like we were alone on the river, and other times, it would get really congested, and we’d make massive flotillas of people and rafts and tubes.

The average float time is 3 hours, but we did it in around 2.

Is that because we’re all runners and are so fast!? 🙂

The day was perfect! We got to the exit point just as the cool weather came in. Apparently, parts of Edmonton had rain and hail and power failures (very isolated events), while we had perfect sun and gorgeous weather the whole time we were floating along!

They do similar things in lots of Indonesian places, Bali and Thailand especially, where leavers (grade 12 grads) go and spend time celebrating the end of school, but I had no idea that it would be something you could do locally – it just hadn’t occurred to me.

If you get the chance to do this – and I highly recommend you do – grab several friends, cars and foot pumps. Bring your own air mattresses, tubes or floatation devices (make sure they’re robust, this isn’t a swimming pool), water, food, and rope (to tie you all together, it’s fun that way) and if you have them, bring water shoes so you can safely walk down the bank to the river, and in the river with less chance of injury to your feet. Oh, and a paddle wouldn’t hurt either, even if just for pushing you into the better parts of the current or off rocks or the beach, because the water will simply take you where it wants.

Then, hunt down the maps, and do the car shuffle!

Remember those logic games in school? You have a bag of chicken feed, a chicken, and a wolf to ferry across to the other side of the river. You can only take one thing at a time, and you can’t leave the chicken alone with the feed, the wolf alone with the chicken?

No? Is that just me?

Tina remembered!


I totally digressed! 🙂

This will save you all the money for rentals and shuttle services, and all you’ll really have to pay is the fuel to get there!

Of course, if that doesn’t suit, these guys offer the full-range of services, tubes and shuttles, and max you’re looking at $80 a person if you’re going to do the biggest and best of it all.

And please, if you do this, take your rubbish out with you! If you managed to carry it in full, I don’t see why you can’t carry it out empty. Seriously, people, seeing the river full of your empties and cigarette butts was sad.

And hey, while I mention it, what was with all the smokers? It was odd. I’d guess a good 40% of the people around us were smoking, and I can’t recall the last time we were around so many people puffing away. Maybe there are just that many smokers around still, but since they’re not allowed to smoke in public places, it just seems like there are fewer of them?

Gotta say, I don’t mind those anti-smoking laws one bit! 🙂


Thank you to Tina for coming up with the plan, for Jenny and Adam for driving us.

We had a great time! 🙂


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