Activities available

Vallon Pont d’Arc is the centre for outdoor activities in the Ardeche and is often referred to as the gateway to the Gorge. There are lots of options available for you to experience and on this page you will find the full list of activities that we can include with your holiday.

The two-day guided river trip is our main activity and we provide this directly. The additional activities (canyoning, climbing, via-ferrata, and caving) are provided by a local supplier. We have carefully selected them due to their high professional standards and the fact that they have the best local guides in the region, who all speak great English. This ensures that you receive the best experience possible.

Please scroll down for information on activities. For details about villages to visit or less active things to do, please see the following links.

Two-day Ardeche river trip...

Canoeing / Kayaking

With an overnight camp in the gorge

Paddling the Ardeche river is an experience you won’t forget.

Starting in Vallon Pont d’Arc you will travel under the breathtaking Pont d’Arc, recently classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and through the nature reserve past limestone cliffs reaching up to 1000ft on either side. This 32km journey is a wonderful combination of exciting rapids (30 in total – grade 2) and peaceful flat sections where you can take in the immense nature and history that surrounds you.

There is an abundance of wildlife along the river. It is quite likely that you will spot birds of prey such as the Black Kite, the Bonelli’s Eagle or the Egyptian Vulture during your two-day river trip and with a bit of luck you might even see beavers and otters. And it’s almost certain that you’ll see some wild boar at the bivouac site when they come to do their evening rounds!

The river trip is best experienced over two days with an overnight camp in the gorge, accompanied by one of our experienced guides. This is why it is included as standard with our 8 day River Packages and our ‘Gorge Getaway’ Short breaks. We want you to relax, have fun and enjoy the spectacular environment without worrying about equipment, timings or tricky looking rapids.

Our highly qualified guides are there to ensure your safety as well as your enjoyment throughout the trip and will help you to get the most from your experience. They will show you suitable places for rock jumps, rapids you can swim down as well as showing you points of interest such as the mediaeval leper colony, hidden caves, and other things that you would certainly miss without a guide. Not only that but your guide will also take photos of you throughout the two-day trip which you will receive a copy of – free of charge.

If you’re looking to book the river trip only and are unsure about whether or not to include the guide, we have created a “Why have a guide?” page to help you decide.

Ardeche river map
Ardeche river map

Additional Activities you can book through us...

Select the tabs below for information

These activities can be included with our 8 day River Packages or with a Bespoke Booking to create a multi-activity holiday.

Via- Ferrata

Half-day activity (3h)

Via-Ferrata is Italian for “Iron Road” and refers to a mountain route that is equipped with fixed cables, ladders and bridges. Also referred to as vertical walking, these routes allow walkers and climbers to follow otherwise isolated and inaccessible routes without the need of ropes and belays, and without the risks associated with unprotected climbing or scrambling.

The first Via Ferrata in the Ardèche is situated near Thueyts (min age 10yrs/ 1.4m) and crosses the upper Ardèche river. Another has recently been built overhanging the Lac du Villefort (min age 12yrs). Both activities are also about an hours drive from Vallon Pont d’Arc and you will be required to get yourselves to the meeting point where your instructor will be waiting. Directions will be provided.

This aided climbing allows you to reach places that otherwise would be inaccessible even for the most advanced climbers and all you need is a good instructor and a head for heights!

Canyoning

Half-day activity (3h)

This activity takes place in the Ardeche mountains, about an hours drive from Vallon Pont d’Arc. This is probably the most energetic of all the activities, although it will be tailored to the needs and abilities of the group. You will be provided with directions and will need to get yourself to the meeting point where your guide will be waiting for you. You will then be provided with a wetsuit and specialist footwear and will head off for your activity. You will find yourself walking down a steep path to enter the gorge itself, then on reaching the bottom the fun will begin!

The instructors live and breathe the canyons and speak excellent English so you will be in great hands. You will find yourself sliding, jumping and swimming your way down the gorge following the water all the way! An amazing experience that really gets the heart pounding. Although alternate routes are sometimes possible they are not always available and a drop down through a waterfall may be your only choice. There are many optional jumps into pools but watching others can be almost as terrifying as jumping yourself!

The main canyon has a minimum age of 12 yrs old and jumps of up to 8m! However, there are a few options available with one ‘mini’ canyon suitable for younger children (6yrs+) and another which is suitable for the whole family (7yrs+) where all the larger jumps are optional – perfect if you have older and younger children. We will always ensure that the appropriate canyoning activity is booked for you depending on the needs of your group.

If you feel that this activity may be beyond your ability then you can contact us to discuss the activity in more detail.

Caving

Half-day activity (3h)

Caving is one of the only activities remaining that gives the experience of true exploration and the discovery of a new world.

The Ardèche is covered in caves and caverns with one of the largest caves in Europe (Aven Orgnac) and the oldest cave paintings in the world (Chauvet Cave). The Chauvet cave was found in 1994 by local cavers who found a previously undiscovered opening in a popular cave which led through to the amazing discovery.

Although there are some tourist caves in the area (such as Orgnac) which are lit and even have lifts to get you back to the surface, our Caving activity however, takes you back to the original feeling of discovery in small groups with a local English speaking guide.

You will explore this underground world discovering calcite crystals, amazing formations, natural springs and underground lakes

There are a couple of family friendly caves with options for children as young as 7yrs. The more demanding cave requires an abseil entry and has some narrow passages to navigate. If you select this activity then we will contact you to ensure you are booked in to an appropriate cave for your group.

exploring a cave
Amazing cave formations
Abseil entry!
exploring a cave
Amazing cave formations
Abseil entry!

Climbing

Half-day activity (3h)

With a multitude of sites all over the region, climbing is another popular activity in the Ardeche.

There are grades to suit all abilities with activity sessions that are family friendly or for adults only.  This activity is under the supervision of a highly qualified local, English speaking instructor.

Whether you have a fear of heights but want to try and overcome this or are a bit of a seasoned climber. The Limestone crags, which draw almost as many people as the river does, offer an unforgettable experience.

If you are an experienced climber who would like to include a private half or full day then please contact us with your requirements.

Other Activities in the area...

Select the tabs below for information

Bike Hire

You can hire mountain bikes or road bikes locally for a day or for the duration of your stay. Electric bikes are also now available for those wishing to explore on two wheels without all the effort.

Walking

There are numerous paths and ‘chemin’ running in every direction with yellow/white or red/white markings along the way . You can explore the forests or the gorges and end up at some amazing viewpoints. Walking maps are recommend and can be purchased locally.

Horse Riding

There are a few local stables that offer horse-riding treks to tourists with pony treks for smaller children. We can recommend a suitable one on request.

Crazy Golf

This is a great option for a lazy afternoon or an evening of family fun. There is a very friendly snack bar with crazy golf on the edge of town where you can either just go for a quick game or stop and have a pizza, a few drinks and then a game. See if you have any more luck on number 13!! or is it just me?

High Ropes

There is a high-ropes centre close to Vallon which has colour coded routes for people of all ages and abilities. Great for big and small alike!

Swimming

There are plenty of places where you can go for a swim. You can laze by the hotel pool; head down to the beach underneath the famous Pont d’Arc (this is busy during the summer) and watch the tourists heading through a rapid: go to St. Martin d’Ardeche with its large beach, pedalo’s and river side cafes; or head down into the gorge to find a secluded beach and watch the day trippers go past in their kayaks.

Bike Hire

You can hire mountain bikes or road bikes locally for a day or for the duration of your stay. Electric bikes are also now available for those wishing to explore on two wheels without all the effort.

Walking

There are numerous paths and ‘chemin’ running in every direction with yellow/white or red/white markings along the way . You can explore the forests or the gorges and end up at some amazing viewpoints. Walking maps are recommend and can be purchased locally.

High Ropes

There is a high-ropes centre close to Vallon which has colour coded routes for people of all ages and abilities. Great for big and small alike!

Horse Riding

There are a few local stables that offer horse-riding treks to tourists with pony treks for smaller children. We can recommend a suitable one on request.

Crazy Golf

This is a great option for a lazy afternoon or an evening of family fun. There is a very friendly snack bar with crazy golf on the edge of town where you can either just go for a quick game or stop and have a pizza, a few drinks and then a game. See if you have any more luck on number 13!! or is it just me?

Swimming

There are plenty of places where you can go for a swim. You can laze by the hotel pool; head down to the beach underneath the famous Pont d’Arc (this is busy during the summer) and watch the tourists heading through a rapid: go to St. Martin d’Ardeche with its large beach, pedalo’s and river side cafes; or head down into the gorge to find a secluded beach and watch the day trippers go past in their kayaks.

We are not able to pre-book these activities but they are all available locally. We can provide information when we greet you on arrival and will recommend where you can go as required throughout your stay.