This is by far the most popular activity in the area with people coming from all over to “do the gorges” using Vallon Pont d’Arc as their centre. The upper section finishes just after the Pont d’Arc at Chames, which is about 500m from the Hotel Belvedere. It is a perfect section to introduce people to the sport of Canoeing and Kayaking with some flat sections and also half a dozen rapids for a slightly more exhilarating experience. Being only a 8km/2 hour journey means there will be time to develop your skills, have a swim, or laze next to the river watching others float by. The choice of whether you want to pair up and paddle tandem or prefer to go solo is left to you with advice and guidance from a highly experienced British Canoe Union (B.C.U.) Level 3 or Level 4 Coach.
The longer, second part to the river starts where the first one finished, just on the entrance to the Gorge. As soon as you start, you feel the gorge walls raising up until you are enveloped by their magnificence. This section can either be broken up with an overnight Bivouac (see below) at one of the two campsites within the Nature Reserve, or it can be done in a day. Although quite achievable in a day (24km/7 hours), it can be a bit strenuous for those less fit but is most definitely not one to be missed! The only way to see this amazing place from the inside is on foot or by canoe! The minimum age to go down the Gorge is 7 years old and everyone must be able to swim 25m and be water confident.
The majority of our river trips are two-day trips with an overnight camp in the gorge (bivouac). This covers the full 32km of the Gorges de l’Ardeche and we believe that this is the best way to do it, maximising your experience.
The boats we use are sit-on-top kayaks and are available in singles or doubles. They are well designed to help protect you on the rapids and help to greatly reduce the chance of entrapment.They have specific areas designed into the boats that allow the waterproof barrel to be securely attached and are self-emptying. Buoyancy aids, paddles, barrel and boats are all included in the price. We can also provide trips in traditional open canoes but these must be specifically requested to check availability and are only possible with a guide.
Paddling along the flat sections allows you to marvel at the scenery while the rapids bring a little focus and help to add adventure to this memorable journey.
For more information visit the following link on the Rhone-Alpes Tourism website: The Legendary Ardèche Gorge.
To get a better feel of the journey you will take, visit the following Ardeche River Gallery.