Include the guide

... don't be a rent-a-crash!

The benifits of having a guided river trip

You might think “well, they would recommend a guide”, but here at Experience Ardèche we firmly believe that having a guided river trip turns a journey through the Ardèche gorge into an experience you’ll remember. The guide is included as standard in our week long River Package holidays and our Gorge Getaway short breaks. With river trips only you have the option to include the guide or not.

For clients with children and those with limited experience, we always recommend having a guided river trip. Otherwise you may become one of the rent-a-crash brigade who just hire boats with no further advice, instruction or assistance.

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The guide will ensure that you have the maximum amount of time in the gorge. Often unguided groups finish early, or late, as they don’t know the distances they need to travel each day. There aren’t many markers within the gorge; however, you can relax in the knowledge that your guide knows exactly where you are and how much distance you have left to paddle. This means that you can stop and have breaks, sunbathe on the beach for a while, have a swim or take a stroll around the gorge, safe in the knowledge that you’ll get to the final pick-up point on time.
With a guided river trip, camping equipment is included, which, let’s face it, will save you time, hassle and all the stress of forward planning. No need to worry about tents or roll mats – your guide will have that covered for you.
The guide knows the gorge inside out. They will show you points of historical and natural interest (the Knights Templar ruin for instance, or hidden caves), they will tell you about the local wildlife as well as suggest suitable places for rock jumps and good rapids to swim down. By the end of your river trip you will feel like you know the gorge that little bit better and you’ll feel like you’ve experienced all that the gorge has to offer. You can spend the entire two days quizzing your guide on information about the gorge…or you can tell them to be quiet! It’s your trip – they are there for you!
At the bivouac site, you will have access to extra facilities such as tea and coffee (a real god send on the morning of day two!), tongs for the BBQ, mugs, plates, tin foil etc. We like to make things as hassle free as we can for you! It may sound like a small detail, but without a guide, these are things you will need to plan for prior to your trip.
The guide will take photographs over the two days and you will receive a copy of these photos at the end of your holiday (this is included in the price). This means that you haven’t got to worry about a) dropping your camera in the river or b) paddling down the river whilst at the same time taking action shots! Your guide will get those shots for you. All you need to do is enjoy the trip and focus on getting through those rapids!
Whether you’re a complete novice or experienced kayaker/canoeist, throughout the two-day trip your guide can give you informal training to help you improve or hone your flat and/or white-water technique. All of our guides are British Canoe Union qualified with loads of experience on the river. It would be impossible for you to * not * be a better paddler at the end of your trip.
Unfortunately every year there are accidents on the river – some more serious than others – and all of them happen on unguided river trips. Your safety is of key importance for our river guides. The guide is there to ensure you don’t run into any difficulties whilst on the river. They will advise you on the best line to take on a rapid and what to do should you capsize. This means that you can relax and have fun knowing that you’re in safe hands. Our guides are highly experienced and fully equipped to deal with any eventuality.

We hope this highlights some of the benefits there are to having a guided river trip. We really want you to get the most out of your time in the gorge and in our experience having a guide makes all the difference. Remember, the guide is there for you! They will help to make it a river trip to remember in all the good ways.


This is a good video showing how quickly things can go wrong and why its a good idea to have a guide if you have limited experience. None of these people had a guide with them and are the people we lovingly refer to as ‘rent-a-crash’.

p.s. no one was seriously harmed during this clip.


Video credit: Delmotte Vivian

Experience Ardeche