Are you looking for an outdoor activity that will give you maximum thrills? Go rafting in the Ardèche! A water sports activity on white water that will get your adrenaline going.
How does a rafting trip work?
The raft is an unsinkable and very flexible inflatable boat designed for whitewater rafting.
Six or eight people, each equipped with a helmet and a paddle, take to the water and splash down the torrential rivers. A ranking from 1 to 6 determines the level of difficulty of the rafting courses.
The spots in the Ardèche vary from 1 to a maximum of 4. Rafting is a fairly physical activity. Expect to have to walk to the boarding point, with the raft to carry of course! The Ardèche is a legendary destination for rafting, on several of its rivers.
Rafting in the Ardèche in the Allier gorges
The canyon carved out by the Allier over some fifty kilometres to the north of the Ardèche is ideal for rafting, as access to the river is rare on this stretch.
The Allier gorges offer rafting courses rated 2 and 3, with some courses rated 4. The activity is accessible to families, as it can be practised by children from 10 years old. Allow half a day to a full day of rafting, on courses of 5 to 12 km.
Rafting agencies such as Canoë Val d’Allier often offer to combine a white water rafting trip with a canoe trip: in this case the rafting session takes place in the morning and the canoeing in the afternoon, with a picnic and swimming at lunchtime. The most mythical rapids in the gorges, which can be very turbulent after the opening of the Naussac dam, are the Roche qui Pleure and the Baraque à Poney.
The routes on the Allier are made up of a first part with thrills, and a second part that is more calm. Rafting is always done in the company of an experienced guide, from April to October, for a price varying between 40 and 50 euros per person.
Rafting on the Chassezac gorges
A tributary of the Ardèche, the Chassezac is less frequented but also offers sublime panoramas. The Chassezac offers a very accessible rafting course for beginners and families with children: 15 km long and 2 hours of navigation, it can be done with children from 5 or 6 years old if they know how to swim and have the aquatic ease certificate.
The Chassezac is a perfect river to learn about rafting. The trip is rather quiet, punctuated by a few rapids and rollers. It is also an opportunity, with Ceven Aventure, to discover the gorges and their biodiversity thanks to the comments of your guide.
The starting point for the rafting trip is the village of Les Assions, for a price of 25 euros per person. The loan of a helmet, paddle, wild life jacket and the return trip by shuttle are included.
Rafting in the Ardèche gorges
Mythical gorges which are among the most touristic sites in France, the Ardèche gorges are renowned for canoeing, but also lend themselves to rafting.
Two courses are offered by service providers such as La Petite Mer. The first one, from Aubenas to Voguë, is very playful and ideal to learn how to cross rapids and rollers of different types.
The second one includes some sporty passages but is generally more quiet. It starts in Vallon Pont d’Arc and ends in Châmes. Particularly suitable for families with children, it has the advantage of passing under the Pont d’Arc.
Rafting is subject to water level constraints. On the Allier, it will depend in particular on the opening of dams upstream. On the Ardèche and the Chassezac, it will often be impossible in summer, due to the natural drop in water levels.