Filip H.A. Claeys

Trekking in Mountainous and Subarctic Regions

Descent of “Gorges de l’Ardèche”


During a recent family holiday I made a 32 km descent of “Gorges de l’Ardèche” in southern France by packraft. Although canoeing on the Ardèche river is extremely popular during the summer season, it is not entirely trivial, in contrast to the equally popular Dordogne river in the same area.

I started paddling at 8 am in Vallon-Pont-d’Arc and had the river to myself for the first 8 km. Afterwards I was joined by some of the canoers taking on the 24 km descent. Much to my surprise it only took me until 2:15 pm to arrive at the “Sauze” beach in Saint-Martin-d’Ardèche, where the gorge ends (including 2 short breaks).

Although the water level was quite low, packrafting did not pose real problems. I only had to get out of the raft twice, once at Vallon-Pont-d’Arc soon after departure, and once at Les 3 Eaux. Albeit inexperienced with any form of whitewater, I got through all rapids without problems, except for one. At La Dent Noire I didn’t really take the sign hinting to keep to the right to heart, and was hence shortly thrown out of the raft by the current. No harm done however, except for the fact that I lost my hat …


2 thoughts on “Descent of “Gorges de l’Ardèche”

  1. Broer, waar kan ik ‘liken’?


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