Ardèche Gorges in canoe kayak

Here is an article to help you organise your descent of the Ardèche gorges by canoe and/or kayak. An exceptional outing to make during your stay in Sampzon, Ruoms, Vallon Pont d’Arc, etc.

Ardèche Gorges: a breathtaking descent

Have you never canoed before? This is not a problem, thousands of people who have done the descent of the Ardèche gorges were in the same situation as you, novices. We’ll come back to the technical explanations below, but first let us introduce you to what you can expect.

Descend the Ardèche on your own or with a guide if you wish. From Sampzon, the Cap07 canoe rental is a 5 minute walk from our holiday rental. They will offer you different descents, in half-day, day and bivouac for 2 or 3 days.

Descent of the Ardèche Sampzon - Pont d'Arc - Châmes - 13 kms

We recommend the 13km to families, as it is the downhill section that allows you to enjoy and have fun with the slides. You have seen our video above, going down a slide in a canoe or kayak is great fun and not scary at all. The arrival in the water can sometimes be surprising, but there is little risk of turning over.

The 13 kms start in Sampzon at Cap07, as indicated above. Leave early in the morning, so you have plenty of time. It takes about three hours to paddle, or a little longer if you are a child and an adult in a canoe.

The advantage of choosing this descent of the Ardèche is the time you have available. Take breaks to take photos, swim and admire the sights. The Ardèche Gorges, a small paradise on earth.

What we recommend:

  • Book your canoe kayak rental the day before
  • Meet early in the morning at the opening from 9am until 1pm
  • Take food and water with you
  • Put on a cap
  • Protect your skin from the sun
  • Take a waterproof pouch for your phone
  • Water shoes recommended

For your information, you should know that a kayak seats 1 person and a canoe seats up to 4. You have a waterproof canister attached with a strap, it can hold your stuff.

From 7 years old – Must be able to swim – Lifejacket compulsory.

This descent of the Ardèche gorges can be done from April 1st to September 30th.

What if our canoe or kayak flips over in the rapids?

Beginners all dread turning over in the rapids of the Ardèche gorges. Is this a legitimate fear? We’re not going to lie to you, we can indeed turn around. Don’t worry, with the advice from the Sampzon pier, you’ll understand what to do if your canoe or kayak turns over.

Here is a return from our Easter holiday guests. It was their first time.

Canoe kayak sampzon chames
We fell into the water twice, but that was our fault, because we didn't anticipate the rapids enough. When we turned around, we let the current carry us and we were able to leave quietly. It's really an incredible experience, it doesn't take long to master the canoe, even if in the Charlemagne rapids, you don't mess around. But what a pleasure to see the beauty of the Ardèche gorges from the inside and to pass the Pont d'Arc arch.
JP, Vanessa and the children
On holiday in La Gardonne - 13km descent from Samzpon to Châmes

Other descents are available, ask at the rental companies in Sampzon, Vallon Pont d’Arc, Ruoms, Balazuc or Salavas.

We told you that the age limit for canoeing was 7 years old. With an accompanying person, you can go with children under 7 years old.

Good to know: If you liked this descent and you feel like an adventurer, don’t hesitate to do the 32 kilometres to Saint-Martin d’Ardèche. You will paddle in the natural reserve of the Gorges of Ardeche with the scenery you see on the picture below! An unforgettable bivouac, engraved forever in your memory.

Ardeche Gorges Nature Reserve
Circus of the Madeleine