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by Prakash Sahni on 03/07/2016 at 10:56 PM

Top 8 Outdoor Activities to do in Ardèche

Ardeche Canyoning and Mountain Sports

Located in France, Ardèche is infamous for its long and deep gorges, superb mountains, and dense and luscious forests. With an abundance of thriving and blossoming flora and fauna, combined with a mixture of terrain, it should come as no surprise that Ardèche is a popular location for outdoor activities. Since the phrase, “outdoor activities”, is so broad, we have decided to narrow it down to the top 8 outdoor activities one can do while in Ardèche. We have included everything from Ardèche canyoning to touring some of Ardèche’s breathtaking vineyards!

Mountain Sports Ardèche

Woman hiking in mountain range. Rear view of a female backpacker walking on a small foot path in a mountain landscape. Image for trekking, hiking or climbing.

1.) Canyoning

Kicking off our list of the top 8 outdoor activities to do in Ardèche is Ardèche canyoning. Ardèche’s geography is too good not to go canyoning. If you are unfamiliar with canyoning, the basic way to define it is; the activity of climbing, hiking, swimming, and completing any other action in order to navigate through a designated area. While there are many locations to go canyoning in Ardèche, the Ardèche canyoning hotspot is the Vallon Pont d’Arc. While canyoning in, or around, Vallon Pont d’Arc, you will come across four unique rivers, the Cevennes, the Ardechoise, the Gard, and the Lozere. While Ardèche canyoning in Vallon Pont d’Arc, you can expect to swim in the fast and clear rivers, descend down waterfalls, and navigate through the dense canyons. Once you have experience Vallon Pont d’Arc, check out Les Vans, Aubenas, and Joyeuse!

If you are interested in Ardèche canyoning, contact Ardèche’s premier canyoning company, Acro’Force. Acro’Force is specialized in Ardèche canyoning, along with other outdoor sports, such as rock climbing, and mountain biking. Thus, you will be trained and led by expert canyoneers!

2.) Canoe or kayak

The most popular activities to do in Ardèche are canoeing and kayaking. After all, Ardèche is most famous for its rivers, so it makes sense that canoeing and kayaking are the most popular outdoor activities. Most people canoe or kayak in the Gorges de l’Ardèche. The Gorges de l’Ardèche are pretty deep and are surrounded by tall and gorgeous cliffs. People typically take two or three-day excursions to the Gorges de l’Ardèche. On those multi-day trips, you canoe or kayak for the majority of the day, then will camp nearby. It should be noted that children younger than seven years old are prohibited from canoeing or kayaking the Gorges de l’Ardèche.

3.) Hike

If Ardèche canyoning appeals to you, but you do not want to climb, swim, or do anything of that sort, then try hiking! There a ton of untouched natural areas and historical locations to hike in, or nearby, in Ardèche. One of the best places to hike is the Monts d’Ardèche Regional Nature Park. It has a ton of paths to choose from. Thus, there is something for every skill level.

Ardeche Vineyards

Ardeche Vineyards

4.) Tour vineyards

We already know that Ardèche is the home to the perfect environment for outdoor sports, but it is also the perfect location to grow grapes! Due to the variety of soils, this southern France region is the perfect place to grow various types of grapes. Thus, the vineyards in Ardèche are able to make everything from wholesome and unique wine to world renowned, higher end wine. Thus, if you are a wine lover, or you are looking for something low key, yet interesting to do on a sunny day in Ardèche, take a trip to one of Ardèche’s famous vineyards! Some of the best vineyards in Ardèche are; Le Mazel, Cote-Rotie, Condrieu, Cornas, and St-Joseph.

5.) Visit the caves

We have covered Ardèche’s vast rivers and dense canyons, but we have not talked about the thousands of caves that are located in Ardèche. Yes, thousands of caves. To be more precise, there is approximately 10,000 caves and caverns in Ardèche. Those 10,000 caves and caverns are intertwined among Ardèche’s high cliffs and steep rivers. Some of the caves are even underground! While you have about 10,000 caves and caverns to choose from, definitely check out Aven d’Orgnac and Chauvet. Aven d’Orgnac and Chauvet are known to be home to some of the oldest prehistoric paintings in Europe.
It should be noted that unless you are an expert, you should always explore a cave or cavern with a guide.

6.) Mountain bike

If spending the day on your feet doesn’t appeal to you, but you still enjoy strenuous activity, try mountain biking around Ardèche! Ardèche doesn’t have your typical mountain biking trails. After all, Ardèche’s trails are frequently used in Le Tour de France and L’Ardechoise. If you are interested in tackling miles of rugged and hilly regions, then you won’t have trouble finding an exhilarating and challenging mountain biking trail in Ardèche. But, if you enjoy a gentler mountain biking trail, check out the trails that link Lamastre to Le Cheylard.

7.) Rock climb

As you should know by now, Ardèche is home to humongous mountains, cliffs, and canyons. Thus, it is perfect for rock climbing! Since Ardèche is home to a plentiful amount of suitable rock climbing routes, there is something for every rock climbing level. Two of the best rock climbing routes are the Via Ferrata and the Iron Road.

8.) Explore on foot

The last activity on our list is a lot more laid back then the rest. If ascending the tallest mountains in Ardèche, or floating down the fast paced rivers does not appeal to you, then simply explore the region on foot! While Ardèche is infamous for its perfect environment for almost every outdoor sport and activity imaginable, it is also famous for some of the things that the town offers. One of the coolest things you can find in Ardèche is their fascination with chestnuts. You can find chestnuts in almost every way imaginable. But, the most popular way chestnuts are served is in the dish marrons glâces.

Aside from chestnuts, Ardèche has an amazing restaurant scene, with world class dining options. Another perk of Ardèche is the spa options that are offered. Other than some of the small luxuries you can experience in Ardèche, Ardèche has an immense of history. You can view Ardèche’s history through its breathtaking architecture, art, and museums. So, if you need a break from exploring Ardèche’s wilderness, spend a day walking around the town!

That concludes our list of the top 8 outdoor activities to do in Ardèche, France. Hopefully, this list has inspired you to plan a trip to Ardèche. Or, if you frequently visit Ardèche, hopefully, this list has intrigued you to leave your hotel room the next time you are in Ardèche! So, what are you waiting for? Touch up on your French, and bon voyage!

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I knew there was a lot to do here but wow, I have got some planning to do! I assumed I would be hiking and just generally taking in the scenery by foot but caves, biking, and vineyards sounds like so much fun as well. Thanks for this detailed post.

I love a private travel deep gorges, superb mountains...

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