Canyoning is one of the fastest developing adventure sports on the planet and a real thrill.
Canyoning has gone from an uncommon summer activity to a year-round one in only a few years.
If you enjoy outdoor activities, you will undoubtedly enjoy this experience. You’ll wear wetsuits to explore streams, canyons, and other amazing areas in the wild that are typically considered inaccessible.
Some individuals do it for sheer excitement, while others do it because they want to discover these gorgeous areas and obtain access to huge gorges that most people never get to see.
You can also expect a lot of jumping, walking, swimming and climbing, hence it is a real sport experience.
It needs to be said that a proper canyoning activity always involves a little bit of adrenaline. But if you like the adventure, are in a good physical shape and have no fear of hights, canyoning is an absolute must try for you.
There are very different types of canyons. Some are relatively easy allowing you to exit them whenever you choose with few leaps. Certain canyons are even ideal for children. However, other canyons take days to climb and contain huge waterfalls.
Anyway whether you are bouncing off a waterfall or sliding into clear water, fun is guaranteed!
Canyon is a Spanish term that has the same meaning. In North America, the name “canyon” is commonly used, but in Europe and Oceania, the terms “gorge” and “ravine” are more frequently used.
Dictionary.com refers to a canyon as “a deep valley with steep sides and a stream flowing through it.”
According to the Cambridge Dictionary the word Canyoning is defined as “a sport that involves jumping into a mountain stream that is flowing very fast and being carried down the stream while you float on your back.”
Basically, canyoning (or canyoneering) is an adventurous outdoor sport that combines hiking, climbing, swimming and/or abseiling to cross a canyon or gorge. It follows a water path formed by rocks to explore the winding areas of a natural environment.
Canyoning participants slide, jump and drop down into the canyon, often using technical equipment to navigate paths through streams, pools and waterfalls.
A hike is generally required to reach a canyon. It might be as long or as short as trekking. The level of difficulty will be determined by the canyon’s position in the landscape and its proximity to highways.
You put on a wetsuit after you arrive. In the chilly water, wetsuits keep you warm. It can be harmful if you don’t have them since you risk hypothermia. There are also dry canyons although most of the world’s canyons include water.
You’ll also need a harness, a helmet, and a rope in order to stay safe. The abseiling ropes are used to descend the waterfalls and cliffs. Once you start, it’s your method of getting out. To complete a canyon, you must reach the end, which is the point when the canyon reopens. Canyons are usually one-way journeys.
During a canyoning tour you’ll be hopping around rocks, wading, swimming, and performing brief scrambles over rocky parts all across the canyon. Then you’ll be abseiling. When you first start, this might be scary, but you will rapidly overcome your fears because the adrenaline kicks in. As long as you are careful, use the proper techniques and stick with more experienced individuals until you understand what you’re doing, you’ll be fine!
Best of all – it is an activity everyone can practice. As long as you are in good physical condition and not afraid of hights. There are easy canyons for beginners and even kids. If you are more advanced you can try more difficult gorges with massive waterfalls. No matter which gorge you are climbing, fun is guaranteed.
If you are booking a canyoning tour, which is highly recommended when doing it for the first time, most of the equipment will be offered by the tour company and is included in the price. If you are trying to go on your own, without professionals, you will need the following things:
Wetsuit – The be-all-and-end-all of a safe canyoning experience is the wetsuit. You can’t do it without it. The water in the canyons is usually quite cold and the wetsuit keeps you warm and supports your flow. Most importantly, it also protects you when you hit a rock.
Helmet – going into these waters without head protection is life threatening. The speed of the water can be very dangerous and it is common to slip and fall. However, with a sturdy helmet, your head should be well protected from injury.
Canyoning shoes – solid, high-grip shoes are among the most important things in terms of safety when canyoning. If you don’t want to spend so much money on high quality canyoning shoes, old running shoes are also good if they still have good grip and plenty of cushioning around the foot.
Static rope – Abseiling necessitates the use of a static rope. The ropes should be long-lasting, strong, and water-resistant. You must ensure that the length of rope you have is appropriate for the challenges in your canyon. If you’re going without an expert guide, be sure you know how to use it!
Canyoning Rope Bag(s) – A waterproof, drainable rope bag makes it easy and convenient to carry your ropes while also allowing you to climb, swim, and explore securely with your hands free.
Descender device – a descender belay system is another important safety feature. This is used as an erosion brake to help you safely and effectively deal with your drop when abseiling.
Climbing harness – for abseiling or climbing, this belay is worn consistently and is attached to a rope.
Waterproof container with emergency treatment kit – for medical aid unit, phone, and other basic security items that will fit into your gorge rope sack.
Knife–for all canyoning expeditions, a water-safe canyoning knife is a must-have security tool.
Slings, carabiners, and belaying – know what belaying and safety devices you’ll need for your gorge and always have a few additional slings and carabiners.
Famous Canyoning destinations in France?
Every summer, people are eager to try new water activities such as rafting, canoeing, and paddling. Canyoning has developed itself as a must-do activity among them. Canyoning is a great way to spend time with family or friends while having a good time! If you have never done canyoning before and do not have the necessary equipment, we recommend that you schedule a guided canyoning trip.
Anyway, if you are in France, there are several popular canyoning destionations to choose from:
Gorges de Besorgues and Gorges de Borne (Ardèche)
The Ardèche and in particular the Monts d’Ardèche Regional Nature Park is amazing for a first canyoning experience. The former volcanic area will enchant you with its magical landscape. Both canyons are easy to travel to and perfect for families as they are very beginner friendly.
Furon Gorge and Ecouges Gorge (Vercors)
Furon Gorge and the Ecouges Gorge are two renowned canyons in this natural area.The canyons can be easily reached from Lyon, Grenoble or Geneva and are one of the most popular destinations for canyoning. Especially for beginners they are perfectly suited.
A variety of stunning gorges can be discovered on this beautiful island, especially in the centre towards the Piton des Neiges. Again, the gorges in Reunion island are easy gorges, well suited for beginners.
The Pyrenees are popular for their ski slopes, but canyoning aficionados flock to them as well. The Llech is undeniably one of the most thrilling canyoning courses in France. Water slides, thrilling descents, one-of-a-kind panorama. However, canyoning junkies will like the Taurinya Gorge, which is appropriate for an intermediate level of difficulty.
The Verdon, known for its gorges, is an ideal location for canyoning in France. Its lush landscapes and deep blue seas are the territory’s symbol and never ceazes to amaze. Canyoning fans love to take advantage of the Verdon’s gorges, one of Europe’s deepest, to explore incredible paths. The canyoning passageways are cut into the limestone by Mother Nature. The Verdon Gorges are perfect for all levels, whether you are an expert or a newcomer.
Canyoning is becoming a more popular activity in France. Experience this adventurous journey full of intense feelings and guaranteed amazing moments on your own or on a guided tour with professionals.