Canyoneering or canyoning in the Verdon Gorges?
Are you visiting the Verdon Gorges in hot summertime? Then why don’t you go and refresh yourself in one of the beautiful canyons in the surroundings? Indeed, one of the most important features, which makes the Verdon unique is canyoneering and waterfall hikes in the gorges. So what is the main difference between canyoning and floating? Besides, what exactly is floating?
Let’s answer these questions in the post hereunder.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of floating and canyoning experiences (more difficult), which can be undertaken alone or with a guide.
Small canyons and easy canyoneering for families with children
Canyoneering or canyoning in the Verdon Gorges is adapted to all levels. Some easy canyons or kloofing can be done with kids. You should bear in mind that an easy hike can become difficult when the water flows differently. The water releases in the summer happen on Tuesdays and Fridays. Well, hopefully, because EDF can decide whether dropping water or not according to its needs!
Know before going
Your guide is quite familiar with the place; so, if he said the adventure is possible from the age of 7, so, that must be true. However, the conditions may change and what was true in the past may not necessarily be true tomorrow. The descriptions herewith do not replace a real guidebook or a guide. On the other hand, they will give you a large range of possible canyoning hikes according to the level of your group. You can also book or ask for more info on our website.
Low Jabron Canyon: pleasant and easy at the beginning of Summer
Every year, this small, easy canyon, which starts from Trigance, is in water until mid-July. It is really great and easy with many jumps!
Unfortunately, it often becomes dry during the summer. Due to its easy level, it can be explored within two hours.
The starting point is located at Trigance Bridge. From the bridge, go along the path, which follows the stream, down to a picnic area. From there, get into the water when you are near a small dam. There, alternate walking and swimming for 10 minutes until you reach a narrow area that requires you either jumping (climbing up on the left side) or abseil down a rope. From this point, it is tempting to ride on a small toboggan, which is not recommended at all, due to inadequate recurrent water supply. After the jump, you proceed with a rather aquatic section, which is swimming. As you go further, jumps are still possible for a while, which will be followed by more swimming until you exit the canyon. A path on the right will take you back to the picnic area in 15 minutes.
The Samson couloir, an easy aquatic hike or floating in the Verdon
This aquatic hike starts just below the tunnels of the Blanc-Martel trail. It consists of whitewater swimming and some optional jumps. This is obviously the most popular section, and for sure, you won’t be alone! The usual exit is at the level of the pigeon balm. Climb up with rods inserted in the rocks, along a rope on a crossing passage over a small cliff. From there, you can reach the tunnels of Martel. You can book this floating excursion on our website.
The small canyon of “Baleine” near Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
Quite easy and pleasant, it is probably the shortest and simplest canyon. Therefore, you can go with kids from 6 years old. They will have a great time! The starting point is located on the Venascle Road at a series of turns of approximately 4 km-long after leaving the D952. Then, locate the site of a dinosaur on the D952 between Roumoules and Moustiers. Travel two kilometers further and take a small road on the left with the sign Venascle / paragliding. Travel 4 km and park in an ascent in a small pine wood.
More challenging canyons with abseiling descent: (canyon with rope)
Here are some more athletic or more technically difficult courses for those who are supposed to have already done a recall at least once in their life. The last experience we describe here, the aquatic hike of Imbut, is the only one that does not require a rope. However, it won’t be enough to be physically fit and comfortable in the water; indeed, in the Verdon, each day often ends with a very steep trail!
The Riou Canyon at Moustiers Sainte –Marie
Superb water canyon at the beginning of the season. In addition to the beauty of the canyon, the Riou is an opportunity for hiking from Moustiers-Sainte Marie. In the itinerary, discover the chapel of Beauvoir, have a picnic at the top of the canyon, with amazing recalls in the waterfall and a bit of swimming upon arrival. What a pity the canyon does not run all season! It must be visited in July and again this year, it might be until mid-July.
La Fernée Canyon: book here or ask more information
That will help catch us up! Everything is wonderful because this canyon combines abseil down within a dry canyon, and eventually, swimming in the “Secret Verdon”! Therefore, this canyon is highly recommended as long as you are not afraid of the void!
The starting point is located at the Mayreste Lookout. Take the path of the Bastidon, which descends slightly, until the path becomes much steeper and crosses a well-marked, small canyon. From there, follow the canyon until you reach the first recall point. The following recalls are getting bigger and bigger until you attain the final recall and reach the Verdon with its turquoise water.
The second part of the swim is so beautiful and it is never tiring to walk along! Again, we draw your attention to the water levels. Indeed, we will exclude Tuesdays and Fridays because then, the flow of Verdon makes the last part so challenging!
In short, there is a moderate version and a more competitive version, and it depends on the water releases.
Reaching the marble hallway is one of my favorite moments! It’s exactly one of the most beautiful places in the Verdon!
The Styx and Imbut aquatic hike (so-called floating)
An absolutely great course! Plan a full day and a difficult climb on foot at the end of the day. This aquatic hike follows the path of the Imbut trail, but it is performed in water. Depart from the Maline chalet along the Martel path until the Estellié. Take the footbridge, which crosses the Estellié; then, avoid the rapids, which is just under the bridge. We will reach the water at about 200 meters downstream. The first part will make it possible to discover the Styx.
Swimming in the secondary canyon of Styx is a great experience! Depending on the water level, your guide will take you through the Styx cave (see the movie Verdon Secret).
Crossing the block chaos of Imbut
Further ahead awaits you the most grandiose moment with the crossing of the Imbut. Indeed, you will dive as you enter the chaos of blocks and let you drag in the darkness. Soon enough, you will realize that you are swimming in a rock cathedral! The basins of the Imbut are much more lenient than we imagine. It is still a moment of anxiety when you jump in the Verdon to disappear into the Imbut!
A little further after crossing three consecutive basins, you climb a big pebble to jump into the basin of the “Baou Benit”.
Remember Alfred Martel
Remember that the explorer Edouard Alfred Martel did not dare to cross the Imbut in 1905. You will understand why! The first crossing of these places was made possible thanks to a disciple of Martel, and it only took place in 1927. Since then, we have known that it is easy!
As Marcel Pagnol wrote: “Everyone had known it was impossible. Then, one day, a fool who did not know appeared and he did it!
Would you like to venture without a guide? What precautions to take?
If you wish to go canyoneering without a guide, here is some advice you should know.
Firstly, leaving without a guide requires the right equipment. Neoprene suit, special shoes, a rope, a knife, a backpack with an air pocket.
Secondly, it is necessary to have a “descriptive topography” of the canyon. You should also get further information from local professionals on the water releases from the dam.
Third tip: storm hazard. More serious than any other problems, a storm in a canyon can be more dramatic. Thus, you should have some knowledge about the weather and about any available ways out of the canyon in case of emergency.
If you are not comfortable enough with those 3 pieces of advice, then undoubtedly, it is vital to hire a guide!
Hire a guide for canyoning and canyoneering in the Verdon Gorges
It is important to choose carefully your guides. Remember that not all guides are local. Therefore, we advise you to opt for experienced guides who have lived in the Verdon most of the time.
Des Guides pour l’aventure: undoubtedly, the most experienced
Les Verdoniens: one of the best canyon guides, who is also a guide trainer.
You can book online on this website, call us or see us at the Moustiers shop.