From Sampzon to Chames

Distance : 12 Km

Time to paddle : about 3h30.

Recommended time : 5h00.

Meetinig point : Vallon Pont d’Arc.

Departure time : 9 am, 10:30 am, 12;00, 1:30pm

Difficulties : 4 slide channels, 5 rapids (including the Charlemagne, class III).

Start : Sampzon (6 km from Vallon Pont d’Arc).

Arrival : Chames (the last possible stop before the Natural Reserve « Gorges de l’Ardèche).

Important : please, be present at the meeting point a half-hour before the departure time. So you are going to have enough of time for all the preparations before taking a shuttle.

A kayker passes by a slide schannel

A descent with a slow increasing difficulty level

This is a nice trip with a gradually increasing difficulties. The Ardeche is gentle in the first half of the descend and the only difficulties are some slide channels which let you to pass the dams. Then you are going to see the first cliffs of the Ardeche Canyon. And the first rapids… After the overcoming the most difficult one, the Charlemagne, you pass through the gorgeous Pont d’Arc. This course in neither too long nor too short – ideal for the beginners and for the families.

Le pont d'Arc véritable porte d'éntrée des Gorges de l'Ardèche
Admire the beauty of the Pont d'Arc
Carte de la descente de 12km de Sampzon à Chames, au départ de Vallon Pont d'Arc.

Discription :

This course starts few kilometers above Vallon Pont d’Arc and finishes right before entry into the Natural Reserve. It lets you to see some very different parts of the river during one quite short descent.

This pleasant descent is ideal for a family with young children.  

There are no majour rapids in the first part of the course, only some slides. It allows you to take control of your boat before the difficulties of the second part.

From Vallon Pont d’Arc the rapids are on progressive difficulties. 

And in the end of the descent you are goint to get a wonderful experience: to overcome the Charlemagne and to pass through the Pont d’Arc. 

Our opinion :

This is a perfect descent for families. You can go slowly and to stop frequently for swiming. 

We advise you to start in the morning. You can keep your canoe/kayak all the day and to enjoy the river. 

Don’t forget :

Take shoes that are good for you feet and protect them, such as sneakers or water shoes (no flip-flops).

Wear an adequate and adapted to the weather clothers: cap, windbreaker, T-short, long shorts that effectiverly protects the thighs from sunburn.

Provide sufficient quantity of drinking water.

The regulatory imperatives:

Each participant must know how to swim; each participant must wear a lifejackets at all times.

Children ( under 18 y.o.) can not participate alone, they must be accompanied by an responsible adult. 

Prohibition of rental with childen under 7 y.o. Interdiction de la location avec des enfants de moins de sept ans.


Canoe Kayak rent is prohibited if the water level is too high.

In case of prohibition of rent due to a water lever too important, you will be (accroding to your choice) either refunded or postponed to a date that suits you.

Your renter in Vallon Pont d'Arc : Loulou Bateaux

Passage de la première Armée, 07150 Vallon Pont d’Arc.   GPS : 44°23’51.3″N 4°23’20.0″E