If you’re looking for some thrilling experience in a natural and preserved area, come and practice rock climbing, caving or speleology in Gorges de l’Ardèche !
On the heights: rock and treetop climbing
Rock climbing is possible on gigantic walls in the heart of the Gorges de l’Ardèche. The nature reserve is supervised by official guards, it is necessary to enquire about the regulation before climbing.
About 40 climbing routes are listed, including the « Ranc Pointu » site or the cliffs of Saint-Marcel-d’Ardèche (close to the so-called cave). With some luck climbers can catch sight of vultures or short-toed snake eagles very closely.
Other magnificent routes are to discover: Sainte Beaume and Conche in Saint- Montan and the Rimouren site hidden in a valley that shelters the stream of the same name.
Treetop adventure parks for families or groups offer an unforgettable memory. Green, blue, red or black course, everyone can participate ! For beginners it is not always easy to face these heights, to climb to the top of oaks or pines… But what a thrill to ride zip lines crossing sometimes the Ardèche River or canyons !
Underground: ideal spots for speleology
Its geological specificities make Southern Ardèche an exceptional playground for speleologists. Qualified guides share their passion for the underground world offering tours even for beginners and children. Among the most important spots, the cave of Saint-Marcel is explored since the 19th century. Its natural entrance forms an underground tunnel in which one can walk without difficulty. It extends as far as the eye can see, under the scenic road of the Ardèche Gorge and gives access to the largest underground network of the Ardèche region (57 km known at present). Other guided caving experiences are also possible at Aven d’Orgnac, Grotte de la Salamandre or in secluded sites known only by insiders.
The ultimate caving experience
Oversuits and helmets are of rigor to…. light up the darkness in Saint-Marcel cave ! You will see small bats hanging upside down from high walls. At the end of the tunnel, a ladder more than 15 m high leans against a wall, you will have to go up.
At this point, even the less reckless ones take a deep breath. One after another, you attach yourself to safety gear and climb. At the top, the real adventure begins! You must be up to it, sneaking between narrow walls, advancing on rocks and slippery clay. Disconnected from the world, you move on, amazed by stalactites and stalagmites shaped drop by drop over time. Out of surprise, a zip line crosses one of the big halls. Midway, a break. The headlamps go out for a few minutes and let you feel the immensity of the underground world, its invading calm and deep darkness that can not be found elsewhere. No noise, no sound, no source of light. Disturbing. Enjoy and share this privileged moment providing a pristine condition.
Whatever the course level you may choose, at the end of one or more hours you return to the outside world with the conviction to have been away for only a
few moments. …