Top 10 rivers in Pays des Ecrins

Published on 30 June 2020

1) Gyronde (P1), from Vallouise to Les Vigneaux

At the junction of Onde and Gyr is Gyronde created, and its waters tracing the valley of Vallouise. A track classed III/IV, with a few rapids in the beginning. The summit of La Blanche behind and the mounts of Queyras in front offer a very rich panorama. Just pay attention at the pumping station at the exit of Vallouise

2) Gyronde (P2), from Les Vigneaux to l’Argentière

The second part of Gyronde is more sportive and dives into the gorges under La Bâtie des Vigneaux. Classed III/IV, this portion is more isolated than the first one, especially in the gorges, before the arrival in l’Argentière’s kayak stadium. The view opens itself quickly while arriving on l’Argentière, on the valley of Durance, bordered by Ecrins and Queyras.

La deuxième partie de la Gyronde est plus sportive et s’engouffre dans les gorges sous la Bâtie des Vigneaux. Classé III/IV, cette portion est plus isolée, notamment dans les gorges, avant l’arrivée dans le bassin de l’Argentière. La vue s’ouvre rapidement en arrivant sur l’Argentière, sur la vallée de la Durance, bordée entre le Queyras et les Écrins.

3) Kayak’s stadium of l’Argentière

This stadium, located on the natural flow of Durance and artificially riprapped, is a perfect practice spot for confirmed kayakers. It can be practiced from spring to autumn, this stadium offers privileged surroundings for training and improvement.

Ce stade, situé sur le cours naturel de la Durance et enroché artificiellement, est un lieu de pratique de rêve pour les kayakistes confirmés. Utilisable du printemps à l’automne, ce stade offre un cadre privilégié pour l’entraînement et le perfectionnement.

4) Gyr, from Pelvoux to Vallouise

A very sportive and demanding river, that will enjoy the most audacious of you. Classed IV/V, Gyr is all what a river in mountains has to be: rapid, powerful, cold and without any pause, but it is terribly satisfying to end it up. Landing is compulsory while arriving in Vallouise

Une rivière extrêmement sportive et exigeante, qui fera le bonheur des plus téméraires d’entre vous. Classé IV/V, le Gyr est tout ce qu’un rivière de haute-montagne doit être : rapide, puissant, froid et sans pause, mais il est terriblement satisfaisant d’en arriver à bout ! Descente obligatoire à l’arrivée dans Vallouise.

5) Durance (P5), from l’Argentière to La Roche-de-Rame

This portion on the emblematical Durance is a perfect initiation track for anyone who would like to discover kayaking in white water. This track completes perfectly the practice in the stadium of l’Argentière, on a track classed III, marked by only one rapid entering la Roche-de-Rame.

6) Durance (P6), from la Roche-de-Rame to Saint-Clément-sur-Durance

The track on Durance follows its route on another perfect initiation path for beginners, or for a nice ride with family or friends. Without any major risk, this tracked classed II is the perfect occasion to observe the Durance’s valley, arriving on Serre-Ponçon’s lake.


7) Onde, from Entre-Aigues to Vallouise

In this preserved glacial valley going from Entre-Aigues to Vallouise, Onde is running, cold and tumultuous. Easy to access, this river classed III/IV with a few sloping rapids doesn’t present any specific danger but offers a splendid view on Tête d’Amont. The arrival is next to Vallouise, at Gérondoine bridge.


8) Byaisse (P1), from Oules bridge to Freissinières

Little jewel preserved and hidden in the end of Freissinières’ valley, Biaysse is an exceptional river, narrow and technical, pretty intimate. The start is in a heavenly place that we have struggle to leave, if the call of river wasn’t that strong. This long track, between 2h30 and 4h, depending on path knowledge, is classed IV and marked by numerous rapids and small falls that will make happy the most expert of you.


9) Byaisse (P2) from Freissinières to Pallon

Way shorter than the first portion, this track only lasts around twenty minutes and is perfectly adapted to discover white water in high mountain. Classed II/III, the track is peacefully done looking at Queyras, in a superb alpine valley !


10) Durance (P4), from Prelles to l'Argentière

An unmissable in the region, a path through the mythical gorges of Durance. The gorges are engaged and narrow, classed III-IV. Despite a few times carrying the kayak, the last rapids are going one after another, for an unforgetable experience


11) Guisane, in Serre-Chevalier valley

Bonus gift: Two portions are possible on this emblematic river of the Serre-Chevalier valley, starting from Monêtier-les-Bains or Chantemerle. The first one, classed II/III is perfect to an initiation of alpine rivers, crossing several hamlets, calmly, except the first rapids adding some excitement to the track. The second path is more technical, classed III/IV, punctuated by a few rapids without any excessive difficulty.