Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes is the top region in France when it comes to outdoor activities. The region’s exceptional natural beauty makes it a unique and original place to train, learn, recharge your batteries, get amazed and relax!
Flights over the Auvergne volcanoes, water activities in the great Alpine lakes, glacier hikes around Mont-Blanc, rafting in one of Europe’s last untamed rivers or underground adventures in the depths of the Vercors… With 20 000 km of horseback riding routes, nearly 500 canoeing and kayaking routes, more than 800 registered trails, adapted infrastructures and specialised professionals, the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region is a paradise for outdoor sports. A unique destination for experiencing new moments, discovering original activities and incredible spots in the heart of magnificent landscapes.
The great Alpine lakes: 4 must-see Stand Up Paddle (SUP) spots
Lake Geneva, Lake Annecy, Lake Bourget and Lake Aiguebelette offer the best conditions to make any paddle trip a unique experience! You will find beaches everywhere, clear, temperate waters and an incredible mountainous setting. Each of these lakes offers the perfect setting for a quiet, relaxing experience.
Whether it's a rental, a course, an introduction or an improvement, a supervised outing, yoga-paddle, all the options are available for a smooth ride: discovering the castle of Duingt from Lake Annecy, Hautecombe Abbey on the shores of Lake Bourget, the resort of Thonon-les-Bains on the shores of Lake Geneva, or enjoying the calm waters of Lake Aiguebelette.
Canoeing down the Ardèche gorges
Canoeing through the Ardèche gorges is a sporty and fun way to get to the heart of a magnificent reserve classified as a Grand Site de France. Canoeing down this deep canyon, famous for its breathtaking and impressive scenery, is a great way to experience nature and the thrill of it.
A one-day escape (7 hours of canoeing) or a two-day adventure with an overnight stay in a bivouac, either on your own or with a nature guide, the options are endless. The trip starts near Vallon-Pont-d'Arc, a great opportunity to admire the natural arch that goes over the Ardèche at a height of more than 50 m. The route goes on for 32 km to Saint-Martin d'Ardèche. On the menu: sliding, going through rapids, swimming breaks, observation of the fauna and flora, picnics on the banks...
Running trail on the ridges of the Cantal volcanoes
The Puy Mary Trail - Volcan du Cantal area is located in the heart of the largest volcano in Europe. This abundant natural heritage, classified as a major site in France, is the perfect training ground for trail runners. There are 24 routes, 8 starting points, a total of 80 km to be completed over a number of stages, sometimes with steep gradients, and with a variety of difficulties, this area is full of resources. Offering a challenge, variety and adventure, it provides a range of sporting discoveries in an exceptional setting.
The variety of landscapes constantly grabs your attention. Across mountain pastures, along ridge paths, up summits, along forest or valley paths: the diverse topography sets the pace for the race.
Paragliding over the volcanoes
Getting up high to appreciate the immensity of the landscapes and the singularity of the volcanic reliefs is not just a dream. Paragliding over volcanoes is an exceptional experience that many people can enjoy.
Advanced flights or tandem paragliding (with a qualified instructor), allow you to get as close as possible to the volcanoes of the Chaîne des Puys and its highest point, the puy de Dôme, classified as a Major Site in France. Depending on the weather, the take-off directions at the top of the puy de Dôme may vary, as may the flight times and the show.
Alpine hiking on glaciers
The large number of glaciers and peaks in the Alps makes it an ideal setting for glacier trekking. Even though the high altitude environment fosters a taste for the extreme and the grandiose, it is nonetheless accessible to all. Many activities combining sports, education and discovery are offered from mid-June to September to explore this world of rock and ice.
Everyone can learn how to climb roped up with a mountain guide, using crampons, ice axe and harness; reach the Mer de Glace from Chamonix via the Montenvers train and opt for an introduction to the most famous glacier in the Alps. A truly spectacular day that leads to the Moulin, a very surprising ice canyon.
There are hikes in all the mountains, such as the Glacier Blanc in the Ecrins National Park. Located in the heart of the Vanoise Park, this trip lasting several days between glaciers and mountain pastures will delight the most experienced.
Underground exploration in the Vercors
With more than 3 000 registered sites, the Vercors is the destination of choice for all speleologists - a place of enthusiasts where new caves are discovered every year. The geological resources of the area are of great scientific interest and offer an exceptional setting for this activity dedicated to the underground world, both in terms of sport and tourism.
Sites are chosen according to your level: initiation caves such as the Grotte des Eymards or exploration pits such as La Luire, Les Chuas or the Gouffre Berger, which is one of the deepest French caves. The world record depth of 1 122 m was reached in 1956!
The incredible diversity of caves, pits, underground rivers and galleries attracts the more experienced, but is also an ideal environment for a first expedition underground.
Rafting in the Allier gorges
The Allier is still a wild river, with a very well preserved environment. The Atlantic salmon is no exception, as it swims upstream to take refuge during the spawning season. Steep-sided gorges, volcanic rocks, dense vegetation and rushing waters - the conditions here are ideal for rafting.
Monistrol-d'Allier, south of Langeac, is considered the best whitewater spot in the Auvergne (Class III - IV). This is the start of sporty and lively rafting, where whirlpools, eddies and speed are the source of many sensations. These adventures in the pure and turbulent waters of the Allier River, from April to mid-October, are an opportunity to immerse yourself in a natural environment away from the roads and to discover landscapes only accessible by water.
Trail running in the mountains of the Ain
The Ain and the Bugey, a paradise for running in the middle of nature! Easy, medium or difficult, between lakes, ridges and forests, the trails of the Haut-Bugey trail station have something for everyone. Appropriate for all types of riders, they vary in length, altitude, terrain and landscape.
Whether it's a 45-minute flat tour of Lake Nantua, a 7-hour loop through the Haut-Bugey via Lake Genin, a demanding route on the Balcons du Lac de Nantua with a total of 1 278 m of positive altitude difference, or the highly technical Tour du Plateau, which covers more than 30 km, the experiences are intense and varied.
An exceptional night in a Portaledge in Isère
The portaledge is for adventurers in search of new sensations and unusual experiences. Sleeping over an abyss! This new bivouac formula is the very best way to enjoy a unique stay.
You don't get to spend the night on a cliff in a bed right on the wall every day. That you can fully experience a night in the mountains and stargaze. Neither is it everywhere, but only 30 km from Grenoble, in Chamrousse, at the top of the Belledone massif. A unique and unforgettable stopover for an ever closer experience of nature organised by the mountain guides of Chamrousse.
Canyoning and Via ferrata
There is no lack of activities for thrill-seekers. Canyoning and Via Ferrata spots are available throughout the region. These sporty, safe and professionally supervised activities provide plenty of reasons to discover the region in a different way, from passion to thrills, from adventure to nature.
Whether it is swimming, jumping, sliding down natural slides or abseiling and climbing, the canyoning experience is always an exciting and spectacular activity. This is demonstrated by the sites around Lake Annecy, such as the famous Devil's Bridge trail. This canyon carved out of the Bauges mountains features some impressive challenges. The Furon Canyon in the Vercors, with jumps of up to 9 m and a zip line, is not to be missed either!
Halfway between climbing, accrobranche and hiking, the Via ferrata allows you to move forward using specially adapted walls. These mountain paths lead to splendid panoramic views, giving each site its own unique appeal. A good example is the belvedere at Lake Bourget, a via ferrata for beginners. The Bastille trail in Grenoble is a unique combination of a sporting experience and a breathtaking views, in an urban environment!