A canyon is a narrow gorge cut into natural rock by a flowing river. Canyoning typically includes a variety of waterfalls, pools and natural waterslides. Canyoning is the recreational sport of descending narrow canyons on foot. Using a variety of techniques, canyoners descend these passage ways of rock and water with the aim getting all the way down to the exit when the gorge opens up again. It’s an adrenaline-filled and action-packed adventure, with options for all levels of ability and experience. Adventurers will descend the exposed rock, abseil down flowing waterfalls, jump from ledges into natural pools and slide down natural waterslides. A special experience that will take you to the heart of stunning natural landscapes, canyons are rarely visited – so you will be exploring the mountain like never before, from a unique point of view.
Here at ZigZag we typically organise beginner level outings in a fabulous canyon called “La Balme”. Participants meet their Guide in the parking lot in front of the church at Arâches-La-frasse (20 mins drive from Samoëns – a map is provided). From there it is an extra 5 minutes drive to arrive to the departure point. Once you arrived at the departure, your Guide will give you all the equipment necessary (wet suits, socks, helmets, harness). You’ll suit up with your Guide’s help, then then you’re ready to get started!
Beware – some companies offer a cheap “canyoning” option in Samoens’ Clévieux stream. Our Guides esteem that this stream is not a canyon and therefore doesn’t offer a genuine canyoning experience, as there are no significant waterfalls or natural waterslides. While you can descend this river on foot, the descent could be called “aquatic hiking” rather than canyoning, and is really only adapted to young children.
Canyon La Balme
– Height of departure : 700m
– Vertical drop : 180m
– Length : 1000 m
– Height of the biggest waterfall : 25m
There are two options for canyoning in la Balme : a full descent from top to bottom, or the child-friendly “Little La Balme”.
Little La Balme is suitable for adults and children from 8 years of age. You will go down lots of natural waterslides, practise your jumping skills and even learn how to abseil down a boulder ! And once you arrive at the bottom, you have the choice of repeating the last section as many times as you’d like !
La Balme Integral is the full canyon and is suitable for adults and children from 12 years of age. This descent starts higher than Little La Balme – essentially adding a steeper section at the top that is a bit more challenging. You will abseil down 5m, 11m and even the 25m high waterfalls with your Guide’s help. It is an amazing sensation rappeling down a waterfall with the water falling on your head ! No experience is necessary – you just need to be able to swim and to follow instructions from one of ZigZag’s English speaking Guides.
Anyone from age 8 years of age can try canyoning ! It’s great fun and doesn’t require any technical expertise (as long as you’re in the company of a qualified Guide). Indeed, thanks to his technical knowledge and his expertise of the river you will be following, a canyoning Guide is equipped to teach you what to do and keep you safe, enabling you to enjoy the experience from start to finish.
Our experienced canyoning Guides are keen on sharing their passion with you, and they will make sure you have great fun descending the river while enjoying the beautiful views the canyon has to offer. All our Guides are fully certified so you can rest assured that you’re in the best of hands.
To book your next canyoning experience in Samoens simply contact us at the ZigZag booking office by telephone on +33631204410 or via the button below.
This page is also available in: French