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Rafting down the Durance and crossing the Rabioux wave


Take on the rapids, howl with joy at the deafening roar of the waves, or glide downstream to contemplate nature. Rafting down the Durance is the promise of a complete break in the heart of the Hautes-Alpes wilderness, a great bowl of thrills and a refreshing swim.



Water baptism


The heat is stifling in the early afternoon. It's the perfect time to cool off in the raging waters of the Durance with a good rafting session. As soon as you arrive at the base, you meet Miguel, your guide for this descent. He'll equip you with life jackets, helmets, paddles and wetsuits, of course. Fed by the glaciers of the Écrins massif, the water remains cool even in summer.


You'll board the shuttle to reach the starting point of the 17km long, tumultuous and invigorating descent of the Durance. It's almost time for the start. Miguel takes advantage of these last moments to give a technical and safety briefing. Positions, maneuvers, instructions to follow, how currents and rapids work. Concentration rises a notch, as does impatience and excitement.

Find out more  

Rafting is a highly entertaining water activity that lets you discover natural and unusual places that are little-known in our valleys. The Durance is a fairly easy river. Perfect for a family rafting adventure. A number of class II and III rapids (on a V scale) give you plenty of thrills along the way. For more technical and athletic descents, head for the Ubaye, the other tributary of Lac de Serre-Ponçon.


Diving into the deep end


The descent begins gently, with the raft gliding along with the water and the current. A few small waves allow us to discover our first sensations and the workings of the boat. Miguel is at the stern, taking the helm, steering and giving instructions.


You soon realize that the coordination of the entire crew is crucial to controlling the raft. Soon all the members of the boat are in tune and paddling in unison. The first rapid is already ahead of you.


The cold shower


The current increases, the raft speeds up, the river roars, you can hardly hear each other. The raft glides like a toboggan, bouncing on the waves until it hits one head-on. An explosion of fresh water covers your face.


With just enough time to catch your breath, you have to position your paddles to steer the raft as best you can, as it glides between waves and rocks like a ball in a pinball machine. The action is total, the adrenalin soaring.


Rafting to the rhythm of the water


You leave the rapid and all suddenly becomes calm. The boat glides calmly along as you recount the sensations experienced with the rest of the crew.


Miguel takes advantage of this calm to go over the rapids again. Everything is clearer now that you've had a chance to try it out. Good, because a new obstacle is looming in the distance. It's time to take on the Rabioux wave.

rafting in Serre-Ponçon

Throwing yourself into the lion's den


There are people on the beach in the distance and the roar of the water is making a comeback. Something is brewing... The raft picks up speed, the foam becomes more present as you plunge towards a great white curtain. Many shouts escape from the boat. Is it excitement? Is it fear? Probably a mixture of both...


The water gushes back onto the raft. Black screen! When you open your eyes again, everyone is soaked. The wave holds the boat for a few seconds. You have to paddle together to get out. Miguel tacked immediately to leave the current and stop for a few seconds to catch his breath. You head back upstream to the wave and ride it statically. You have to paddle hard to stay on it. After a few seconds, the wave ejects you again... What a great feeling.


Vary your pleasures


The descent continues. A new calm zone invites you to contemplate. The sun warms your skin as it gives the river a golden hue. The lapping and relaxing movement of the water could almost lull you to sleep.


You reach a small secret beach bordered by a beautiful cliff. A path leads to the top of the cliff, where you can jump several meters into the river. On the other bank, an eagle soars...

rafting in Serre-Ponçon

Like a fish in water


Back on the river, you head for the end of the course and the Pont de Fer rapids. You come across other river enthusiasts. Here a fisherman on the banks, there hydrospeed swimmers. Why not give it a try next time?


 Practical info  

Discover rafting? It couldn't be easier! All you need to know is how to swim, and it's accessible from the age of 6. All you need is an old pair of sneakers, a swimsuit and a change of clothes. Everything else will be provided by your guide.


Want to conquer our rivers? Discover all our whitewater providers below.

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