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In the Verdon Park, the canoe & paddle activities take place exclusively in calm water.
White water sports must be done under the supervision of professionals, as we remind you on our page dedicated to the "Fragile natural areas of our territory"...
However, if you come on vacation in the Verdon with your own boat, there are different options available to you! → Follow this "small guide to the main launching points for canoes or kayaks"! ►
[Crédit photo : ©Parc naturel régional du Verdon]
1 • Sainte-Croix lake
The largest emerald colored lake of the Verdon is authorized for autonomous navigation ! This being said, 3 specific spots can be highlighted ; they will make it easier for you to launch your boat and constitute superb starting points to take advantage of the most beautiful viewpoints that the lake of Sainte-Croix can offer... :
→ Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon and Salles-sur-Verdon villages
→ Pont du Galetas. Without any doubt the most essential spot of the Verdon's launching !... From this point, located at the border between our village (Moustiers-Sainte-Marie) and Aiguines where the Verdon river flows into the Sainte-Croix lake, it is indeed possible to enter the Verdon gorges on ~1,5km to fully enjoy this majestic site from its river course !
⚠️ NOTE: it is forbidden to cross the buoys marking the beginning of the forbidden navigation zone of the Saint-Maurin regional natural reserve
2 • Baudinard Gorges
For this sector located downstream of the lake of Sainte-Croix, 2 launching spots can be highlighted: the lake of Montpezat and the lake of Artignosc (sometimes named "lake of Saint-Laurent-du-Verdon"). These gorges, less grandiose than those of the Grand Canyon du Verdon, are much more narrow and thus offer to the canoeists & kayakers a great proximity with its multitude of charming small waterfalls and its almost luxuriant vegetation...
⚠️ NOTE: due to the release of water from the Sainte-Croix dam, the water is very cold in this area, even in July and August (the water released comes from the bottom of the lake, not from the surface, which explains its low temperature!). For this reason, swimming is forbidden in the gorges of Baudinard. That is to say on all the sector going from the lake of Sainte-Croix to the dam of Quinson.
+ A part of the gorges of Baudinard is forbidden to the paddles → between Montpezat and the dam of Sainte-Croix !
++ Beware of water level variations due to releases. Because of these releases, the current in the gorges can be important, and even very important (!). You will have to ‘paddle hard’ to go forward if you go against the course of the Verdon!
3 • The low Verdon : Quinson ↔ lac d'Esparron
For the small ten kilometers of navigation that the sector allows there are 3 "easy" spots : Quinson’s Lake : just before the small bridge on the D13, a few meters from the inevitable Museum of Prehistory of the Gorges du Verdon. The village of Esparron-de-Verdon, which gave its name to the most famous lake of the lower Verdon. The beach of Saint-Julien, which you will access from the village of Gréoux-les-Bains, and not from Saint-Julien-le-Montagnier...
4 • Castillon Lake
You wish to paddle freely in a "mountain atmosphere" on the Middle-Verdon ? Castillon will fully correspond to the environment you are looking for. It is situated between the charming villages of Saint-Julien-du-Verdon and Saint-André-les-Alpes, an altitude of about 900 meters ! These two villages are moreover the 2 most "obvious" spots for this sector located upstream of the Verdon gorges...
&... Last spot where canoeing is possible in the Verdon Regional Natural Park : the lake of Chaudanne. Located not far from Castellane, it is of a much more modest size than he lake of Castillon. Surrounded by limestone cliffs making some parts of the banks very steep, it offers nevertheless a wilder atmosphere!
⚠️ NOTE : Because of the "wild" side of the lake of Chaudanne, it is advised to park along the road D102, where it leaves the banks of the lake to take the direction of the village of Demandolx.
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