A Guide to Drôme River Day Trips
The Drôme Valley
The Drôme Valley is one of the most beautiful and unquestionably unique places in the world that you will be able to visit during your stay at Campsite Les Batets. As the last dam-free river in Europe, the sparkling waters of the Drôme River, and her fast-flowing tributaries, are sure to capture the heart of any adventurer.
Yet, the picturesque banks of the river are also perfect spots for relaxing picnics, walks on its sandy banks, and plenty of other activities on sites and stops along this gorgeous geographical feature within the regional national park of Vercors.
As a recognized national jewel and thanks to a lack of industrial or commercial developments in the area, the waters of the Drôme River have actually improved in the last 15 years. You can navigate more than 60% of its length and swim more than 80% of its waters.
The beautiful landscapes, with their great limestone cliffs, wild and untamed rapids, and incredible displays of lush greenery are sure to make their mark on your trip.
What You Need to Know About the Drôme River
The majestic Drôme River runs for about 130 kilometers and has a drainage basin with an area of 1,663 square kilometers. It begins in the western foothills of the Alps, in the Col de Carabès at an altitude of about 1,033 meters.
This vast-flowing river criss-crosses two departments and 37 communes, including Luc-en Diois, Acouste-sur-Sye, Valdrôme, Saillans, Allex, Crest, and Livron-sur-Drôme. At the end of its journey, it meets with the Rhône river in the commune of Loriol-sur-Drôme.
Its sheer size and length means that the Drôme has multiple offshoots that you can also visit. Its main (and best-known) tributaries are:
This is the left-side tributary of the Drôme and runs for 33.9 kilometers. Its confluence point near Vercheny, just 10 kilometers above Saillans. To access this gorgeous, class 2/3 river, take the Espenel Bridge (follow the directions to St-Nazaire-le-Desert).
Another scenic tributary just waiting for you to explore is a right-side tributary that runs for 25.4 kilometers. Located near Chatillon-en-Diois, it’s perfect for those who love paddling class 3 rivers. There are also quite a few hikes that will take you to clandestine waterfalls and relaxing pools.
At 29.9 kilometers long, the Gervanne is the largest right-side tributary of the Drôme river. Its confluence with the Drôme starts at 5 kilometers above Crest, at Mirabel-et-Blacons. It’s a tricky tributary that is only runnable in the spring and fall, after a heavy rainstorm. However, there are quite a few waterfalls along the route and it tapers out into a class 2/3 river.
Jump Into These Aquatic Drôme River Activities
No matter which point you’re cruising along the Drôme river’s course, there’s a wide range of water-based activities you can take part in. Experienced kayakers and rapids rafters will love paddling their way across the various tributaries. There are quite a few waterfall spots and nearby hikes, so you can portage if that’s what you love.
There are also lots of smaller pools that attract families who want to go swimming in the cool waters while relaxing in the sun for the day. Children have a blast collecting rocks and exploring little wading pools. And, of course, the river and its tributaries are prime spots for those who love to fish. Bez, in particular, has a “no kill” fishing trail at Châtillon-en-Diois, and you can try your hand at catching minnows, carps, pikes, and perches.
Sites to See Along the Drôme River
As you tour the entirety of the Drôme river, make sure to check out a few unmissable spots:
The Saou Forest is an absolutely unforgettable experience for lovers of nature. It sits surrounded by a massive wall of real limestone, completely shaped and carved by the currents of time. Besides the incredible trails and vast species of flora and fauna, make sure to visit The Auberge Des Dauphins, a palatial inn and party venue.
The Tower of Crest
For 900 years, this bastion has been guarding the entrance to the middle valley of the Drôme, overlooking its bright blue and green waters. At 52 meters in height, this is the tallest keep in all of France, and its stunning views of the snow-capped Vercors peaks is reason alone to hit those stairs.
If you’ve never been to a true “medieval” town, you’re in for a real treat. Miramande was ranked as one of the most beautiful villages in France, and, even today, its winding streets look like something out of a painting. There are plenty of artisans’ workshops and craftsmen’s houses still alive today, along with the charming Church of Sainte Foy at the very top of the village.