Where can you go canyoning in the Basque Country?

Looking for some thrills to spice up your camping in the Basque Country ? The Pyrénées-Atlantiques region abounds in rivers, gorges and canyons ideal for canyoning. Here’s a roundup of the best places to try your hand at canyoning during the vacations.

But what exactly is canyoning?

Take advantage of your camping vacation to discover canyoning in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques! Halfway between caving, hiking, climbing and swimming, canyoning is an outdoor activity accessible to all, from the age of 10.

An adventure sport par excellence, canyoning consists in descending a river without a boat, crossing ravines, gorges and torrents by various means: walking, swimming, jumping, sliding down natural slides, abseiling, etc.

Come and experience the thrill of abseiling in the Basque Country! All you need to do is know how to swim and be in good physical condition. Supervised by a state-certified instructor, you’ll be equipped with a wetsuit, helmet, neoprene socks and a harness for abseiling.

Experienced canyoning enthusiasts can discover some of France’s most beautiful descents and canyons that are both sporty, technical and wild.

The Pas de Roland gorges (Itxassou)

Just 10 minutes from Le Biper Gorri campsite, try your hand at canyoning at Itxassou, at the source of the Nive, the Basque country‘s emblematic river. In the heart of the Pas de Roland gorges, discover aquarando, a softer version of canyoning. On the program: small jumps (up to 7 m for the most daring), waterfalls, rapids and natural slides. With no harness or rope, you’ll be free to move about as you please.

  • Technicity: beginner or discovery level (ideal for families with children)
  • When to use: May to June and September to November
  • Where: Itxassou (6 km from the campsite)

Les Gorges du Chapitel (Arneguy)

Near Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, the Chapitel canyon is a fun introductory canyon, ideal for a first approach to the activity with children. There’s plenty of jumping to be done, with a few jumps of up to 6 m, as well as natural slides and abseiling (some of it really fun). Highlights: a 10-metre abseil under a small waterfall and a superb slide with integrated springboard at the end of the canyon! And to make matters worse, the scenery is truly magnificent.

  • Technicality: easy (family initiation)
  • When to use: April to June
  • Where: Arneguy (45 km from the campsite)

Althagneta Canyon (Kakuetta Gorge)

Located in the commune of Sainte-Engrâce, at the southern end of the Soule valley, the Althagneta canyon is for experts only. Immersed in the wilderness, the first section is not very steep, followed by a more vertical section in the middle of a cirque, which marks the start of the Kakuetta gorges. A succession of abseils and descents in an idyllic setting. The highest waterfall is 35 metres high!

  • Technical features: difficult – very sporty canyoning (with a minimum of water)
  • When to use: May to June and September to November
  • Where: Sainte-Engrâce (95 km from the campsite)

Errekaltia Canyon (Kakuetta Gorge)

Near the village of Sainte-Engrâcethe canyon of Errekaltia – Canyon du Gendarme – is a tributary of the gorges de Kakuetta. This vertical canyon, Althagneta’s little brother, offers a succession of waterfalls in an idyllic setting (ochre rock and lush vegetation) that flow into the gorges of Kakuetta. The abseiling descents follow one another at a steady pace.

  • Technicality: medium – sport canyoning
  • When to practice: all year round
  • Where: Sainte-Engrâce (95 km from the campsite)

Harzubia Canyon (Kakuetta Gorge)

Harzubia is the only large canyon in the Basque Country that is suitable for beginners. Perfect for learning abseiling techniques! Also located in Sainte-Engrâce, this very pretty Basque canyon is fun in a wild setting and offers a lovely run, with a fairly large number of abseils (more than twenty) and refreshing pools. The route alternates between relatively narrow, steep areas and parts that are more like descending a ravine. Ideal for gaining independence and confidence.

  • Technicality: easy (initiation)
  • When to use: March/June to November
  • Where: Sainte-Engrâce (95 km from the campsite)


  • Instructor-led outings from €35 / half-day.
  • Minors must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask the professionals for advice on an outing suited to your level.
  • Equipment to bring: swimsuit, sports shoes and waterproof backpack (water bottle and picnic).