10 Summer Adrenalin Fixes in Isère

If you like your summer holidays as active as your winter ski trips, here are some mountain ideas for when travel opens up.

The French mountain region of Isère is home to the 23 ski resorts, including Alpe d’Huez and Les 2 Alpes.

In summer, there is a host of high-adrenalin activities to enjoy.

1. Caving for Beginners, Chartreuse – Vercors

There are numerous undergroun cave systems throughout the Vercors, the Chartreuse and around Grenoble.

The Grotte du Curé in the Chartreuse is good for beginners with water-filled spaces, large chambers and narrow passages to crawl through.

The Grotte de Roche along the Bourne river in Vercors is ideal for families.  It is easy to access and has stalactites, stalagmites and large galleries.

Caving in Isere – Photo David Boudin


2. Canyoning, Chartreuse-Vercors-Oisans

There are deep gorges with waterfalls throughout Isère where you can slide and jump through the water and abseil down rock faces.

The most well-know canyons are Ecouges in Vercors, Versoud and Sassenage near Grenoble, and Grenant and Infernet in Chartreuse.

Alloix Canyon in the Grésivaudan Valley is one of the most pictureque.

It’s best to book a certified guide to make it safe and fun for everyone.

3. Via Ferrata, Vercors

Part hike and part climb, via ferrata makes a sheer rock face accessible using steel cables, rungs or ladders.

The sport  requires little expertise although a guide is recommended. 

There are nearly 70 routes in France, with many of these in  Isère.

Grenoble has the only urban via ferrata in France. La Prise La Bastille provides a panoramic view of the valley and  the Alpine ranges beyond.

Roche Veyrand in the Chartreuse  National Park is by far the favourite in Isère and considered  the most beautiful for the views with cliffs rising to 1,429 m  overlooking the valley of St Pierre d’Entremont.

Via Ferrata, Chamrousse, Isere – photo Images & Reves

4. Paragliding or Ultralight, Aspres sur Buech

Saint Hilaire du Touvet is the village which hosts the Icarus Cup every year. Here, paragliding is an institution.

Choose from a simple flight or a 15-minute discovery flight.

New in 2021: Fly over the Ecrins National Park and the North face of the Meije from Mens in Trièves, in a glider, a microlight or a plane.

Paragliding, Villard-de-Lans, Vercors, Isere – photo Jean-Michel Hytte


5. Rock Climbing, Oisans

Between the limestone cliffs of Chartreuse and Vercors, and the granite of Oisans, Isère’s rock faces are the perfect playground for climbers.

Alpe d’Huez has recently set up 130 west-facing pitches with fixed protection on 2 sites: Les Rochers des Plates, a beginners’ site, and La Falaise du Lac Besson, for climbers graded between V and VI with fairly steep slabs.

Rock climbing, Vercors, Isere – photo David Boudin


6. Bungee Jumping from the Ponsonnas Bridge, Gresse-en-Vercors

One of the highest active bungee jumping sites in Europe, the Ponsonnas Bridge at 103m is one of the main centres in France for the sport.

More than 100,000 have jumped here in the past 30 years.

It’s open at weekends (May, June, Sept, Oct) and daily during the summer (weather permitting).

Bungee, Pont de Ponsonnas – photo Vertige 38


7. Freefall Parachute, Isère

Skydive in tandem over the mountains at an altitude of 4,000m above the Vercors, Chartreuse, Taillefer and Belledonne mountains.

The experience involves a 50-second freefall before the chute opens for a 5-minute flight in the skies above the Alps.


8. Ziplining, Mountain Karting, Speedsledding, Isère

Mountain Karting in a three-wheeled kart without a motor in Villard-de-Lans is new for this summer. The trail is 4km with a 500m vertical gradient.

You can reach speeds of up to 70km/h on Zipline Vercors in Autrans-Meaudre, a 1,250m giant zip line with a 250 m vertical drop.

Also in Autrans, Speed Luge Vercors is the first four-season sled in Isère. The downhill track starts from the top of the Claret for 135 m of vertical gradient. The sled sits on rails 5 metres above the ground and reaches up to 40 km/h taking 6 minutes from top to bottom.

Its twin in Belledonne is the four-season Wiz Luge in Les 7 Laux. This 723-m-long rail slide has gradients up to 30% with 12 turns, 2 jumps, 2 chicanes and 2 rollers.




9. Trail Running, Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse

Trail running, Lans-en-Vercors, Isere – photo David Boudin

Trail running is becoming increasingly popular with routes and races throughout Isère’s mountain ranges.

Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse was the pilot venue for the concept of “Outdoor Experiences by Group Rossignol” with a reception office and digital screens displaying the area’s trail running routes.

Anyone who wants to give the sport a go can test out the latest trail running equipment for free, and the village supplies showers, changing rooms, fitness studios and a treadmill.


10.Whitewater Sports, Isère

The Vénéon river in the Ecrins National Park is the best whitewater spot in Isère.

From April, Vénéon Eaux Vives offers white-water rafting,hot dogging (canoe rafting), kayaking and hydrospeed, also known as water luge or wild water swimming. You simply throw yourself into the chilly waters equipped only with a hydrospeed water sled, fins and a wetsuit.

Whitewater rafting in Isere – photo Images & Reves


More information on the Isère region

All photographs courtesy of Isère Tourism.