A river of passions runs through the Valsesia Valley: The river sesia, emerging at its source at 4299m flows to the Po river, after having run through the entire province of Vercelli, collecting the waters of numerous torrents, big and small along the way.
A river that has acted as border in the Celtic era and that managed to pique the interest of Leonardo Da Vinci, who designed a series of canals for Count Ludovico Sforza. A river that today, ignites the passions of many sportsmen and women with an overwhelming passion for canoeing, rafting, and hydro-speed which pushes toward ever closer challenging and irresistible adventures with the natural living waters around us.
For these sports, the Sesia offers the best of itself in late Spring, from May to June, along the stretch from Campertogno to Varallo.
The tumultuous flow of the Sesia can be tackled in groups, with the fascinating and fun sport of rafting. Embarkation of the raft is very different from Canoes and Kayak, since the raft can accommodate up to 8 passengers. Those that have partaken in rafting on the Sesia, have enjoyed the fun and joy the Sesia brings.
The raft is a large dinghy that is easy to manage: coordination, and the ability to navigate the rivers’ natural challenges are needed. You just need to know how to swim and the sport is at your fingertips, thanks to the expert lessons that the highly trained instructors give, showing the you essential navigation manoeuvers in calmer waters of the river before your adventure begins!
The rafting descents take place on the most spectacular stretches of the Sesia and are within everyone’s reach, guaranteeing a thrilling adventure for all.
The warm season as it known, extending from April to September, is the moment to see the sport awaken, when you can also capture the magical Valsesian territory unfolding in all its wonder, making you want to return again and again.
– The Classic route
The rafting route between Balmuccia and Varallo has made the River Sesia famous all over the world. In this stretch of the river, the bed is quite wide with the ideal navigating conditions normally found in Spring and the first part of summer, when the waters are more abundant due to the rains and melting ice caps higher up in the valley. The descent begins immediately downstream of the infamous “Rapid Balmuccia” in a quiet and very striking stretch of the river, that allows the crew to come together and try all the manoeuver's previously explained by the guides. Once the descent begins, the experience is an exciting 10 km ride among the waves. Passing through a succession of rapids with names, which have become historically part of the lingo with fans, such as; The slalom, The igloo, The shearer and The drunkard to name but a few! They are adrenalin-pumping and breathtaking rapids that require concentration and strong paddles, however they are interspersed with quiet lakes and relaxing stretches that allow you to laugh, play, swim and dive and enjoy the beauty of the landscape. After about 2 hours, the descent ends right at the beginning of the village of Varallo, in an area of calm water that allows you to comfortably land on shore.
– Sesia Gorges route
The Sesia Gorges rafting descent ( also known as the Gole dei Dinelli) unravels itself in a bygone era, created by the supervolcano of Valsesia; It begins near the beautiful Roman bridge that crosses the River Sesia in the hamlet of Scopetta. The river Sesia has dug its way between gigantic rocks and the river bed is so narrow in some places, the dinghy just about scrapes through the steep walls of the rocky banks. For this reason, the descent can only be made in late Summer when the flow of the Sesia is reduced. From start to finish, the river flows away from the main road, in a totally wild and uncontaminated environment, which gives its visitors a playground full of nature's wonders. The route is only 3km long, but right from start, it is an intense ride where the dinghy must find its way through the twisting and winding path the river takes. The morphology of the river, and the presence of two waterfalls that cannot be navigated with a dinghy, create opportunities to work as a team to overcome this whilst having fun swimming and sliding down the natural water slides. After 2 satisfying hours on the river, the landscape opens, ending near Balmuccia.
No less attractive, and highly exciting is the practice of canyoning. This is a river descent essentially on foot in sections of the river where there are steeper slopes.
In Valsesia, you will discover the best “Gyms” in town, canyoning the narrowest gorges and passages impossible to reach with any boat.
With specialist guides, the rock “ toboggans” are tackled with various techniques ranging from swimming to diving, climbing, abseiling down waterfalls and rappelling to overcome the difficulties of this very special and fascinating sport.
This isn’t a sport done when its too cold, for peace and satisfaction; however, it is essential to wear a wet suit. It may seem like an arduous practice but in reality the sport can be partaken by those who are familiar with the river and desire an adrenalin filled experience.
River trekking is similar to canyoning and is usually practiced at higher altitudes where there is less water and the descent is easier to tackle.
– Canyoning Torrente Sorba
The Sorba torrent flows through the valley of the same name which is one of the lateral valleys of Valsesia and one of the main tributaries of the river Sesia. This section is characterised by slides, “toboggans”, dives ( no diving is mandatory) however there is one of 1.5m, and 2 rope descents of 7m and 12m. The first part of the route sees us walking along the riverbed and its banks, encountering slides, small dives and pools of transparent water. The second part, sees the stream begin to take a steeper decline creating large pools of clear and deep water preceded by waterfalls and “toboggans”. The route ends at the height of a stone bridge, the chance to last one final dive or going out on foot via the bridge. This route is an easier route, suitable for beginners and or intermediate canyoners. It is a natural and fun water park and offers everything canyoning can provide!
The kayak; another individual means of river descent, is similar only in appearance, to the canoe. It combines different characteristics in the boat consisting of elongated flattened ends and is navigated with a double-paddle wide paddle. Together with canoeing it is widely practiced in Valsesia thanks to its 54 km of navigable waters and 35km on its tributaries. The most recognised, and best known for being the most interesting route among canoeists, is between Campertogno and the entrance of the Sesia to Varallo, where from May until the end of Summer, the body of water is copious and so the possibility of paddling a canoe or Kayak is extraordinary.
Hydrospeeding or riverboarding is an exhilarating solo sport done on a small floating body board. Suitable for experiencing the thrill of the river and its whirlwind rapids and white water gushes on the numerous stretches on the Sesia that do not present any particular dangers and is suitable for all.
For more information
Centro Canoa Rafting Monrosa
via Roma, 1
13020 Balmuccia (VC)
+39 0163 75298 (da Aprile a Settembre)
+39 0163 020092 (from April to September)
+39 347 3200303
Centro Sport fluviali
Valsesia e Val di Vara
Località Gabbio, 13023 – Campertogno (VC)
tel. 0163 775114 (maggio-settembre)
cell. 347 6439869 (tutto l’anno)
cell. +39 347 4434518
cell. +39 366 4782577
cell. +39 348 0053978