Packrafting Switzerland – Floating Down the Aare River

Packrafting on the Aare River is fun and a comparatively easy task due to the simplicity of the river between the cities of Thun and Bern.

Tour Information:

  • We inflated out rafts in Thun, right behind the two bridges after the big damn (GPS: 46.762025, 7.618151).
  • This time the river had around 60-70 m³/second which is a pretty low level – in 2013, when I did this trip the first time, we had 300 m³/second (!!). You can check the water level here which is an excellent sensor since it is very close to the starting point.
  • It took us 4-5 hours to get down to Bern which is a lot compared with the trip in 2013 where we did it in 2-3 hours.
  • The “Uttiger Schwelle” represents the only challenge on this river part – (GPS: 46.797383, 7.581643). It is directly located below the train bridge and changes its face depending on the water level. So I recommend to scout it out especially in case you have a low water level like we had this time. The rocks in the water could become an issue (helmet!) – additionally, the vortex at the end could become dangerous in case the wave flips your packraft (PFD!). So this part of the river should not be underestimated – people actually lost their lives at that place in the past.
  • The Aare will do most of the job and will take you quickly down to Bern – there are hardly any parts where you actually need to paddle.
  • In Bern, you can get out of the water close to the Dalmazi Bridge (GPS: 46.944492, 7.445228) which is mandatory anyway due to an upcoming dam in the city.

Conclusion:

Excellent river for starters and hot summer days – we were pretty early this year and the water was still too cold to swim without a drysuit. So come in summer, bring along some drinks and food for a BBQ – there are plenty of nice places along the river that invite you to have a relaxed BBQ.

Music: Adrianna Krikl – Pull

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