Hidden, narrow, deep, and rich. Gorges or canyons around the world deserve to be discovered between towering mountains or hills with beautifully sculpted walls. These deep carvings of the Earth are brought by the erosive activity of the river over geologic timescales. Who would have thought that this natural phenomenon, which can sound terrifying at first, is Earth’s best sculptor in creating these amazing sights?
If you want to set an outdoor adventure, you can choose one, two or all from this list of the world’s 10 amazing gorges:
1. Gorges du Vernon, France
An amazing canyon which forms the border between the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and the Var, the Vernon Gorges is rich in flora and fauna and doesn’t fail to give you a spectacular sight. The 21-km canyon varies in width between 6 to 100 m at the bottom and 200 to 1500 m at its rim. Moreover, it reaches up to 700 meters deep.
You can do various water, aerial and terrain activities here like paragliding, rafting, water skiing, mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing and more.
2. Fish River Canyon, Namibia
Lies at the southern part of Namibia, Fish River Canyon is known to be the largest canyon in the southern hemisphere. The spectacular cliffs and boulders create a feeling that you’re driving through Mars. It is 61km long, up to 27km wide and almost 550m at its deepest. If you want to visit the canyon and see the river, be sure to visit during the rainy season from January to April.
You can witness a few large animals like herds of Hartmann’s mountain zebra, small groups of kudu and the smaller klipspringer antelope, while driving around the canyon. Birds like Karoo bustards and ostrich can be found in the area too.
3. Ristikallio Gorge, Lapland, Finland
Located in the North Eastern Finland’s Oulanka National Park, Ristikallio Gorge is the popular viewpoint on the Karhunkierros Trail. It is also known to be a good starting point for the Bear Trail Hike for those who want to spot the elusive brown bear.
4. Cheddar Gorge, UK
Sounds cheesy, but this gorge is perfect for those who want to jump into extreme sports like rock climbing and adventure caving. The Cheddar Gorge is Britain’s biggest gorge, boasting cliffs that rise up to 450 ft, plus stalactite caves and traces of history about the prehistoric ancestors.
While in this gorge, you can discover Britain’s most beautiful karst limestone stalactite cavern and home of the endangered horseshoe bats, the Gough’s cave. Head next to Cox’s Cave for colorful calcite sculptures. You can also climb 274 steps to the Lookout Tower, plus 48 more to get to the rooftop where you can get a good aerial view of the Cheddar Reservoir.
5. Antelope Canyon, USA
A slot canyon in the American Southwest, the Antelope Canyon is known for its two separate slot canyon sections: the Upper Antelope Canyon or The Crack, and the Lower Antelope Canyon or The Corkscrew. The canyon was formed due to the erosion of Navajo Sandstone.
Antelope Canyon is one of Navajo’s sources of tourism business for its awe-inspiring landscape is a favorite among photographers and sightseers. One reason why the canyon is popular: beams, Beams are shafts of direct sunlight radiating down from openings in the top of the canyon, which occur most often during the summer months.
6. Vintgar Gorge, Slovenia
Also known as the Bled Gorge, Slovenia’s Vintgar Gorge is a 1.6 km long beauty between the vertical rocks of Hom and Bort Hills. The gorge becomes more worth the seeing because of its waterfalls, pools and rapids. If you follow the trail, you’ll end up in a bridge overlooking the magnificent Šum waterfall.
You can also see two man-made sights in the gorge: the single-arch stone bridge of the Bohinj railway and the small Vintgar hydroelectric power plant’s dam.
7. Todra Gorge, Morocco
The Todra Gorge is a canyon located at the eastern part of the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco, near the town of Tinerhir. The gorge is narrow and some of its points shrink into a size wherein only the river and trekkers can pass through. Visitors should make sure that they’ll reach the end of gorge for its last 600m path leads to the most spectacular views.
8. Copper Canyon, Mexico
The Copper Canyon is one of Mexico’s treasured natural, cultural and historic wonders. It is located in the state of Chihuahua and covers 25,000 square miles of rugged territory. Moreover, the Copper Canyon is the home of the Tarahumara natives, the ground of fallen warriors, martyred Jesuits and Pancho Villa’s army. This canyon which lies in the middle of the Sierra Madre range is four times larger than America’s Grand Canyon, spanning a total length of 59,545 km. (37,000 miles). Activities you can do around the area include: hiking, camping, bird watching or immerse with the Tarahumara natives.
9. Glen Helen Gorge, Australia
Located 132 kilometers from Alice Springs in Australia’s Northern Territory, Glen Helen Gorge is a popular stopover for drivers who are on their way to the Red Centre Way from the Alice Springs. Towering sandstone walls first catch the visitors’ attention while sightseeing around the the gorge’s spectacular landscape. Moreover, the area also boasts the amazing views of Mount Sonder which is one of the highest points in Central Australia.
10. Samaria Gorge, Greece
The Samaria Gorge has an altitude of 1,200 m which starts from Xylóskalo and carves down to the coastal village of Ayia Roumeli, on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The 16 km long gorge almost covers the whole White Mountains’ National Park in Crete along with slopes and other smaller gorges around it. It is also the home of 450 species of plants and animals with 70 of them endemic to Crete.
In the Samaria Gorge, you can go hiking, sailing, diving in the Mediterranean Sea or just relax by the Pervolákia and Timios Stavros beaches.
When On Earth Magazine is for people who love travel. We provide informative travel guides, tips, ideas and advice regarding places to see, things to do, what to taste, and much more for world travelers seeking their next dream vacation destination.