Canyons are some of the most dramatic landforms on the planet (and even on other planets), created over millions of years by rivers that carved their way through the landscape. Geologists can probably rave on for hours about canyons, but you hardly need to know everything about them in order to appreciate their beauty. Wherever they are, canyons tend to be major natural attractions for people who want to see them, take pictures of them, climb them and trek along them. Canyons or gorges have a way of creating the perfect setting for adventures, as long as you don’t shrink from a bit of hiking and walking. Here are some of the most beautiful canyons in the world, for travelers who ‘collect’ natural wonders.
Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona, USA
Antelope Canyon is the most visited, as well as photographed canyon in the US, and part of the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation. The canyon was carved into Navajo sandstone by flash floods, which left smooth and curved corridors. One part of the canyon is the Lower Antelope, and the second part is the Corkscrew, referred to as spiral rock arches by the Navajo. There are metal stairs leading down to the canyon, and you can leisurely walk around at the bottom.
Gorge du Verdon, France
The canyon of the Verdon river in southeastern France is considered to be one of the most beautiful canyons in Europe. The canyon is 25 kilometers long, and 700 meters deep, with a distinctive turquoise colored water. The most impressive part of the canyon lies between the towns of Castellane and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. The gorge is a popular destination for canyoneering and canoeing.
Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan, China
The Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the deepest river canyons in the world, as well as one of the most scenic spots in China. Small ethnic Naxi villages are scattered along the canyon and its terraces, and a visit to the canyon is not only regular sightseeing, but a cultural experience too. The path the traverses the length of the canyon is used by the Naxi people on a daily basis, but it’s also great for hiking.
Fish River Canyon, Namibia
Fish River Canyon is Namibia is the second largest canyon in the world, second only the Grand Canyon in the US. The hundred mile long ravine is cut by the Fish river into a dry and inhospitable plateau where only the occasional drought-resistant plant survives. There’s a hiking trail along the canyon, starting and Hobas and ending 85 kilometers further in Ai Ais, but this is hiking at its most natural, without any facilities or camping sites, just you and nature.
Taroko Gorge, Taiwan
Taiwan has more natural attractions that it is given credit for, and Taroko is one of the most impressive natural site on the island. The canyon is around 20 kilometers long and it offers several great hiking trails near fast rapids and interesting rock formations.