Great Canyons

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Trek to the great canyons around the world

Life is full of mountains and valleys, but unlike convention would have you believe, not all valleys in life are bad – some of them are quite magnificent. There are hundreds of different canyons around the world, but I have chosen 5 must-see beauties, definitely worth a visit. Canyons (a word usually heard in the Americas and Africa) or gorges (the more popular name in Europe) are formed by the process of erosion. Over thousands of years, fast-moving rivers carve out these incredible exposed valleys. It is unfathomable to imagine the power and finesse that collectively created these beautiful natural masterpieces.

King’s Canyon in the Northern Territories of Australia is a massive tourist attraction. The walls of Kings Canyon are over 100 metres high towering over King’s Creek flowing through it. The unbelievable dome formations coupled with sharp edged cliffs offer great desertscaping Instagram moments for those brave enough to take on the rim walk around the canyon. A part of the canyon is a sacred Aboriginal site, so visitors are not encouraged to stray off the beaten track.

In the Southwest of Crete there is a very popular 16km long canyon called the Samaria Gorge. Over 250 million people walk this gorge every year. The walk that takes about 4-7 hours depending on fitness level and picture taking stops, and traverses beautiful forests filled with ancient cypress trees, and then cutting deep between the immaculate vertical cliffs through the mountains to emerge at Agia Roumeli on the Libyan Sea.

If walking is not your speed, the next canyon will get you right on track. The most popular way to explore the Copper Canyon in Mexico is by train on the “Chihuahua al Pacifico” Railway line. This is an adventure of a lifetime as the track passes 37 bridges through 86 tunnels reaching as high as 2400m above sea level. The walls of the canyon are a copper/green colour, which is the origin of the name Copper Canyon. You can just imagine the picturesque views of the canyon, pretty much from the clouds. Copper Canyon is actually a network of canyons which together are several times larger than (arguably) the most famous canyon of them all, the Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in Arizona in the United States of America. The 446km long, 29km wide attains a depth of over 1,857 meters and is one of the most widely captured canyons in the world. It’s not the biggest or the deepest canyon in the world, but with Hollywood movies like “Fools Rush In” having this gorgeous gorge as its backdrop, people will always flock to its picnic spots and viewpoints for memorable moments of their own.

Southern Africa has two spectacular canyons – the Blyde River Canyon in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa and the Fish River Canyon in the south of Namibia.  The Blyde River Canyon was carved from mostly red sandstone. The highest point of the canyon, Mariepskop, is 1,944m above sea level, whilst its lowest point where the river leaves the canyon is less than 561m above sea level. It is one of the largest canyons on Earth, and it may be the largest ‘green canyon’ due to its lush subtropical foliage. With some of the deepest precipitous cliffs of any canyon on the planet, and being the second largest canyon in Africa after the Fish River Canyon, it is known as one of the great wonders of nature on the African continent. The largest canyon, the Fish River Canyon, is a gigantic ravine about 160km long and up to 27km wide and almost 550m deep in some places. It is also a very popular route for walkers.

These 5 canyons are mere examples of the scenic splendour offered by some of the world’s most spectacular gorges…or canyons. No matter what word you choose to describe them with, they are irrefutable proof that the valleys of life can be simply breathtaking.