Canyons or gorges are one of nature’s natural wonders carved out over eons by fast moving rivers. Most canyons were formed by a process of long-time erosion from a plateau level. The cliffs form because harder rock that are resistant to erosion and weathering remain exposed on the valley walls. Canyons offer some of the most dramatic landscapes on earth (and even in the solar system), not only for the sheer size but also for the beauty that often lie hidden beneath the ground.
Doesn’t matter if you’re paddling, climbing, hiking or just rocking up in your camper van for a cool place to pitch up, the world’s canyons offer a playground for everyone.
As usual, we scoured the globe looking for the most remote, the deepest and the most spectacular.
Colca Canyon, Peru
With a depth of 3,270m, Peru’s Colca Canyon is definitely one of the deepest in the world and almost twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. It’s so remote, that it wasn’t until a team of adventurers made the first descent of the river Colca 30 years ago that the depths were officially recognized.
Waimea Canyon, Hawaii
It may be better known for its surf breaks, but the natural wonders inland on Hawaii are just as daunting, intimidating – and awesome. This is the Waimea, the deepest canyon in the Pacific. Aloha!
Blyde River Canyon, South Africa
There are many geological wonders in South Africa, from stunning coastlines, to jaw-dropping mountain ranges and awesome rivers that carve their way through the epic landscape. The Blyde River Canyon can count itself among the finest. At 25km long and 750m deep, it’s one of the largest and, thanks to its lush foliage, it’s also one of the greenest.
Itaimbezinho Canyon, Brazil
The Itaimbezinho is a canyon in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, about 1,000km south of Rio de Janeiro. Part of a national park, it’s one of Brazil’s lesser-known gems and simply gorge-ous! Afterwards, head to Porto Alegre for some urban adventures.
The Grand Canyon, USA
The Grand Canyon is located in northern Arizona and is one of the great tourist attractions in the United States. Carved over several million years by the Colorado River, the canyon attains a depth of over 1.6 km (1 mile) and 446 km (277 miles) long. The Grand Canyon is not the deepest or the longest canyon in the world but the overwhelming size and its intricate and colorful landscape offers visitor spectacular vistas that are unmatched throughout the world.
When it comes to canyons, there is usually only one that springs to mind – with good reason. It’s the grandest of them all, the most striking and, unfortunately, the most popular: Arizona’s Grand Canyon. The waiting list to raft the Colorado river can be as long as 10 years. Adventurer Brendon Leonard was one of the lucky ones. Check out the photogallery of a climbing and rafting adventure.