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10 Deepest Canyons in the World You Must Explore

Globally, there are more than 9,000 canyons. Many factors led to the formation of these canyons. Many are the result of rivers that flow past them eroding. The ten canyons listed below have gained a reputation for being the world’s deepest canyons. If you are planning to visit these canyons or explore nature this blog will help you understand everything about the world’s deepest canyons. Do not miss the important and precautionary instructions before you start traveling! 

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List of 10 Deepest Canyons in the World

  • Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon, China 
  • Kali Gandaki Gorge, Nepal 
  • Cotahuasi Canyon, Peru
  • Colca Canyon, Peru
  • Copper Canyon, Mexico
  • Grand Canyon, United States
  • Antelope Canyon, United States
  • Blyde River Canyon, South Africa
  • Tara River Canyon, Montenegro
  • Fish River Canyon, Namibia

1- Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon, China 

The Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon is located in the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China. Stretching an impressive 313.5 miles in length, the Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon is not only the deepest in the world but also one of the most remote and inaccessible. 

The canyon is deeper than both the Kali Gandaki Gorge in Nepal and the Grand Canyon in the United States, with an average depth of 7,440 feet and a maximum depth of 19,714 feet. 

The Yarlung Tsangpo River, which flows through the canyon, is a lifeline for the people living in the surrounding areas. It provides water for irrigation, supports a diverse ecosystem, and is an important transportation route. However, the river is also known for its challenging conditions.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon is its geological history. The canyon was formed by the collision of the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates, which created the Himalayan mountain range. Over time, the river carved its way through the uplifted rock, creating the deep gorge we see today.

It is essential to remember that this area is also home to a diverse array of wildlife, including the elusive snow leopard, the Himalayan brown bear, and the Tibetan antelope.

2- Kali Gandaki Gorge, Nepal 

Kali Gandaki Gorge is situated in the heart of Nepal. This canyon is carved by the Kali Gandaki River and holds the title of the world’s deepest gorge, with a depth of over 18,000 feet from the river to the surrounding peaks. Interestingly, the canyon is situated between two of the world’s highest mountains, Dhaulagiri and Annapurna.

The river below, a flowing ribbon of blue water, seems almost insignificant in comparison to the towering cliffs that surround it. In Nepal’s Mustang area, near the Tibetan border, the Nhubine Himal Glacier is the source of the Kali Gandaki River. The Kali Gandaki Gorge was once used for centuries as a trade route between India and Tibet.

One of the most popular activities in Kali Gandaki Gorge is trekking, with several routes available for hikers of all skill levels. The Annapurna Circuit, a classic trek in the region, takes you through the heart of the gorge.

3- Cotahuasi Canyon, Peru

Cotahuasi Canyon is located about 400 kilometers northwest of Arequipa. Its depth is approximately 11,595 feet. The Cotahuasi River, which flows between the peaks of Coropuna and Sulimana, formed the wonder of earth sciences known as Cotahuasi Canyon.

Two massive mountain massifs, the Solimana, and the Coropuna, have been dissolved by the Cotahuasi River which created the canyon. The climate in Cotahuasi Canyon varies, with temperatures ranging from 8 to 28 degrees Celsius throughout the year. 

The best time to visit is between May and November when rainfall is minimal. The canyon’s location, nestled in the heart of the Southern Andes, adds to its allure and promises an unforgettable experience for all who venture into its depths.

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4- Colca Canyon, Peru

Colca Canyon is situated approximately 99 miles northwest of the city of Arequipa in southern Peru. It is one of the world’s deepest canyons, with a depth of around 11,000 feet, and is comparable in size and beauty to the well-known Grand Canyon.

The canyon’s journey is easily accessible by bus, taking around 3 hours and 45 minutes. The journey itself is a treat, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape and pre-Inca agricultural terraces that are still used by local farmers. 

The area is also home to various native communities that have maintained their traditional way of life, including the Collagua and Cabana cultures. One of the main attractions of Colca Canyon is the opportunity to see the majestic Andean Condor, the largest flying bird in the world, with a wingspan of up to 3 meters. 

5- Copper Canyon, Mexico

Copper Canyon is also known as Barranca del Cobre. This network of six interconnected canyons stretches across the Sierra Tarahumara mountain range. Copper Canyon’s depth is over 6,165 feet. The canyon system spans an impressive 600 kilometers (373 miles) in length. 

The network of high canyons and rivers was sculpted out of the volcanic rock over millions of years by the Rio Fuerte and its tributaries. The canyon’s walls are exposed layers of limestone, sandstone, and volcanic rock.

Copper Canyon is home to the Tarahumara people, an indigenous group that has lived in harmony with the land for centuries. Their traditional way of life, including farming, hunting, and craftsmanship, is also deeply linked with the canyon’s natural resources. 

Hiking, camping, and horseback riding are popular ways to explore the canyon’s vast wilderness. The famous Chihuahua al Pacifico Railway, also known as “El Chepe,” winds its way through the canyon.

6- Grand Canyon, United States

The Grand Canyon in the United States stretches over 277 miles, carved by the Colorado River. The Grand Canyon is one of the seven wonders of the world with a depth of 6,093 feet. In 1908, former US President Theodore Roosevelt named this canyon a National Monument. 

The canyon’s formation began around 70 million years ago as the Colorado Plateau rose, eventually giving rise to the mighty Colorado River that sculpted the canyon. The canyon has also been a site of exploration and wonder for early European visitors, with its first recorded sighting dating back to 1540.

As a National Park since 1919, the Grand Canyon continues to draw millions of visitors annually. The canyon’s sheer size is visible even from outer space. In 2014, the Grand Canyon was also declared a Globally Important Bird Area due to its contributions to the conservation of numerous bird species.

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7- Antelope Canyon, United States

Antelope Canyon is located near the town of Page, Arizona. Its depth is 5,905 feet. Antelope Canyon is divided into two distinct sections: Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon.  

Upper Antelope Canyon, referred to as “The Crack,” is the more popular and accessible of the two. Lower Antelope Canyon, also known as “The Corkscrew,” is a bit more challenging to navigate, with ladders leading down into the canyon.

The canyon’s most famous feature is the “Light Beams,” which occur during specific times of the year when the sun’s rays pierce through the canyon’s openings. The canyon’s colors, from deep reds to vibrant oranges and yellows, are constantly shifting.

Strict laws are also in place to safeguard Antelope Canyon, a natural beauty, within the territory owned by the Navajo Nation.

8- Blyde River Canyon, South Africa

The South African province of Mpumalanga is home to the Blyde River Canyon. This is the largest green canyon due to subtropical vegetation. The canyon reaches a depth of 4,501 feet at its deepest point. The contrast between the lush vegetation and the red sandstone cliffs is stunning. 

One of the most famous viewpoints in the canyon is Bourke’s Luck Potholes, named after a gold digger who tried his luck in the area. Another must-see attraction is the Three Rondavels, three massive rock formations that resemble traditional African huts, or rondavels. 

Visitors can also spot various species of birds, including the endangered Cape vulture, as well as mammals such as the klipspringer, a small antelope that is well-adapted to the rocky terrain. The best way to experience the Blyde River Canyon is by hiking along the Otter Trail, a popular route, that takes hikers along the river’s edge.

9- Tara River Canyon, Montenegro

The Tara River Canyon is situated in the heart of Montenegro. Its height is 4,300 feet and it stretches from Montenegro’s Bistrica to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The nearby town of Žabljak serves as a base for those wishing to explore the canyon. It is also Europe’s deepest canyon. 

The canyon is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species, many of which are found nowhere else on Earth. It provides a perfect habitat for the elusive Balkan lynx, a rare and endangered subspecies of the Eurasian lynx. There are plenty of trout and other freshwater fish in the river as well.

The Tara River Canyon has become an increasingly popular tourist destination in recent years. The canyon is part of Durmitor National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site that attracts visitors from all over the world.

10- Fish River Canyon, Namibia

The Fish River Canyon, located in Namibia, is 1,805 feet deep. It is shaped by the Fish River, which is Namibia’s longest river. The river also forms the border between Namibia and South Africa.

The Fish River Canyon is divided into two different parts: the lower canyon, which was formed after erosion, and the upper canyon, where the river’s destructive actions have been blocked by hard gneiss rock.

The Fish River Canyon is also a haven for wildlife. The area is home to a variety of animals such as baboons, leopards, zebras, and kudu, while African fish eagles and black Verreaux’s eagles soar overhead. 

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What to Keep in Mind Before Planning a Visit? 

Before planning a visit to the world’s deepest canyons, here are ten essential things to keep in mind:

  • Always follow the Leave No Trace principles to minimize your impact on the canyon’s natural environment. 
  • Research the canyon thoroughly, including its ground, weather patterns, and potential hazards. This will help you prepare better and make informed decisions during your trip.
  • Familiarize yourself with local regulations, such as permits required for overnight stays or specific restrictions on activities like camping or hiking.
  • Always carry a first aid kit, a map, and a compass. It’s also a good idea to bring a personal locator beacon (PLB) or a satellite phone in case of emergencies.
  • Be honest about your physical abilities and experience level. Don’t take on more than you can handle, and consider joining a guided tour if you’re new to canyoneering.
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks to keep your energy levels up. It’s also important to drink water regularly to avoid dehydration.
  • Monitor weather forecasts and be prepared for sudden changes. Avoid canyoning during heavy rain or thunderstorms, as these can increase the risk of flash floods.
  • Be mindful of other visitors and respect their space. Keep noise levels down and avoid littering to maintain a peaceful atmosphere.
  • Invest in good quality gear, including sturdy hiking boots, a backpack, and a helmet. Don’t forget to pack essentials like a flashlight, a multi-tool, and a spare set of clothes.
  • Stay up-to-date with local news and park alerts. This will help you avoid any potential hazards or disruptions during your trip.
  • Remember to always prioritize your safety and the safety of those around you. 

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The world’s deepest canyons offer some of the most stunning landscapes on the planet. These natural wonders are spread across several continents and offer an interesting combination of geological characteristics, cultural importance, and adventure options. Whether you’re drawn to exploring or learning about local cultures, these canyons represent some of the most incredible destinations for nature enthusiasts. The diversity and grandeur of these canyons make them must-visit locations for any traveler around the world. 


1- What is the Deepest Canyon in the Universe?

The Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon is the deepest in the world, with an average depth of 7,440 feet and a maximum depth of 19,714 feet. 

2- What is Europe’s Deepest Canyon?

The Tara River Canyon is Europe’s deepest canyon with a depth of 4,300 feet. 

3- Is Mariana Trench a Canyon?

No. Mariana Trench is the deepest point in the Pacific Ocean but some people refer to it as the Grand Canyon of the Ocean. 

Oleksandra Mamchii

Working as a academic lead at Best Diplomats.

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