Canyons, also known as gorges, are deep ravines found between cliffs. They are formed from the landscape after being carved by rivers which naturally reach a baseline elevation, creating these stunning natural visuals in the process. Canyons are pretty common in arid areas due to the effect that physical weathering has in such zones. The word ‘canyon’ has a Spanish origin with many being found in the United States while Europeans prefer to use the term ‘gorge’. Our planet is home to a number of these naturally occurring phenomena and below we list 10 of the most beautiful.
1. Grand Canyon
Located in Arizona, US, the Grand Canyon is a steep-sided canyon formed by regular carving of the Colorado River. It is contained within the Grand Canyon National Park whose region is now a preserved area. This 277-mile long canyon is stunningly beautiful and is regarded by many as one of the wonders of the natural world. It has a width of 18 miles and a depth of over a mile.
2. Antelope Canyon
Located in the south western part of the US, Antelope Canyon is a top tourist destination. Hundreds visit this area every year to bear witness to its natural beauty. Situated on Navajo land, Antelope Canyon is a paradise for photographers because it has two very beautiful photogenic slots – Upper Antelope Canyon or The Crack and Lower Antelope Canyon or The Corkscrew.
3. Colca Canyon
Southern Peru’s beautiful Colca Canyon is formed out of the regular carving by the Colca River. It is one the top tourist spots in the country with about 160,000 people visiting it each year. The canyon is about 100 miles away from Arequipa. Its depth is around 4,160 meters, more than twice that of the Grand Canyon. The Peruvian government promotes it as being the deepest in the world. Incidentally, the Andean Condor is native to the canyon.
4. Bryce Canyon National Park
Located in Utah, United States, Bryce Canyon National Park has a unique shape due to the presence of peculiar natural structures called hoodoos which are formed by wind, ice and water erosion. Bryceâs rim is about 8,000 to 9,000 feet, making it a top tourist spot.
5. Waimea Canyon State Park
Popularly known as the Pacificâs Grand Canyon, the Waimea Canyon State Park is around 16 km in length. The depth reaches a low of around 900 meters. This beautiful canyon is located in the Hawaiian Islands and was formed due to continuous erosion by the Waimea River. At 1,866 acres, it is a key tourist spot, especially popular among those interested in hiking.
6. Wulingyuan Canyon
Wulingyuan Canyon is located in Hunan Province of China. This historically important canyon features around 3,100 tall pillars made up of quartzite sandstone. The height of some of these pillars reaches over 2,600 ft. Situated in Zhangjiajie City, around 270 kilometers from Hunan Provinceâs capital, Changsha, .Wulingyuan Canyon was declared a World Heritage Site in 1992 by UNESCO. It has several national parks including the hugely popular Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. Incidentally, the park was recognized as the first national forest park of China in 1982.
7. Fish River Canyon
The second largest canyon in the world, the Fish River Canyon is located in the southern part of Namibia. This beautiful landscape is Africaâs largest canyon. The ravine is around 160 km long and 27 km wide. Almost 550 meters deep in some places, the canyon is formed due to the continuous carving of land by Fish River, Namibiaâs longest interior river.
8. Kings Canyon National Park
Located in California, United States, the Kings Canyon National Park was established in 1940. Situated in a sprawling 461,901 acres of area, the park is administered by the National Park Service of the United States. It sees a constant flow of visitors, with the year 2010 recording 598,205 people. The park is home to a large number of vertebrates numbering some 260 species.
9. Blyde River Canyon
Situated in Mpumalanga, South Africa, Blyde River Canyon is an important tourist destination. Measuring 26 km in length, the average depth is around 762 meters. Mariepskop is the highest point at 6,378 feet. A hotspot of biodiversity, the canyon is home to almost every primate species that may be seen in the country.
10. Copper Canyon
Copper Canyon, located in Mexico, is made up of six canyons. At some points, the canyon is deeper and larger than the United State’s Grand Canyon. The six rivers drain into the Sea of Cortez.