Another name for this, in Japan and Taiwan, is river tracing. One travels upstream a river, quite similar to canyoneering.
Apart from seeing different countries, cultures, and regions, travelers love going closer to nature. Adventure tourism has today become a part of the lifestyle of a globetrotter. Why not? It has surprises, challenges, thrill, and a lot of excitement. The distant but beautiful natural locations, including valleys, gorges, cliffs, waterfalls, slots, and the like, add to the risk factor, but make the sporting activity even more fascinating. Canyoneering is like the best of all the adventure activities put together. How else does your mind and body feel liberated, if not by this?
What is Canyoneering?
Canyoneering is simply a travel through the canyons, which combines different outdoor activities or adventures of walking, climbing, jumping, scrambling, rappelling or abseiling, and swimming. It is also called 'canyoning'. The prettiest and toughest canyoning destinations are reached using excellent hiking skills. Beginning with walks and trails, enthusiasts prefer climbing the ladder gradually and experiencing the more-difficult activities step by step.
Scrambling is said to be an activity between rock climbing and hiking, where one moves up the rocks. Rappelling, or what is also known as abseiling, includes descending a steep waterfall in a gorge (approximately 200 to 300 feet), using a harness and ropes. It is a hell of an experience for freshers, and known to be a high adrenalin activity for adults. The difficulty level of the sport changes according to the type of rocks, canyons, force of the water stream, and other factors.
Best Places for Canyoneering in the World
In the Americas
None other than the Grand Canyon itself presents innumerable options for canyoneering in the country. The Zion National Park in Utah and valleys in Arizona (Antelope Canyon) are famous for a variety of trails, hikes, slopes, and some really difficult swims, climbs, and descends. There are also many places throughout the Colorado plateau that one can check out. The Rocky Mountain Range in North America, Sierra Nevada, and the Cascade present good alternatives too.
One of the most challenging and remotely located ones, the Copper Canyon (or Barrancas del Cobre) lies in the Sierra Madre Occidental. It is a group of six canyons in northwestern Mexico, with slopes ranging from a medium to high level of difficulty. Carved out by six rivers, it is deeper than the Grand Canyon at some places. It takes its name from the copper and greenish color of rock surfaces seen everywhere.
If you are in Costa Rica, you would love to engage yourself in waterfall rappelling, river tracing, down-climbing, or even hiking. Arenal Volcano is already well-known, so is 'Lost Canyon', the best canyoning location in the country. Places like Jaco and Uvita let you enjoy a transition from smaller falls to the deeper ones, some leading you to a pool at the bottom. If you are in for something more difficult, Turrialba is the right place. Finding a way through cloud forests in Costa Rica and reaching Monteverde, you would feel it was worth all the walking you did, plus, there are beautiful waterfalls on the way for you to see.
The Tara Canyon is the deepest canyon (4,300 feet) in Europe, and the longest (51 miles) in Montenegro. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, and mostly famous for rafting, it is also a great site for canyon explorers. The sheer depth of the ravines makes ascending and descending the rock faces extremely exciting.
Wales is especially popular for canyoneering in the UK. The Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales gives you a chance to explore the streams of the Ystradfellte region though gorge walks, river running, adventure swims, scrambles, etc. The Bruar Falls Canyon in Scotland, another popular spot, lets you take up adventure hikes during the day and night as well.
Verdon Gorge of southeastern France is a spectacular 15-mile long and 700-foot deep river canyon. The peculiar green color of the Verdon river makes it stunning. Rappelling along with some slides, jumping, and slipping is what attracts people here, besides its beauty.
When we talk about the best places for canyoneering in Europe, we simply cannot miss out on incredible Switzerland. Be it Interlaken, Malvaglia, or the Italian speaking canton of Ticino, you can very well start from the basics of canyoning and go on to become an expert as you move through the rugged terrain here. Along with mountains, lakes, valleys, rivers, canyons, what comes along is hiking, sliding, jumping into turquoise pools, rappelling, climbing, and so much more.
In Asia and Australia
This Empress Falls in the Blue Mountains is one of the favored destinations of Australia. The mountains present a range of around 400 canyons, which also gives a variety of options with different levels of difficulty. The best part is that, these places are just a few hours from Sydney, so you get more time to actually rappel or climb.
Hunting for one of the best places for canyoneering in Asia takes you to Indonesia. Main locations including Gitgit, Kalimudah, Kerenkali, Sambangan, Tamata, Aling gorge, and Tukad Hijau surprise you with an excellent combination of trekking, canyoning, and hiking.
Sundarijal and Dudh Kosi in Kathmandu, Annapurna, Trishuli, Bhote Koshi, Bandib, and such others contribute to a spectacular list of adventure points on the map of Nepal. No need to elaborate on the thrill added by the glowing snow peaks, young vibrant river flows, scenic gorges, and other extremes amidst the Himalayan ranges.
Đà Lạt is the capital of Lâm Đồng Province of Vietnam. It is also a favorite among tourists wanting to enjoy adventure sports through specially organized tours. Canyoning activities practiced here mainly include climbing, hiking, waterfall rappelling or abseiling, and watersliding.
In India, the Himalayas have been famous for their spiritually liberating destinations. To liberate both the body and mind, towns and cities at the Himalayan foothills offer several energizing canyoneering opportunities. The state of Goa, settled amidst the narrow sea and land intersections of the splendid Western Ghats, is popular for its canyoning and abseiling sites.
Minakami, Agatsuma, Okutama, and Akagi in Japan rank as one of the best places for adventure tourism. To name a few, these include the Takachiho Gorge, Fox canyon, Willow canyon, Maple canyon, and canyons on the Kyushu island.