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Cool canyons, gorgeous gorges

A couple of years ago, I joined a private raft trip down the Grand Canyon’s Colorado River. Four of us flew into Phoenix, drove to Flagstaff and then to the South Rim, and hiked down to Phantom Ranch, where we met up with the rafts at Cremation Beach.

The trip was glorious. Yes, there were moments of misery (I didn’t know that fungus grew on so many human body parts and, by the end, my skin was a Jackson Pollock of sunburn, bug bites and chafe), but I also got to see an otherworldy beautiful landscape that was made even more sublime by the effort required to reach it. (Which, on a private trip, is considerable.)

The day we approached the mouth of Havasu Creek, a tributory to the Colorado, and pulled the rafts into its milky turquoise waters, I didn’t know what wonders awaited me in the canyon. As we entered Havasu Canyon and followed the opalescent creek upstream, I felt as if I had entered another world, one of delicious shade after the Grand’s heat, of limpid travertine pools and red-sand beaches fringed with blooming wildflowers. It was one of the most magical spots I’ve ever been, and it was worth every insult my body had endured to get there. 

Canyons are some of the most fascinating landscapes on earth. Our latest slide show, Cool Canyons, Gorgeous Gorges, takes you on a tour of some of the world’s greats, from the fantastical canyons of the American Southwest to the deep gorges of China.

Tell us about your canyon experiences – what’s your favorite? Leave a comment below.


  • Sounds like a seriously thrilling adventure this one...

  • Ireland can be a nice destination for vacations where you really enjoy your vacation.

  • wind river canyon,big horn canyon,snake river canyon,grand canyon of the yellowstone

  • The Canyons of the Escalante are just as nice, don't require a fee or a guide and are fairly east to get to.  And the light can create different images at different times of day and seasons.  Year-round entertainment and photography.  Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument via Escalante and Hole-In-The-Rock Road (a Garfield County Maintained Road).

  • Also at Lk Powell, only accesible by boat, Face Canyon is more private and just as awesome

  • Been to some seriously stunning gorges here in Western Australia. From Kalbarri to the Pilbara, to the Kimberleys. Amazing.

  • I spent three weeks in the grand canyon and it was the highlight of my lifes travels.No electricity cars or stores. Not anything visible that is what our modern life has become. I recomend OARS Dory boat vacations.

    I also have been up and down the shannon river in ireland and it is a completely different experience. Not as good but really fun as well

  • River rafting is not only great fun, it's an incredible adventure regardless of how old you are. I did it years ago and was told that the company had people as young as 11 and as old as 72. We spent several days in the wilderness with strangers from around the world and it was a blast.

  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison in SW Colorado, near Montrose.  Awesome views of a narrow, 1/4 mile in width at its widest pt., but deep, 1820 - 2722 ft. with shadows making the rock look black.

  • If there is one place I would really love to go it is the Grand Canyon.  It sounds like a fantastic adventure and the pictures of Havasu Creek are superb, this really does make me want to go there even more.

  • I was taught to strive not because there were any guarantees of success but because the act of striving is in itself the only way to keep faith with life.

  • For a truly exceptional boating experience, a dory boat trip through the Grand Canyon on Arizona's Colorado River provides a unique and exciting alternative to an inflatable raft. Grand Canyon Dories are small, traditional and charmingly elegant, rigid boats designed to carry four people and a tremendous amount of gear. At 16' 9" stern to bow, with six hatches, passenger benches and hardwood rails and trim, dories are able to run a river much more quickly than a raft. However, a Grand Canyon dory boat trip is not about speed, but about your own intimate, some might say organic experience of the river.

  • Canyon is so much beautiful place for couple tour. It gives a lot enjoy.

  • Gotta say love the slide show, especially of the Antelope Canyon with the ray of light coming in. It was absolutely beautiful. Great job on those pic. The closest I got to the canyons was the grand canyons and we only had enough time to stay up top. Thanks for the post.

  • our article is very interesting and helpful for every one who love travel. I am the one who love to share my travel and love to learn travel the experience from others. Thanks for your article for us. Thanks again.

    Jack Dowsonn.

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