Here in the U.S., the Grand Canyon is a must-see travel destination. Nestled in northern Arizona, the Grand Canyon is an impressive 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, and one mile deep. Without a doubt, it’s one of the most jaw-dropping geological formations any tourist could hope to see.
But here’s the thing: The Grand Canyon might be impressive, but it’s by no means the biggest or deepest canyon in the world. Heck, it’s not even the deepest canyon in the United States!
Let’s take a look at a few other gorges capable of rivaling the Grand Canyon in depth.
Kali Gandaki Gorge, Nepal
Located in the Himalayan mountains of Nepal, the Kali Gandaki Gorge is an ancient and breathtaking sight to behold. This canyon has been called the deepest gorge in the world due to its unique geography. Kali Gandaki is a deep gorge running between two Himalayan mountains, The Annapurna and the Dehaulagiri, both standing about 26,000 feet tall.
Accounting for some measurement disparities (and the fact that the mountaintops are considered the “rims” of the canyon), the Kali Gandaki gorge is close to 18,000 feet deep — over three times the depth of the Grand Canyon! Today, this gorge serves important roles as both a trade route for locals and a tourism destination for those interested in trekking the foothills of the Himalayas.
Urique Canyons, Mexico
Not too far from the Grand Canyon is a series of smaller canyons that put their bigger cousin to shame. Located in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, the Urique Canyons are a system of six small canyons that collectively make up a gorge bigger than the Grand Canyon itself — technically speaking, at least. None of the six small canyons are as big as the Grand Canyon, but put together, the gorge network is massive:
- It has over 74 miles more rivers than the Grand Canyon
- Its deepest point is over 242 miles lower
- However, its width is about seven miles thinner
Like the Grand Canyon, the Urique Canyons (and their flagship gorge, Copper Canyon) are popular tourist destinations in Mexico. If you’re planning a visit, make sure you read up on the area ahead of time! The gorgeous location was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010 and is home to one of the most fascinating Native American populations still in existence: The legendary Tarahumara tribe of ultra-marathoners.
Hell’s Canyon, United States
Some people might think the Grand Canyon is the deepest canyon in the United States. Those folks have never been to Idaho’s Hell’s Canyon: the deepest gorge of the Snake River, located in the Seven Devils mountain range. (Aren’t these names great?)
Although the canyon is only 125 miles long, it’s a staggering 7,900 feet deep at its lowest point — a good half-mile deeper than the Grand Canyon. This makes Hell’s Canyon the deepest valley in North America by far.
But for some reason, Hell’s Canyon never caught on as a tourist destination in quite the same way as the Grand Canyon. Maybe it has to do with the immensity of the Grand Canyon’s proportions, or possibly its location, but whatever the reason, the deeper-than-deep Hell’s Canyon may always live in the Grand Canyon’s mighty shadow.
And while the Grand Canyon is great, but it’s just one of the many incredible gorges you can visit in your travels. If you’re looking for a lesser-visited destination close to home, give Idaho a try! Or if you’re interested in real thrill-seeking, you can head overseas to visit some of the deepest canyons and gorges that our world has to offer.