Turkey is famous the world over for its azure blue waters, expansive beaches, and rich cultural heritage, but venture a bit further inland, and you will uncover a hidden gem. At 300 meters deep, Saklikent Gorge is one of the deepest in the world and is the perfect spot for travelers seeking a taste of wild Turkey. Located within Saklikent National Park in Mugla province, this natural wonder is a short drive from tourist hotspots Fethiye (50km) and Kas (65km). If you want to take a walk on the wild side, this day trip is for you.
Established in 1996, Saklikent National Park is the home of Turkey’s best-kept secret. With icy cold mountain water flowing through its center, this canyon has been shaped by millions of years of natural forces. For those who love the great outdoors, this is the ideal destination for your next trip to the Turkish Riviera.
Trekking Through Saklikent Gorge
Hiking is the most popular activity here. Saklikent Gorge provides a breathtaking background with two hiking trails available– one for beginners and another that is more challenging and requires technical climbing equipment. Along the Saklikent Canyon is a 200-meter-long path that allows you to get up close to the gorge without getting your toes wet in the river below. The beginners’ out-and-back trail is about four kilometers long and ends with a small waterfall. If you’re an experienced climber, the latter route, which starts where the first one ends, and traverses a waterfall, is an unforgettable and unique experience. The journey of clambering over rocks and soaking up the wild atmosphere is worth the effort.
If hiking isn’t adrenaline-fuelled enough for you, consider other action-packed activities like tubing, rafting, canyoning or even bungee jumping if you have time!
When Is the Best Time to Visit?
Between November and March, the river that runs through the gorge is high, so it is not always possible to enter the walk-through. April onwards is the best time of year to visit. After much of the snow has melted from the Taurus Mountains and passed through the gorge, roughly 4km of the canyon is walkable. Bear in mind that it’s very hot and humid during the summer months, and many tourists (and locals) come to Saklikent to refresh themselves, so it will be busier.
How to Get There
The simplest way to get to Saklikent Gorge is from either Kas or Fethiye by renting a car and driving there yourself. But, if going by yourself is not an option, never fear; there are daily tours from Kas and Fethiye. A dolmus bus from Fethiye to Saklikent Gorge costs about $3-$5 and takes 80 minutes.
Saklıkent Gorge Top Tips
- The entrance fee for Saklikent National Park is 10 TL per person, less than $1, and they only accept cash.
- Saklikent National Park opens at 8:45 am and closes at around 7 pm.
- Check the seasonal opening hours for your visit, as winter working hours may be a bit shorter.
- Depending on the time of year you visit, it’s possible to wade in the river as it is very shallow in parts – beware that it is deeper in others, and watch your step as you clamber over rocks.
- Water shoes with strong grips are essential for traversing the canyon as the stones beneath the water can get quite slippery. If you don’t have any sea shoes, jelly shoes can be hired at the entrance for a small fee, although they may not be as comfortable as your own.
- Food or drink aren’t allowed within Saklikent, so you must purchase drinks, snacks, and bigger meals on-site. Plenty of restaurants and cafes outside the gorge offer all kinds of local delicacies to enjoy.
You can expect to spend at least 2 hours in and around the Saklikent Gorge but could easily extend your stay within the wider national park area. The hiking trail isn’t very long, but you may want to soak up the scenery and relax afterward in one of the many cafes and restaurants dotted around the entrance. If you try other activities in the national park, count on half a day or even a full day at Saklikent.
If you need a break from relaxing at the beach, this is the ideal wild escape where you can experience a difference in scenery and control the pace of your adventure.
Where to Next?
- Relax in the coastal town of Kalkan
- Experience a taste of Turkey with wine tasting
- Live the city life in Istanbul
- Fall in love with history along the Lycian Way
- Experience the incredible in Cappadocia