5 Aviles Canyon, Spain
Arguably the deepest canyon in the world, this one may be “cheating” slightly because it’s actually underwater. Yes, the Marianas Trench in the Pacific is the deepest point in the world, but it’s a trench formed by tectonic forces – which makes it a canyon, dammit! It was largely formed by the water flowing out of the nearby Aviles estuary. The canyon plunges down more than 6,500 feet below sea level so, while not technically as much depth from “floor” to “rim” as many of our competitors, it’s a hell of a lot deeper thanks to that whole underwater thing.
4 Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon, Tibet
This one is called a “Grand Canyon” with good reason. Measured from the heights of the Tibetan Plateau, the canyon is arguably the world’s deepest. It measures almost 20,000 feet from floor to “rim” in some places. We only qualify the depth via those quotation marks around the word rim when the rim of a canyon is formed by the rising Himalayan range to the north.
3 Colca Canyon, Peru
– While Copper Canyon down there in Mexico certainly gets our respect for its impressive depth, this Peruvian canyon wins the depth contest by a landslide, which we assume occurs quite frequently there anyway. This canyon reaches depths of more than 13,600 feet. That is well over two miles from floor to rim – taller than most of the Rocky Mountains’ summits reach above sea level! In short, a damn fine canyon.
2 Copper Canyon, Mexico
This network of multiple canyons forms one huge system referred to as Copper Canyon, even though many of the smaller chasms have their own names. Taken as a single entity, it boasts some pretty amazing stats. One region of Copper Canyon (Barrancha del Cobre in Spanish, by the way) is well over a mile deep, at 6,160 feet from floor to rim.
1 Tara River Canyon, Montenegro
Tiny little Montenegro may be one of the smallest countries on earth, but it still boasts one of the biggest, most beautiful canyons. The clear, cool waters of the Tara River have been carving out this long, sweeping – and above all, deep – canyon since time immemorial (or perhaps since the last ice age). The walls of the Tara River Canyon reach more than 4,250 feet at their highest point!