Saklikent Gorge

Saklikent GorgeSaklikent (Hidden City) Gorge is the second-largest (20 km-long) gorge in Europe, the longest and deepest gorge in Turkey, about a 40 minutes' drive from Fethiye.  It is a spectacular place, with sculpted walls soaring high above. Four km. of the gorge is walkable after April when most of the snow from the Taurus Mountains has melted and passed through the gorge on its way to the Xanthos River.  Summer is the best time to visit as the canyon is deliciously cool and shady with cold water.

Tour operators in the coastal resort towns offer tours to Saklikent Gorge, often in conjunction with a visit to Tlos and the very lovely and relaxing Yakapark Restaurant (also Jeep safaris from Fethiye, I think).  Some tour operators also offer canyoning trips to the gorge.

By car, from Fethiye, exit the Fethiye-Antalya Highway after Kemer, where the signpost indicates the road to Saklikent. Drive down this road for 21km without turning off towards Tlos and you arrive at Saklikent.  For public transportation directions from Fethiye, click here. From Kalkan/Kas, take the main highway to Fethiye, turn right at the sign Saklıkent in the village of Alaçat, 45 km. from Kalkan. Turn South at the T intersection, always following the Saklıkent signs. 12 km. after leaving the main road to Fethiye, turn right and continue for 3 more kilometres.  When you arrive, the entrance to the gorge is under the bridge over the large stream.  A narrow walkway suspended from the rock wall will take you into the gorge.  Once inside, you reach the Ulupinar springs where water bubbles up under great force from the base of the cliffs and you wade across the stream into the gorge proper to begin your walk. 

Outside of and tucked within the gorge locals have set up small restaurants with seating areas on wooden platforms suspended just above the rushing waters.  These are a great place to kick back upon Turkish rugs and cushions with a beer under shady trees.  Among other things on the menu, they offer delicious fresh trout.  Outside of the gorge you will also find treehouse accommodation, small relaxed bars and river tubing.  River tubing rides last from 45 minutes to about two hours, depending on which ride you join.

If you are continuing on to Tlos (about 4 km. northwest of Saklikent Gorge), you will also find small shady restaurants in the villages along the way, run by families that serve fresh, home-grown produce.  Items on the menu include fresh trout and gözleme (Turkish pancakes filled with meat or cheese).

The gorge is open from the April 1 to September 30.  The best time to visit is in the morning or late afternoon to avoid tour groups in the high season (mid-summer). Be sure to wear shoes that you don't mind getting wet or sports sandals as the rubber shoes available for rent at the river bar but are not very comfortable.  You may also want to bring a change of clothes with you in case you get wet.

For more information, including treehouse accommodation, see saklikentgorge.net