The Saklıkent (Hidden City) Canyon is a natural beauty of Fethiye discovered 15 years ago by a goatherd. The goatherd who discovered the place rented the area from the government and started a business there. Inside the canyon is a restaurant where he serves customers.
The Saklıkent Canyon is 18 km deep. At this altitude it is the deepest canyon in Turkey.
The entire depth of the canyon is not open to visitors. After a certain point only professionals continue on. There are somewhat dangerous roads inside the canyon. You need to cross the ice cold waters that run through the entire valley and the rocks.
What sort of place is the Saklıkent Canyon?
The Saklıkent Canyon is a place 18 km deep between high rocks. An icy stream runs through it. There are also 16 caves that were discovered inside it. These caves are dated very far back. Findings inside indicate that they were used for human habitation up to 3000 years ago. Reaching these caves isn’t easy. They aren’t within walking distance. They can only be reached by climbing down from the mountains.
The canyon was opened in 1989. A year later toward the end of 1990 it was a place known only to locals. Then the TRT channel made a documentary about Saklıkent, which made its name known globally. In 1995, Erdal İnönü, the Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time, visited the canyon. After this visit the Saklıkent Canyon became a holiday destination. In 1996, the area surrounding the canyon was declared the Saklıkent National Park and placed under protection in the government gazette.
You need to be very careful walking through the canyon. Walking through the water and passing over the rocks may be dangerous at times. For this reason we recommend bringing rubber shoes. You might also be covered in mud at times on the walking trail. But don’t worry, you can clean up at the waterfalls throughout the road. When you first enter the canyon you are greeted first by the Eşen Stream. You walk through bridges to the source. But of course that won’t be the case for the entire journey. Later on you need to step down from the bridge and submerge your feet in the ice cold water.
The moment you are inside the canyon you find yourself admiring the beauty of the nature around you. The flowing waters have beautifully sculpted the limestone rocks. You will find peace in the lush trees, the rocks, and the icy waters.
Where is the Saklıkent Canyon?
The Saklıkent Canyon is located in the Foça Neighbourhood of Fethiye. It is located 40 km from the Fethiye city centre. Reaching the canyon is very easy. You can reach it in approximately 1 hour by the Saklıkent-Fethiye shuttles leaving in front of the Fethiye bus station. You may also rent a car. There is parking space at the entrance to the canyon where you may park your car. Visiting hours to the Saklıkent Canyon start at 08:00 in the morning, and end at 20:00 in the evening.
Entrance fee to the Saklıkent Canyon
The entrance fee to the Saklıkent Canyon is 10 TL for adults. But for students they charge about 7 TL. You also absolutely need to buy rubber shoes. You will need these shoes to not slip while walking over the rocks. These shoes cost between 5-15 TL. Don’t think you’ll get by with slippers. Slippers aren’t as sturdy as rubber shoes. Also if you trip with slippers they might come off and get carried away by the stream and you may never get them back. We do recommend buying the shoes before arriving at the canyon. Because the vendors near the canyon will charge you more as there isn’t anywhere else you can buy them. You may also use a pair of old sneakers or sea shoes. These will also prevent you from slipping on the rocks.
When to go to the Saklıkent Canyon
When you consider the icy water running through the canyon you’ll see that the best time to visit the place is during the summer months. This place is an escape for those who are tired of the summer heat. If you prefer to go during a quieter time we recommend going on a weekday. Because it is very crowded at weekends. Additionally if you don’t like crowds let us mention that the number of visitors to the canyon during holiday season is very high.
Possible activities at the Saklıkent Canyon
Trekking isn’t the only activity inside the canyon. There are various activities that you can participate in. Let us first make a suggestion. You need to wear a swimsuit under your clothes. Because you will get wet.
Rafting is the primary activity that you can do. In fact many tourists only come here for rafting. Don’t worry, it’s not hard. Even small children can do it. The current isn’t very strong. And the water isn’t very deep. There are 3 parkours for rafting. These take 45 minutes, 1 hour, and 3 hours. You can safely raft with the aid of professional guides. In addition those who take the rafting tour are taken mudbathing. This service is available to all 3 parkours. Mudbathing is one of the activities available at the Saklıkent Canyon. The mud pools aren’t just for rafters, you may also enter. You may apply the mud from the baths on your skin, which is said to have beneficial properties.
Those who like to zipline can do it at the Saklıkent Canyon. You can easily relieve the stress of city life with ziplining. See the wonderful view of the canyon from the top. There is also a Bungee Jumping space for those who want to reach peak adrenaline.
You can take the Sunset Tour inside the canyon, which will allow you to see spectacular nature sights. We also recommend watching the sunset. Watching the sunset from the canyon will allow you to witness wonderful vistas. You may also learn about the different species of birds that live in the region. Apart from the Sunset Tour you may also trek on the Trekking & Walking trails. There are two of these trails. The first starts from Kızılalan and goes through the Sazak stream, Yapılı road, Kocaboğaz, Tatlar, Üçova, Avdan, Karaağaç, Tırnacık and Mangır, in this order. This trail is 16 km long. You will also encounter ancient ruins along the road. The second trail starts from Kapanderesi and goes through the Menengiç deep, Şappaklar, Kumeyakası, and Saklıkent, in order. It is 14.5 km long.
Eating and drinking at the Saklıkent Canyon
River Restaurant: A beautiful place where you may eat at floor tables. Be one with nature. At the tables by the river you will eat by beautiful views. On the menu are local olive oil dishes, trout, seafood, and other grilled meats.
River Cafe & Bar: A place for those who are thirsty for a drink after the walk at the canyon. There are various drinks available on the menu. It will be very restful to sit under the trees and drink.
Kayıp Cennet Restaurant: Another place where you can go to at the Saklıkent Canyon to eat and drink is the Kayıp Cennet (Paradise Lost) restaurant. There are both floor tables here and normal tables. We prefer the floor tables of course. The floor tables by the water are very beautiful.
There are also many breakfest places on the way to the Saklıkent Canyon. You can have a nice breakfast here. But we would recommend eating on the floor tables by the stream while you’re at Saklıkent. As you can see in the photograph it is a very peaceful place.
What you need to bring to the Saklıkent Canyon
When going to the Saklıkent Canyon you definitely need to bring rubber shoes or sea shoes, waterproof bags and waterproof clothes. It is especially recommended that you put your wallets, phones, and cameras in additional sealed waterproof bags. You can also put a towel in your bag. Because you may get wet on the road. If you are driving to the canyon you should definitely leave your spare clothes inside the car. It gets cold in the evening as the sun is setting. It’s best to bring dry clothes so you don’t get caught in wet clothes and catch a cold.
You may bring a helmet. Don’t think it will look ridiculous, because you will see yellow helmets on many people’s heads inside. And this way if you fall you will protect your head.