Gorge Smiliano or Kalamafka is located north of the village Ano Meros, about 100km southwest of Heraklion city. Through the gorge runs the Lygiotis river which is supplied by the valleys of Gerakari and the slopes of Samitos Mount. The canyon has a lot of water in winter and crossing it, by any means, is very tough. The 2.5km long canyon starts near the village Vrysses and next to the abandoned settlement of Smile. It is very wild and hiking especially in the initial part, with the many waterfalls, requires tough trekking from the sides.
The canyon is an ideal destination for lovers of canyoning in early summer, as it is full of waterfalls with very deep ponds, perfect for jumps. The highest jump is about 15m, probably the highest in Crete.
The course in the canyon (as outlined on June of a very rainy year)
Starting near Smile, we first cross a little arched bridge and just after 50m we enter the main part of the gorge, where a large pond welcomes us. Immediately, the canyon gets narrow (~2m) and forms a very deep pond 2-3m deep requiring swimming. The first small rappel we met ends in a very large and deep pond (ideal for jump), where the depth exceeds 3m.
Immediately after this, a rock is stuck between the walls of the canyon, creating a natural arch. After swimming for several meters (> 25) without stepping, we continue our course without any problems. We soon meet the first high waterfall and the gorge get narrower (1-1.5m). Continuing through that narrow point of the canyon requires ropes. Alternatively we can walk aside the canyon until we find the 15m high rapel that results in a very deep pond, ideal for a big jump.
The gorge continues to the east and the deep ponds gradually turn to small shallow ponds. At the gorge end the water is almost vanished, thus nobody can predict the aquatic paradise that lies a few meters before.