For millions of years, the geological upheavals are reflected strongly in the intense relief of the island. While mountains rose, the river water continued its corrosional route through the limestone terrain, forming today's "land of gorges", Crete. With more than 400 canyons, Crete hosts the largest number of gorges in Greece. Many travel agencies offer packages for gorge trekking and there is are several hiking and mountaineering clubs based in Heraklion, Chania, Rethymnon, Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, Ierapetra and Mires.
Cretan rivers meet large faults and steep descents during their course through the canyons, forming hundreds of small and high waterfalls. Crossing gorges of Crete with high waterfalls is possible only by using technical equipment. Appropriate training in canyoneering techniques can be offered by specialist companies on the island. The most popular technical canyons of Crete include the imposing gorge Ha, Tsoutsouras, Kalami, the gorge of Arvi (which after an 80m high fall turns into a dark underground river) and many more.
Tripiti is the second large gorge parallel to Samaria gorge and, like Klados, the trail heading to its entrance also starts at Linosseli spring. In order to approach its entrance there is a dangerous passage where you risk getting stuck, so that you can neither walk on nor turn around and go back. Therefore, you should never attempt to cross this place it without the escort of an experienced hiker.
Gorge Klados is one of the most dangerous and inaccessible gorges of Crete. The top (starting point) of the canyon is located at position Kokkinovari in a steep slope, 90-100 meters high. The very loose and steep terrain makes access impossible even with technical equipment.
Platania Gorge is located in the Amari valley, 38km southeast of Rethymno, on the western outskirts of Psiloritis. It is a unique trail, with impressive cliffs, vertical limestone rocks, rock roofs and caves. The trail is recommended for experienced mountaineers, although the first part of the trek is quite easy and well pathed, even for children who are physically fit.
The gorge of Roza is an offshoot of the gorge of Ambelos. It starts from a point near the rural road that crosses the gorge of Ambelos and has east-southeast direction, leading to Kera.
The small but impressive gorge of Anydri is located east of Paleochora. It starts from the village Anidri and after a snaky course, about 3km long, between high cliffs it concludes at the beautiful beach Gialiskari.
Margarites is a village, well known for its marvelous architecture and the traditional pottery. However, in the wider area of the villages of Margarites, Orthe and Eleftherna appear a series of small, parallel gorges. Small streams such as Margaritianos flow towards the north and are tributaries of the Geropotamos River. The gorges are developed in white-yellow marly limestone of the Upper Miocene period (8-10 million years ago) as a result of the uplift of the whole area and the erosion by water.
On the way to Elafonisi from the road running along the west coast of Crete, there is the beautiful village of Cambos belonging to Kissamos province. From there a short dirt road heads to the west which heads to the lush canyon of Kambos, the westernmost gorge of Crete.
Petres Gorge is located 13km west of Rethymno and its mouth is situated on the beach of Episkopi. The river of the gorge is fed by the waters of Kollita Gorges and the surrounding area, covering almost half Rethymnon Prefecture. It has water all year round and forms an important wetland of Crete, especially at its mouth near Episkopi.