The World’s Greatest Canyons: Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon, Tibet

I’m a fan of the Grand Canyon, but I’ve visited there a few times now and I’m looking for something new. Where can I find a canyon that puts the Grand to shame?

Jun 19, 2013
Outside Magazine
canyons best places hiking

   Photo: Larry He/Flickr


The Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon often comes up in debates about which canyon is truly the world’s largest, longest, or deepest; with a top-to-bottom reach in some sections of up to 17,000 feet, it’s three times deeper than Arizona’s offering, and it goes on for 300 miles. It’s located in the northern Himalaya, in Tibet, and the Tsangpo River that runs through it is a landmark in itself.

Nicknamed the Everest of rivers, the Tsangpo isn’t for casual day rafters, and it sees few visitors: permit fees are high, travel to Tibet is often restricted, and the river’s whitewater is among the gnarliest in the world. In 2002, after years of failed attempts and fatalities, a seven-man team led by Scott Lindgren spent 45 days making the first ever successful descent of the upper portion of the gorge.