Canyoning in Ticino is an exhilarating, surreal experience. Canton Ticino has plentiful streams, gorges and canyons, all in some truly wild, uncontaminated natural settings. Perfect for canyoning: the multi-sport that involves walking, wading and scrambling down deep gorges following a river or mountain stream. Although, at first sight, it might seem a complex sport, canyoning is actually suitable for all. All you need is an adventurous spirit, respect for nature and a love for getting wet. If you want to discover nature, have fun, be thrilled and marvel at the beauty of the canyons in the Ascona-Locarno region, then canyoning is the sport for you.
It takes us about forty minutes to get there, but on the way we get some great views and even come across some animals, like goats and ponies. On arrival, we put on the special gear provided: neoprene wetsuit and socks, helmets, canyoning shoes and harnesses. We're now ready to walk in the footsteps of the very first canyoneers, the French speleologists who explored (scientifically) the remote gorges of Verdon in the early 1900s. As we go deeper into the canyon, sliding down natural water chutes, jumping into pools under the waterfalls, and scrambling from one rock to another, it's easy to think we're in Amazonia.
Surrounded by rocks and gorges that, at some points, look more like caves, you can forget everything else and simply marvel at the gigantic boulders smoothed by the water, at the wild nature and at the unique beauty of places you can only experience this way: by clambering and sliding down rocks, or diving into the water. Just a stone's throw from civilisation, but you'd never think so. All we notice is the sound of fast-flowing water, beams of light filtering through the foliage and the force of nature.
Tips from an expert:
The most beautiful places for canyoning in the Ascona-Locarno region. Vallemaggia has the most spectacular gorges: Val Grande is one of the most beautiful and is easily accessible for most people. Val di Gei is a little bit tougher, but still suitable for non-experts. Val di Giumaglio is definitely for water-lovers and has some amazingly steep rocky walls. Val Corippo in Valle Verzasca is the most popular canyon of all. This is thanks to its bottom section being flatter and so more family-friendly, while the upper reaches are much harder and require more skill and preparation.
Canyoning is not an extreme sport only if it is done in the right conditions. Always be accompanied by an experienced guide and follow the instructions. Rivers can be beautiful and placid or roaring and impetuous, hiding their dangers well. The depth of the water, the currents and most importantly whirlpools can take you by surprise and should not be underestimated. Enjoy a carefree day by the river by following water safety recommendations.