Over time, rivers have forged the world’s most magnificent canyons, and the best way to access the most extraordinary views of these canyons? Well, from the river, of course, where you can soak in the views without having to compete for parking or crowding around the guardrail.
1) The Colorado River from Nankoweap in the Grand Canyon
A short and steep hike from the river at mile 53 takes river runners to one of the most iconic views in the Grand Canyon and a set of Puebloan granaries that date back to 1100 AD.
2) Victoria Falls from the Zambezi
The put in for most Zambezi River rafting trips is just below one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. From the river, rafters enjoy exquisite views of the nearly 3000-foot-tall Victoria Falls, or as the locals call it, Mosi-oa-Tunya—“the smoke that thunders.”
3) Colorado River from the Doll House in Cataract Canyon
From Spanish Bottom, the hike to the Doll House is a brutal 1500-foot climb to the overlook, but river runners are rewarded for their hard work with panoramic views of Cataract Canyon and the snow-capped La Sal Mountains. Otherworldly red rock spires and pinnacles, slot canyons and Ancestral Puebloan storage bins are an unexpected bonus.
4) Stair Creek Falls from the Rogue River Trail
It may not look like much from river level, but a scramble up 100 feet to the Rogue River Trail on river right gives boaters (and hikers) a unique view of Mule Creek Canyon and Stair Creek Falls, aptly named for a series of waterfalls cascading into the river below.
5) The Green River from Rippling Brook
This strikingly beautiful upstream view of the Green River through Lodore Canyon is found along the hike to Rippling Brook—a trickle of a waterfall tucked into a side canyon above the river. From the overlook, river runners can see sheer canyon walls fringed with highlights of electric green junipers and pines on a gnarled red rock background.