Erdemli canyon hiking stone bridge

OFF THE BEATEN PATH

I have been thinking of starting an “Off the Beaten Path” section to our website, for those of you who prefer to stay away from the crowded touristy areas. And the Erdemli Canyon trail definitely fits the bill.

Outside of Yeşilhisar, Kayseri, an hour from the heart of Cappadocia, is an 18km trail that leads from the village of Erdemli to a reservoir in Akköy.

Erdemli canyon hiking glen
Everybody has their own preferences when it comes to hiking. My wife, for instance, does not like to blaze a trail. She would rather follow the path to a destination. My boys and I prefer to go off road and explore a little. Others prefer being out in the sun, some like the canopy of trees instead. For some, just getting exercise while enjoying the outdoors is enough. Some want to challenge themselves physically with climbing or bouldering.

GOOD VARIETY

This easy hike offered a good variety for the trekker. There was a stream bed down the middle of the canyon. The bulk of the hike was on an old dirt road running parallel to the stream bed. Due to the unusually hot summer, where there would usually be flowing water runoff from the surrounding mountains, it was dry. But the trees were still green and were a nice change from the brown landscape completely surrounding the canyon.

Just 500 meters into the hike were the impressive remains of a monastery on one side of the canyon, and hundreds (literally) of caves on the other. Ideal for the 4 adolescent boys who came along with me on the hike. But not wanting to waste our precious time on something at the beginning of the trek, we pressed on.

MINERAL SPRINGS

Erdemli canyon hiking frogAn interesting feature of the walk was puddles of burnt orange water. The kids were enthralled with the frogs hiding in the mossy edges of these pools. We found out later from a local who invited us to sample the water, that these ponds were caused by natural mineral springs. The coloring wasn’t rust, but the minerals, in the water.

We were too spent to go the full 18 kilometers on this sunny day. The spot where we made our u-turn climbed out of the canyon up to a hilltop that was unprotected from the sun for the better part of a kilometer. So we descended into a grove of trees and were able to have a snack and rest in the river bed. It was a nice relief from the Indian Summer, September heat.

MORE TO EXPLORE

However, I was told that the best part of the hike was further onward. The road disappears and you walk almost single file through the sheer faces of the cliffs rising to your left and right. I definitely want to go back and hike the final kilometers.

We returned to explore the caves and monastery. The boys and I spent a half an hour climbing the pock marked surface of the steep cliff. It offered great views of the canyon.

The monastery was still impressive despite it’s dilapidated condition. The three story structure was robbed of its frescoes long ago but the detailed architectural carvings in the stone made one wonder what it looked like in its glory days. We had fun climbing and imagining what it would have been like to attend a worship service in this cave church.

WORTH THE TRIP!

I had heard this hike billed as a “mini Ihlara valley.” It is not. But if you want to get out of the crowded space of Göreme, Avanos, and Ürgüp, then this is a good spot. Because of its proximity to Soğanli, you could make a day trip out of it and do the churches of Soğanli, then hike the Erdemli Canyon and be back in Göreme for dinner!

Happy Trails!

ON THE MAP

On the map you can see a few options for getting to the canyon from Goreme. Unfortunately, there is not a direct route. The best option is probably to rent a car or scooter for transportation.
Erdemli Canyon
The approximate Google Map Coordinates: 38.399586, 35.086940

ERDEMLI CANYON

Erdemli canyon hiking blue sky

Erdemli canyon hiking caves

Erdemli canyon hiking church door

Erdemli canyon hiking cliff caves

Erdemli canyon hiking cliff face

Erdemli canyon hiking group road

Erdemli canyon hiking high road

Erdemli canyon hiking jack view

Erdemli canyon hiking monastery ben

Erdemli canyon hiking monastery caleb

Did you enjoy this post? If so, here’s what you can do. Please share this post with your friends by clicking on one of the buttons to the left side. Also, you may want to subscribe to these posts. Click here and follow the instructions. One of my goals is to help people who will visit Cappadocia. This is your way to help me meet this goal. Thank you, I am grateful.

Christian Dedrick is an English teacher living in Avanos. He has lived in Turkey since 2008 with his wife and three sons. He moved to Cappadocia in 2011 and is excited to be sharing stories from his life here. He enjoys spending time with Cappadocians, hearing, and telling their stories.
He began writing for CaptivatingCappadocia in spring 2012.
Click here to read more about Christian.