Shirez Canyon: A Natural Wonder in the Heart of Zagros Mountains
In Farsi called “Tang-e Shirez”. A unique geological formation that amaze every visitor and they call it the Grand canyon of Iran. With 5km length and 150-200m height, Shirez canyon attracts groups of tourist to have a walk in the canyon and enjoy the cool space inside it. If you like to experience a different adventure in Iran, this place can be an excellent option.
Location of Shirez Canyon
Shirez Canyon located in the heart of Zagros Mountains of Iran. In the western part of Lorestan province in Koohdasht county and at the border to Kermanshah and Ilam provinces (55km far from Koohdasht). Next to the shirez canyon is a river called “Seimareh” which is a big river and joins Karkheh River and eventually flows into the “Hoor Al-Azim” wetland in the south.
Formation of Shirez Canyon
Geologists believe that this valley was formed as a result of the erosion of sedimentary rocks with a specific layering. These rocks were deposited in a marine environment during the third geological or Mesozoic period and are known as Asmari formations.
Asmari formations are composed of thick-layered sandy limestones and soft fossils. The distinctive feature of these formations is that in addition to being hard, they are highly soluble and create beautiful shapes in dealing with rainwater and precipitation.
What’s there to visit ?
Nature: Shirez Canyon has a unique nature and when you reach the plain you will see soaring sycamore, oak, grape, fig and wild pear trees. If you go in the right season, you can eat these fruits. Wild Zagros mountain goats are visible from afar. Also, when crossing the river, you may suddenly feel a living creature hit you, just look carefully at the bottom of the river to see the fish swimming in the clear waters.
“Pol-e Khoda” cave: At the end of the shirez canyon, there is a cave with a length of 150 meters and a river with very cold water flows in it. When you are going to enter the cave, be aware that in some places the water level may reach above the knee. It is not recommended to enter the cave barefoot because the floor stones are sharp and may hurt your foot. Also notice that inside the cave is absolute darkness and there is no mobile antenna, so bring the necessary equipment. The locals call this cave the Bridge of God.
Stone Minaret: Through millions of years and different weather conditions such as wind and rain, as well as the occurrence of severe earthquakes in the region, a pillar has been formed in Shirez canyon, which surprises everyone to see. The height of the stone minaret from the bottom of the rock to the top is 80 meters and has a diameter of more than 10 meters. It is called a stone minaret. Seeing it can be one of the attractions of the canyon.
How to get there?
To visit this canyon, you can reach it from Kermanshah, Ilam or Lorestan. The best way to reach the shirez canyon is through Oladqaba Road. From Tehran you cand drive to the west to Lorestan province and after Khorram-Abad, the capital of the province follow the road to Khoohdasht town (Tehran to Koohdasht is totally 600km). After koohdasht, you have to follow Oladqaba road and after 55km you reach to the entrance of the shirez canyon. The last three kilometers of the route is a good dirt road and a parking place next to a fisheries complex. From here you have to walk to the shirez canyon. Visiting the canyon usually takes 3-4 hours and also you can camp inside the canyon or in the parking.
The best time to visit of Shirez Canyon
Spring is absolutely the best time to visit there and the sceneries are so green and beautiful. Summer is hot and winter and autumn are too cold. Remember that water is cold even in summer and consider cold nights in spring if you want to camp there.
Essential equipment for Trekking in Zagros Mountains of Iran
It is possible to swim in this place and your clothes be wet, so bring extra clothes. The inside of the cave is completely dark and you have to take a headlight with you. It is difficult to cross the shirez canyon and walk in cold water, so you need to be in good physical condition. After crossing the canyon, there is no place to prepare food, so bring the necessary food with you. The bottom of the river is rocky and there may be a sharp object inside it. Try to move with the shoes inside it and take extra comfortable and suitable shoes with you.
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