Cimbar Canyon, Ala Daglar

Key information: Cimbar Canyon, Ala Daglar

    • Descent of a steep, spectacular canyon in the Ala Daglar mountains. Can be walked as a circuit.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating83
  • Beauty32
  • Natural interest16
  • Human interest2
  • Charisma33
  • Negative points0
  • Total rating83

Vital Statistics

  • Length: 16km
  • Day walk
  • Level of Difficulty: Strenuous



See our Ala Daglar and Taurus Mountains pages for more information.

Walkopedia would like to thank David Briese for access to his account of trekking in the Ala Daglar mountains; the full account and many wonderful pictures can be found on his website, We love it!

Cimbar Canyon Circuit

The procession of blue sky mornings continued, as we set out on our third walk in the mountains of the Ala Daglar. Today would be a bit of a reversal of the normal pattern, with an initial descent followed by a climb - we were off to the Cimbar Canyon.

Leaving the camp, we followed the road quickly down to the other encampments of Sokullupinar, some 100m lower down in the Yalak Valley, before climbing back up on a road heading north across the western flank of the mountains. The silhouette of 3756m Demirkazik, backlit by the sun, set a mysterious mood to the morning.

After a short climb, we reached the green carpet of Arpalik Pastures, home to two summer sheep-grazing camps. The shepherds were sitting in one of the tents and invited us in for a cup of tea and chat (with Mehmet). The big spike-collared kangal dogs, following the lead of their masters, decided to tolerate our presence. It was a pleasant way to have a morning cuppa sitting in the green pastures beneath the impressive face of Demirkazik.

However, an even more impressive sight awaited us, for dropping off steeply from Arpalik Pasture lay the head of Cimbar Canyon. We headed down a loose stony track to reach it, a semi-circle of tall rock walls that narrowed into a slot only a few metres wide. It was our passage to the valley below - welcome to Cimbar Canyon.

The winding track dropped quickly with a lot of rock-scrambling to pass through the narrow entrance and reach a wider grassy bowl. The walls of the canyon were home to tiny swallows and the floor to even smaller rock wrens, while the sounds of choughs soaring across the canyon heights echoed from its walls. The track dropped even more steeply from this upper canyon into a rugged lower one, where once again the walls narrowed. This was mountain goat country, but if any there were watching us they were very discrete.

We picked our way slowly down until, rounding one curve in the rock walls, we could see the plains beyond. A little later, the canyon spilled out onto the plain, 750m below its starting point, to meet a sealed road which passed its mouth. We followed the road for a while before turning off just after a winter sports complex to head back up to Sokullupinar campsite on the gravel access road. We thought this might have been a boring section, but with the full length of the range on one side and the expansive views over the plain on the other it was far from that.

The only problem was that Mehmet was still having problems with his feet - he had outgrown his walking boots and this had caused toe problems the first day we walked. He then switched to sneakers, but their soft soles were no match for the sharp karst rocks of the canyon floor, so his soles were duly bruised. Soon after starting the climb, he phoned his father Ahmet, who was working up the campsite. Thus, with a couple of kilometres of the circuit to go, Ahmet was waiting to pick us up in his 4WD. I don't like not finishing walks, but what the heck - as we have learnt several time here in Turkey, you just go with the flow.

The canyon walk showed us another facet of the Ala Daglar Mountains and the early return gave a bit more time to rest up - tomorrow would be the big day of our time here and we would need every bit of energy that we had in reserve. It was time to tuck in to the Turkish delight.

You can find an interactive map of David Briese's Cimbar Canyon Circuit on the EveryTrail website.

Please refer to our Taurus Mountains page for detailed practical information.

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.


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