We dont normally think of valleys as destinations but this blog post might change your mind. The world’s most stunning valleys and quite a few of those that made our list are glacially carved valleys such as: Lauterbrunnen, Yosemite, Khumbu and Logar. Glacially carved valleys tend to be especially beautiful because of the mountain setting and the steep walls on either side. Read on to see all the valleys that made our list and let us know if we missed your favorite.
1. Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
Lauterbrunnen is a village and a municipality in the Interlaken-Oberhasli administrative district in the canton of Bern in Switzerland. Lauterbrunnen lies at the bottom of a U-shaped valley that extends south and then south-westwards from the village to meet the 8 kilometers (5.0 mi) Lauterbrunnen Wall. The Lauterbrunnen Valley is one of the deepest in the Alpine chain when compared with the height of the mountains that rise directly on either side.
2. Hunza Valley, Pakistan
The Hunza Valley is a mountainous valley in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. The Hunza valley is situated to the north of the Hunza River, at an elevation of around 2,500 metres. The territory of Hunza is about 7,900 square kilometres. Aliabad is the main town with Karimabad as a popular tourist destination because of the spectacular scenery of the surrounding mountains like Ultar Sar, Rakaposhi, Bojahagur Duanasir II, Ghenta Peak, Hunza Peak, Passu Peak, Diran Peak and Bublimating, all 6,000 metres or higher.
3. Kaghan Valley, Pakistan
The Kaghan Valley is a valley in the north-east of Mansehra District of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan. It attracts many tourists from around the World. The Kaghan valley is named after the town of Kaghan rather than for the Kunhar River which flows through the length of the valley. Kaghan is an excellent destination for trekking and hill walking. There are a number of trekking routes all along the valley. Kaghan Valley is home to many a tourist attractions, especially its lakes.
4. The Valley of Geysers, Russia
The Valley of Geysers is a geyser field in Russia, and has the second largest concentration of geysers in the World. This 6A km long basin with approximately ninety geysers and many hot springs is situated on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East, predominantly on the left bank of the ever-deepening Geysernaya River, into which geothermal waters flow from a relatively young stratovolcano, Kikhpinych.
5. Thórsmörk Valley, Iceland
Thórsmörk is a mountain ridge in Iceland that was named after the Norse god Thor. It is situated in the south of Iceland between the glaciers Tindfjallajökull and Eyjafjallajökull. In the valley, the river Krossá winds between the mountains. The valley is closed in between glaciers, Mýrdalsjökull being at the rear end of the valley. Thórsmörk is popular amongst hikers. A lot of different tours are possible, from hiking on the glaciers to trekking.
6. Yosemite Valley, United States
Yosemite Valley is a glacial valley in Yosemite National Park in the western Sierra Nevada mountains of California, carved out by the Merced River. The valley is about 8 miles long and up to a mile deep, surrounded by high granite summits such as Half Dome and El Capitan, and densely forested with pines. The valley is renowned for its natural beauty, and is widely regarded as the centerpiece of Yosemite National Park, attracting visitors from around the World.
7. Khumbu Valley, Nepal
Khumbu is a region of northeastern Nepal on the Nepalese side of Mount Everest. It is part of the Solukhumbu District, which in turn is part of the Sagarmatha Zone. It includes the town of Namche Bazaar as well as the villages of Thame, Khumjung, Pangboche, Pheriche and Kunde. The famous Buddhist monastery at Tengboche is also located in the Khumbu. The Khumbu region includes both Sagarmatha National Park and the Sagarmatha National Park Buffer Zone, between Lukla and Monju.
8. Danum Valley, Malaysia
The Danum Valley Conservation Area, 83km south-west of Lahad Datu, is blessed with a startling diversity of tropical flora and fauna. This vast Eden-like basin is home to the rare Sumatran Rhinoceros, orang utans, gibbons, mousedeer and the beautiful clouded leopard. Some 270 species of birds have been recorded in the area. The Danum Field Research Centre is located within the confines of the 440sq km forest reserve.
9. Waipi’o Valley, United States
Waipi’o Valley is a valley located in the Hamakua District of the Big Island of Hawai’i. The valley floor at sea level is almost 2,000 ft below the surrounding terrain. A steep road leads down into the valley from a lookout point located on the top of the southern wall of the valley. The shore line in the valley is a black sand beach, popular with surfers. A few taro farms are located in the valley. Several large waterfalls fall into the valley to feed the river which flows from the foot of the largest falls at the back of the valley out to the ocean.
10. Jiuzhaigou Valley, China
Jiuzhaigou Valley is a nature reserve and national park located in northern Sichuan province of southwestern China. Jiuzhaigou Valley is part of the Min Mountains on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau and stretches over 72,000 hectares. It is known for its many multi-level waterfalls, colorful lakes, and snow-capped peaks. Jiuzhaigou Valley was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1992 and a World Biosphere Reserve in 1997.
11. Barun Valley, Nepal
Barun Valley is a Himalayan valley situated at the base of Mt. Makalu in the Sankhuwasabha district Nepal. This valley lies entirely inside the Makalu Barun National Park. Barun Valley provides stunning contrasts, where high waterfalls cascade into deep gorges, craggy rocks rise from lush green forests, and colorful flowers bloom beneath white snow peaks. This unique landscape shelters some of the last pristine mountain ecosystems on earth. Rare species of animals and plants flourish in diverse climates and habitats, relatively undisturbed by human kind.
12. Nubra Valley, India
Nubra is a tri-armed valley located to the north east of Ladakh valley. Diskit the capital of Nubra is about 150 km north from Leh town, the capital of Ladakh district, India. The Shyok River meets the Nubra or Siachan River to form a large valley that separates the Ladakh and Karakoram Ranges. The common way to access this valley is to travel over the Khardung La pass from Leh town. Foreign nationals are required to get a Protected area permit to visit the Nubra Valley.
13. Haa Valley, Bhutan
Located in South West of Paro and covering an area of roughly 1706 sq. km. Haa is the smallest Dzongkhag in the country. This tiny region is one of the most beautiful and isolated areas in the kingdom, adorned with pristine alpine forests and tranquil mountain peaks. This valley remains one of the least visited areas in the country and retains the air of an unspoiled, primeval forest. The wooded hills of Haa provides an ideal location for hiking and mountain biking. Biking around the valley to visit the dozen or so local temples is an enjoyable way to spend the day when visiting.
14. Harau Valley, Indonesia
A relaxing one-hour drive from the bustling market of Bukittinggi in the province of West Sumatra lies the beautiful Harau Valley, – or sometimes called the Arau valley – where lush green ricefields are hemmed in between huge granite cliffs. Here dozens of waterfalls tumble down from 80 to 300 meters height into the valley below, cut by the Batang Arau River. No wonder, therefore, that the Harau Valley is sometimes known as the Yosemite of Indonesia.
15. Kalalau Valley, United States
The Kalalau Valley is located on the northwest side of the island of Kaua’i in the state of Hawaiʻi. The valley is located in the Nā Pali Coast State Park and houses the beautiful Kalalau Beach. The Nā Pali Coast is very rugged and is inaccessible to automobiles. The only legal ways to access the valley are by kayak or by hiking the Kalalau Trail. The valley is renowned for its natural beauty; it is surrounded by lush cliffs more than 2,000 feet (610 m) high.
16. Logar Valley, Slovenia
The Logar Valley is a valley in the Kamnik Alps, in the Municipality of Solčava, Slovenia. In 1987, the valley received protected status as a landscape park encompassing 24.75 square kilometres. The Logar Valley is a typical U-shaped glacial valley. It is divided into three parts. The lower part is named Log, the middle part Plest or Plestje (it is a mostly wooded area), and the upper part Kot or Ogradec (it is a wooded area with scree slopes). Altogether 35 people live on the isolated farmsteads in the valley.
17. Olympic Valley, United States
Olympic Valley (commonly known as Squaw Valley) in the U.S. state of California is an unincorporated community located in Placer County northwest of Tahoe City along Highway 89 on the banks of the Truckee River near Lake Tahoe. It is the home of the Squaw Valley Ski Resort, the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. It is the smallest place in the World to ever host the Olympic Games.
18. Valle de la Luna, Chile
Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon) is located 13 kilometres (8 mi) west of San Pedro de Atacama, Chile in the Cordillera de la Sal, in the Atacama desert of Chile. It has various stone and sand formations which have been carved by wind and water. It has an impressive range of color and texture, looking somewhat similar to the surface of the moon.
19. Verde Valley, United States
20. La Gran Sabana, Venezuela
La Gran Sabana also known as Guianan savanna, is a region located in southeastern Venezuela, in the Guiana Highlands, also south-east in Bolívar State, and extending until the border with Brazil and Guyana. The Gran Sabana has 10,820 km² and is part of one of the largest National Parks in Venezuela, the Canaima National Park.
21. Bohinj Valley, Slovenia
Bohinj is a municipality in the Upper Carniola region of northwestern Slovenia, covering the 20 km long and 5 km wide Bohinj basin of the Sava Bohinjka river within the Julian Alps, characterized by the periglacial Lake Bohinj. The municipality’s administrative centre is located at Bohinjska Bistrica. The valley consists of four regions; the Spodnja Dolina, Zgornja Dolina, Ukanška kotlina, and Nomenjska kotlina. It is bounded by Komarča on one end and Soteska, which is in fact a narrow canyon, at the other.
22. Elan Valley, United Kingdom
The Elan Valley is a river valley situated to the west of Rhayader, in Powys, Wales, sometimes known as the “Welsh Lake District”. It covers 70 square miles of lake and countryside. It is also famous for its picturesque scenery. Over 80% of the valley is designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, and a popular cycle trail, the Elan Valley Trail, makes a loop from Rhayader around the reservoirs. Part of the trail overlaps with a spur of National Cycle Route 81.
23. Nicola Valley, Canada
The Nicola Country, also known as the Nicola Valley and often referred to simply as The Nicola, and originally Nicolas’ Country or Nicholas’ Country, adapted to Nicola’s Country and simplified since, is a region in the Southern Interior of British Columbia, Canada. It is the main subregion of the larger Thompson Country and is often referred to separately, or in combination forms, notably the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.
24. Vinales, Cuba
Viñales Valley is a karstic depression in Cuba. The valley has an area of 132 km2 (51 sq mi) and is located in the Sierra de los Organos, just north of Viñales in the Pinar del Río Province. Tobacco and other crops are cultivated on the bottom of the valley, mostly by traditional agriculture techniques. Many caves dot the surrounding hillfaces.
25. Valley of the Flower, India
Valley of Flowers National Park is an Indian national park, located at a height in West Himalaya. It is renowned for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and the variety of flora found there. It is located in Uttarakhand state. This richly diverse area is also home to rare and endangered animals, including the Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, brown bear and blue sheep.
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