So, what of it?
If you search for "the deepest canyon in North America", the honor seems more often to be given to Hells Canyon on the Snake River on the border between Oregon and Idaho. The depth often given is the difference between He-Devil Mountain and the river at 7,993 feet (2,436 meters). Or 8,043 feet (2,452 meters). Or 7,913 feet (2,411 meters).
Which is deepest? I don't know, and I don't particularly care. If Idaho needs to have the 'deepest' or 'biggest' of something, they can have it. After all California has lots of superlatives, like biggest living things, tallest trees, oldest living things, tallest mountain in the lower 48, and so on. I've not been to Hells Canyon. But I have been to Kings Canyon, and what I do know is that it is one of the most spectacular places on Earth.
construction took place during the 1920s and 1930s. At one time it was envisioned that the road would continue up and over Kearsarge Pass to connect with Onion Valley. Thankfully that plan didn't come to fruition.
The highway passes through some astounding geology. Granitic rocks may make up most of the Sierra Nevada, but Kings Canyon contains exposures of some large metamorphic roof pendants of Paleozoic and Mesozoic age. A stunning cliff of gray marble forms one wall of the South Fork, and contains a number of caverns, including the developed tourist attraction of Boyden Cavern. Quartzite, slate and spectacularly folded calc-silicate rocks are also exposed along the highway.
Farther afield, Mexico has the Barranca del Cobre (Chihuahua, Mexico). The canyon system has six major gorges, of which Urique Canyon is the deepest and largest, measuring at one point 6,236 feet deep.
The deepest canyon I know of in Polynesia is Waimea Canyon on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai. It is sometimes called the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific", but I think it stands pretty well by itself without having to compare it to others. It is a favorite destination of mine when I visit the islands. It is nearly 3,000 feet deep in places.
|Waimea Canyon on the island of Kauai in Hawaii|
In South America, the deepest canyon I could find info on was Colca Canyon in Peru. At one point it is 13,600 feet deep.
The ultimate canyons would pretty much have to be where the mountains are the highest, so the deepest canyon in the world is found in the Himalayas. Some of the canyons that pass through the range (the Kali Gandaki or Yarlung Tsangpo Gorges for example) are said to reach depths of 17,000-19,000 feet.
And finally, since it was part of the title, there is the Grand Canyon of Arizona. It's not the deepest canyon overall, but it does maintain a consistent depth of over 5,000 feet for several hundred miles, and there is no canyon like it in the world. I can't even describe how spectacular it is in a few sentences, so I offer the blog series I wrote after a memorable river trip in 2013 in which I almost died, twice, but also had the greatest adventure of my life. Check out Into the Great Unknown.