Kopru Canyon National Park
Magnificent River Gorge and Wild Landscape
About 90km NE of Antalya, the Kopru Canyon National Park is named after a deep gorge cut through the wild mountain landscape by the rushing turquoise waters of the Kopru river as it heads south to the coast.
Dating from Roman times, the (extensively restored) Oluk bridge spans the gorge, providing a marvellous view of the river and gorge. The drive across the bridge is narrow but worthwhile, since the only practical parking is on the other side of the river at this point.
As you approach the Oluk bridge, you will see many small restaurants by the roadside. Fish is the speciality, but sadly it is entirely farmed trout as the native brown trout cannot be taken from the river. No fishing allowed in the National Park!
Walking is allowed, however, and the scenery is quite magnificent, particularly in the upper reaches of the river above the Canyon itself. A guide is strongly advised, as the lanscape is very rugged and the hiking trails and tracks - of which there are many - are not so easy to find.
The whole area surrounding and to the north of the gorge offers an outstandingly beautiful mountain wilderness to explore, and nature lovers will be spoiled for choice.
A section of the famous St. Paul's Trail runs from Aspendos, over the Roman bridge and on to the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Selge on a mountain top about 13km to the north.
Adventurous walkers with a head for heights can advance along the side of the gorge, and descend to the floor of the gorge further up. Rock pools, gushing springs and caves are all there to explore, as well as some pretty impressive geological formations. Again, don't try this without a guide!
The easiest way to explore the gorge is in a rubber raft which is navigated by one of the locals who will certainly proposition you for a trip if you hang around the bridge for more than a couple of minutes.
If you wish to explore a little further, continue beyond the main Oluk bridge, then take the left fork in the road and you will come to the charming Bugrum bridge over the little Kocadere river, which joins the Kopru river downstream. An ideal bathing spot and much easier to get to.
If instead you take the right fork after the bridge, this will eventually take you to Selge, an ancient ruined Roman city high up in the mountains.
Or if you're feeling brave, just head downstream and try out one of the many river rafting companies offering a wild white water ride!
A trip up the canyon will take about 30 - 40 mins. Your guide will do most of the work. You can just sit back and enjoy the scenery!
You have the option on the trip to stop at a spring gushing out of a deep but narrow cave - not recommended for people with claustrophobia . . .
There are several secluded rock pools for bathing in the main Canyon - but not so easy to reach. Be careful, though, the water is a lot colder than it looks.