Saklikent gorge is a dramatic natural feature – a deep narrow gorge, running some 18 kilometres back through the mountains. And whilst it is perfectly safe, it has the feel of exploring about it, so kids love it (well, boys do anyway!)
There is a reasonable sized car park just over the road from the gorge’s entrance, where there are a number of stalls, some restaurants lining the river (cheaper and quieter than those inside the gorge itself, and very pleasant to sit on the platforms overhanging the river), and public toilets (there are none in the gorge itself).
The entrance to the gorge is over a river, running fast and deep, you need to walk round a narrow and fairly high walkway (there are railings) to an area where there is almost a beach, and where it is incredibly noisy as the water rushes out of fissures in the rock. Here there is also a number of restaurants, if you have not used or plan to use the restaurants back by the car park.
From here, you have to wade across the river to reach the further parts of the gorge. Beware, although the water is only about knee and a bit deep, it is very cold, very fast running, and with a very rocky bottom. Shoes can be hired here, if you have not got flip-flops that are firmly secured to your feet this is well worth doing. Also bear in mind you will need to carry any small children.
Once across the water, there is a gentle walk for some 2 kilometres through the gorge. Mostly it is dry, with a rock or sand bottom, occasionally mud, and sometimes a stream you need to paddle through.
At some point, probably between ½ hour and an hour’s walk from the entrance, you will reach a point where the water is very deep, or you have to climb over some rocks, or both – you can choose to wade / climb, or just turn round at this point. Strangely, this point seems to move from year to year, not sure whether this is due to differing water flows, or just my imagination, either way it is worth taking a swimming costume just in case (this is also a reasonable idea for the initial wade across the river!) Also bear in mind that the rocks here can be slippery, I have seen a broken ankle here waiting (a long while) for a stretcher.
Once you have made your way back out (there is only the one route), even if not hungry you will almost certainly want to stop at the restaurants by the river for a drink. You may well be intrigued by the water sports – people heading down what are almost rapids whilst sitting on what looks like a car tyre. If you are tempted by this, then it is organised, and there is a pick up available at the other end to bring you back.
Bizarrely, there is also an outdoor table tennis table here, and tree houses that you can actually rent for a holiday!
Whist Saklikent is well worth a visit, it is difficult to spend more than a couple of hours here. However, as it is relatively close to Tlos and Xanthos, at least one of these could be combined in the same trip, or pop into Kaya Koyu on the way back Due to the depth of the gorge, and the water, Saklikent is quite cool, and easily done in the midday heat – leaving one of the more open sights for the cool of the late afternoon.
Getting There by Car
From Akyaka, take the Dalaman road, continue past the airport turn off towards Fethiye. Go into the centre of Fethiye, and follow the signs out towards Antalya (400). After about 25km, there is a sort of T junction, turn right and continue on the 400, probably signposted Kale.
Approximately 20 kms down this road, you will see Saklikent signposted off to the left. From here it is another 10km.
Total distance about 180km, allow 2.5 hours.