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Slippin’ and Slidin’: Canyoning Ticino

Abseiling alongside a waterfall

Abseiling alongside a waterfall

At first glance, it may seem like the area around the Boggera Canyon in the Valle di Cresciano is manmade – there are perfectly-formed water chutes, crystal clear rock pools and waterfalls that decorate the setting, all carved out of smooth rock. However, as we all know, nature is an amazing designer.

Sliding into a rock pool

Sliding into a rock pool

Situated within the chestnut forests of the Ticino Alps, you can easily appreciate the results of the grinding forces of the crystal-clear waters that have left their mark in this gorge as you toboggan your way into a rock pool, or rope your way down the veil of a waterfall.

The Boggera Canyon is amongst the most beautiful in the Ticino region, where the smooth white granite winds and curves its way around the emerald-green river, almost as if it’s alive. Set amidst a lush forest, the enticing rock pools here are also ideal swimming spots (they’re also popular among nudists in summer!).

The Valle di Cresciano has several sections where canyoning can be done depending on your comfort level (which ranges from Level 1-4). The easiest portion is the lower Boggera, where jumps are no higher than 5m, and abseils are no longer than 10m. The toughest – the Lodrino portion – is a level 4, and is only suitable for those with canyoning experience.

Picturesque setting

Picturesque setting

Canyoning Basics
Generally, anyone with reasonable fitness (you’ll need to hike up the mountain for at least 30 minutes to get to the canyon in a wetsuit), sure-footedness (there are plenty of slippery spots) and basic swimming ability can enjoy canyoning. Of course, having no fear of heights is a must. Most trips (Level 1-2) last about 3-4.5 hours.

In general, canyoning is done from spring to fall; while summer is the most popular season, spring is probably the coldest time due to the meltwater from the mountains. As there are plenty of dams in the region, do take heed of the warning signs posted at every river since they get intentionally flooded at times (it’s a good idea to check with your operator prior to the trip).

While the idyllic setting makes it seem you’re miles from civilisation, the area is easily accessible by bus. A number of operators offer trips down this valley, with Swiss River Adventures having the closest HQ to the entrance of the gorge on foot.

Water slide!

Water slide!

The Location
Ticino – the only Italian-speaking canton of Switzerland – sits at the southern portion of the country which is dominated by mountains and lakes. Generally considered the warmest and sunniest part of Switzerland, canyoning, as well as a myriad of other outdoor activities like hiking and biking, is very popular in this canton.

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