We visited Čikola Canyon after our visit to Roški Slap in Krka National Park. When driving back to the Croatian highway, you drive through the Čikola Canyon. The Čikola Canyon is located in central Dalmatia near Šibenik. Čikola Canyon is a hidden gem. It’s not well known, but it’s one of the most breathtaking canyons in Croatia. Thanks to the erosion of the Čikola River, the cliffs are impressive and extremely high. The Canyon itself is quite narrow, making it a great place for some fun outdoor activities.
The most adventurous way to see the Čikola Canyon in all its glory is by crossing it with a zipline. When you look towards the canyon, you immediately see the 3 zip lines stretching across the canyon. If you do take on the challenge, you’ll zipline around 1.4 kilometers (0.9 miles) in total distance. The first one will be a 507 meters long line bringing you to the other side of the canyon. You’ll have a spectacular view over the canyon.
The second zipline will bring you back to the other side and is actually your only way out! So make sure you won’t freeze up over there. The second zipline is around 650 meters long. Because the second one is a bit lengthier, you’ll have enough time to take in the beautiful views of the canyon. The last zipline is 250 meters long.
On these ziplines, you’ll be at 120 meters or 30 meters higher than the canyon. You’ll even go up to 70 km/h! So it’s bound to be a thrill!
We didn’t actually know that this was a great place to zipline, otherwise I would have reserved a spot! I like those kinds of thrills, so I’d have loved to do the zipline track. But my boyfriend, Steven, is afraid of heights 😱, so he wouldn’t have joined me.
If you do want to zipline over the Čikola Canyon, check out this website or search it on Tripadvisor/Google. You have to make arrangements in advance as there is no one on site all the time.
Canyoning Čikola Canyon
Čikola Canyon is also a great place to go canyoning. Of course, only when the water level allows it. There is an information board at the canyon where you can read all about the canyoning route. There is a shorter route of 4 kilometers and a longer one of 10 kilometers. The sign indicates that the shorter route takes about 3 hours and a half to finish, while the long one takes you 10 hours. When we were there in September, the river was completely dried up.
Canyoning is not something you do without some experience first, so we always recommend to do it with a guide or in a group. Better safe than sorry!
Climbing Venue Osoje
Another great outdoor activity you can do in this place is climbing. The walls of the cliff are high (about 80 meters), so climbing routes are quite long. They can go up to 50 meters in height. The Čikola Canyon has recently become a famous place for climbers as they see a lot of potential in these climbing routes. It’s even called the Croatian Chulilla. Chulilla is a place in Italy that is world-famous for its climbing routes.
The climbing place is called Climbing venue Osoje and is split into 3 sectors, each hosting a number of trails. There are many routes that you can follow with various difficulties. From Beginner, to advanced. We do want to advise you to not use these climbing walls without the proper gear and experience!
Hiking the Čikola Canyon
A little less challenging, but equally pleasant is a hike through the canyon. That’s also what we did during our visit to the Cikola Canyon. I was already tired 🥴 from our visit to Krka National Park, but we had to wait before we could check into our apartment. And Steven decided to stop in a small parking lot along the road (here). On the parking lot, there was a sign pointing to a lookout platform on the Čikola Canyon. We walked to the edge of the canyon and enjoyed the view of the canyon. But there we saw a sign indicating that there was a hiking trail through the canyon. So we (read Steven) decided to follow this trail.
Čikola Canyon Walkway
The path itself is slippery and steep, but the views are very rewarding. The hike is 2.6 km long and the total trail takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes. You can follow the hiking trail in both directions. We started by hiking along the rim (orange on the map) and would go down into the canyon at the end of the trail.
From the viewpoint, walk along the edge of the canyon, towards another viewpoint. On both viewpoints and along the trail, you’ll have a great view looking down in the Cikola canyon. On the way to the end of the trail, you’ll also cross the start of the zipline track mentioned earlier. After a while, you’ll go down to the canyon. The path going down in the canyon is quite difficult. Loose gravel and a steep descend make it challenging. It took us quite a while to make it to the bottom of the trail. It is also marked as a difficult path on the information sign (blue on the map).
Once you get down, you hike back towards the parking lot at the bottom of the canyon. While crossing the canyon, you can see the cliffs used for climbing and you come across another activity that you can do at the canyon: cave visiting. On our hiking trail, we crossed two caves. We just walked to the entrance of the caves, but we didn’t go inside.
One of these caves in the Čikola Canyon is the Strikinica Cave. Strikinica Cave is situated on the right riverbank of the Cikola river. The structure of the cave is simple, there’s an entrance chamber and a tunnel. The cave is 85 meters long. In 2015 this cave was excavated by archeologists who discovered pottery fragments and animal skeletons inside the cave. The skeletons of the animals were marked with burning and cutting marks, so the animals were eaten by people. This proves that humans once lived in the cave.
Topla Peć Cave
Another cave in Čikola Canyon is the Topla Peć or “warm furnace”. It’s located on the right riverbank of the Čikola River. The entrance tunnel expands into two separate tunnels. The total of the tunnels is 206 m². The cave is 45 meters deep at its lowest level. In this cave, many archeological discoveries were made proving that humans used to occupy the cave.
European Union Support for Cikola Canyon
Most of the activities are made possible with the support of the European Union. A lot of effort has been put in to make the Čikola Canyon an attractive place for outdoor activities and adventure seekers. They have done a great job!