The Iligas Gorge, also known as Kavis, begins south of the Kastro peak in the White Mountains, near the abandoned village of Kali Laki, and concludes at the Iligas beach, approximately 2.5 kilometres west of Chora Sfakion. Despite its proximity to Chora Sfakion, the Kavis canyon, one of the longest and most untamed in the Sfakia region, remains a hidden gem. Most visitors are unaware of its existence and instead enjoy a swim at the beach where the gorge ends. The riverbed is typically dry unless it has been raining for several hours. The Kavis canyon also includes five additional sub-gorges, which are equally wild.
The Kavis gorge begins at an elevation of 1080 meters at the Rekti location. However, it is advised to avoid crossing its upper part due to the need for a rope. The most accessible route to the riverbed is through the dilapidated village of Mouri or above Anopolis, where a road leads to the Achlada location. From there, a trail leads to the riverbed, where the Byzantine chapel dedicated to the Holy Cross (Timios Stavros) is located. This chapel, filled with frescoes, has been neglected and forgotten by local authorities. The region’s only water spring is located opposite the Holy Cross in a cave on the path leading to Mouri. From this point, it takes about three hours to trek to the exit, with some descents being 2-3m high.
Another point of interest in the Kavis gorge is the cave where Basias, the chieftain of the Selino province, died during the Ottoman period. The primary section of the canyon is enveloped by a pristine forest of cypress and maple trees, one of Crete’s largest woods. As you near the sea, the forest transitions into towering cliffs with trees clinging to their sides. The riverbed is generally broad but can narrow to half a meter at certain points. Just before reaching the sea, you’ll find a stone-paved trail (similar to the Aradena Gorge trail) which descends on one side and ascends on the other, serving as the only walking route from Chora Sfakion to Anopolis.
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