Difference Between Canyon and Valley (With Table) 

If a river flows through a mountain, it eventually carves out a deep channel through which it can flow. A canyon is defined as a deep depression between two cliffs on a mountain. A deep valley carved out of a mountain by a river is another name for it.   

Canyons are frequently formed in areas of limestone rock. Cave systems arise in limestone because it is soluble to some extent. A canyon is formed when a cave system collapses.  

What is Valley?  

Valley floor refers to the area of the valley that is flat between its sides. River sediments are responsible for its formation. Plain, U-shaped, and V-shaped valleys can occur depending on the rock type, climate, and geography. Valleys can be shaped in a variety of ways, including hanging, trough-shaped, and box-shaped.   

Valleys are helpful because they are connected to water, which is a fresh source of water that can be used for irrigation and the agricultural process. There is virtually little possibility of flooding in the valley. A valley is a depression or hollow. It is much larger than the basin but much narrower.   

It is a low-lying section of land that has been scraped and swept away by gravity, water, and ice. It is common in the shape of a U or V. It also has a “head,” “sides,” and a “floor.”  

Rivers and streams can create valleys with steep-walled sides and a narrow floor, commonly in the shape of a V. The gradient of the river determines the steepness of the valley sides and the width of the valley floor. Because of their proximity to rivers and the lush soil in the valleys, many civilizations around the world began in valleys. The Kli Gandaki River valley in Nepal is the world’s deepest subaerial valley.   

Valleys in arid areas may be completely dry or only sometimes carry a stream. Dry valleys may form in limestone bedrock locations as a result of subsurface drainage rather than surface drainage. Rift valleys are formed mostly by earth movements rather than erosion.   

Main Differences Between Canyon and Valley  

  1. Canyons are deep and narrow valleys, whereas a valley is land between mountain ranges.  
  2. A canyon is deeper in comparison to a valley.  
  3. A canyon is steeper than a valley.  
  4. Examples of canyons can include the Grand Canyon, Fish River Canyon, etc. Examples of valleys can be Kashmir valley, Yosemite Valley, etc.  
  5. A canyon is smaller in size than a valley which tends to be larger on average.  


Canyons and valleys both look like deep troughs in the ground surrounded by mountains or cliffs on either side. Canyons are deep valleys caused by water’s action, with steep slopes along either side, whereas valleys are lowland areas between two mountain ranges, with gentler slopes than canyons. Another contrast is that valleys can be small or very large, but canyons are smaller than valleys but always deeper.  


  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3166/ga.17.241-251  
  2. https://pubs.geoscienceworld.org/ssa/aapgbull/article/101/7/1073/520547