To refer to the highest point on a hill, one might use the word "crest":

He walked up to the crest of the hill, and surveyed his surroundings.

On the other hand, one might also use "crest" as a verb to describe the action of crossing over the top of that hill:

She looked around as she crested the hill.

I feel as if there should be an equivalent noun/verb pairing to refer specifically to the action of crossing through the bottom of a valley, but I have been unable to find any reference to such a word. Does one even exist?

Examples of base nouns I've considered:

  • Valley
  • Trough
  • Depression
  • Saddle
  • Channel
  • Draw
  • Dale
  • Dell
  • Vale
  • Glen

7 Answers 7


This may not be perfect, but it's at least plausible. How about traverse?

From your question:

He walked down to the traverse of the valley. [analogous to "the crest of the hill"]

From Dictionary.com:

traverse, noun: a place where one may traverse or cross; crossing.

From your question:

He traversed the valley, and surveyed his surroundings.

From Dictionary.com:

traverse, verb: to pass or move over, along, or through.

Acknowledgement: @Mazura mentioned traverse in his/her comment on the OP's question.

  • @barbecue I know. I found it amazing that there was a one-word solution. Who knew? Oct 16, 2016 at 18:06

This is perhaps a bit fanciful, but one might conceivably say that "she looked around as she plumbed the valley".

This sense of the word "plumb" is defined by oxforddictionaries.com as

explore or experience fully or to extremes

  • However it doesn't really work as the noun for the lowest part of the valley.
    – barbecue
    Oct 12, 2016 at 13:46

From the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Earth Science:

valley floor The broad flat bottom of a valley. Also known as valley bottom; valley plain. [Italics mine]

So you have a choice of nouns. As a verb, plain won't do, and floor as a verb means either to furnish with a floor or knock to the floor, literally or figuratively. The OED finds "to reach bottom" for a meaning of bottom:

He bottomed with his feet and stood upright [in the pond]

But this is likely to clash with the usage bottom out, which is reserved for more dynamic things like the movement of stock prices. Perhaps

She looked around as she descended to the valley bottom.

  • Crest is to hill, as floor is to valley.
    – Mazura
    Oct 12, 2016 at 2:16

One can dip into a dip; from Oxford Dictionaries:

VERB 3. Sink, drop, or slope downwards

NOUN 3. A brief downward slope followed by an upward one.

I don't know if a dip is deep enough for you to count as a valley, though.

Bottom also comes quite close; from Merriam-Webster:

4 a : the lowest part or place

intransitive verb
2 : to reach the bottom
3 : to reach a point where a decline is halted or reversed —usually used with out

So you could perhaps say

He walked down to the bottom of the valley, and surveyed his surroundings.

And also

She looked around as she bottomed (out) in the valley.

I say it comes close (but maybe no cigar) because in practice the verb most often seems to be used either figuratively or in the context of bodies of water, rather than for literal, non-flooded valleys.


My path bottomed out or flattened out. My path achieved its lowest point.

That's the closest I can get to what you're imagining.



A line following the lowest part of a valley, whether under water or not.

(Paraphrased from American Heritage)

Although not a verb itself, one could "cross the thalweg" of a valley.

  • 1
    Where does that word come from? Nov 7, 2019 at 14:43
  • That I had to look up. Miriam and Wiki have it as 19th century German origin.
    – Steven
    Nov 7, 2019 at 15:26

drew to the draws

(an idiom I just made up; apt to just confuse anyone who isn't a geography nerd... even then so)

Drew as in 'come upon' and the geography term, draw. Traveling between two opposite draws is most likely the furthest distance you can traverse a valley without leaving it.

We drew to the draws and came up empty; the horse thief must have headed for the hills.

  • I love this example! It does indeed draw out the phrase's poetic potential. Too bad this is probably too obscure for my application, but you're still getting an upvote for this one! Oct 12, 2016 at 15:38
  • Sounds like something from Deadwood to me ;)
    – Mazura
    Oct 12, 2016 at 15:59
  • An idiom has to be reasonably well known. You've created a non-standard expression. Nov 7, 2019 at 14:40

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