Looking for the best trails to go hiking near Rome, Lazio? Look no further!
If you want to skip directly to the list of trails, click here.
However, if you don’t know Lazio very well, I recommend that you first get an idea about what the area around Rome actually looks like, so that you can make an informed choice.
There are 5 provinces in Lazio, each of which will have its own characteristics in terms of terrain, climate, local foods, and also the type of trails you can expect.
- Viterbo (Forests, Etruscan culture, Waterfalls, and Lakes)
- Rieti (Mountains, Lakes)
- Metropolitan Area of Rome (Seaside, Historic hikes (e.g. Appian Way), mountains, forests, Roman culture (no surprises here), Religious pilgrimage trails, Urban Hikes)
- Latina (Mountains, Seaside panoramas)
- Frosinone (Mountains, Valleys, Waterfalls)
Obviously, there will be some crossovers in terms of terrain, etc., but the above should give you an idea about the types of terrains you are likely going to encounter when you go hiking near Rome.
Here’s a map of those regions:
Alright! Now that you have a good idea about the regions, let’s look at the Regional and National Parks that are available, as that is always a great place to start looking for good trails:
Which National Parks exist near Rome?
There are 3 National Parks in Lazio:
- Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park (Frosinone Province)
- Circeo Park (Latina Province)
- Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park (Rieti Province)
Therefore, you can visit two National Parks in Southern Lazio (Frosinone, Latina) and one in Northern Lazio (Rieti).
Which Regional Parks exist near Rome?
There are 16 Regional Parks in Lazio:
- Aguzzano (Rome Province)
- Appia Antica (Rome Province)
- Bracciano – Martignano (Viterbo Province)
- Castelli Romani (Rome Province)
- Gianola e Monte di Scauri (Riviera di Ulisse) (Latina Province)
- Inviolata (Rome Province)
- Marturanum (Viterbo Province)
- Monte Orlando (Riviera di Ulisse) (Latina Province)
- Monti Aurunci (Latina/Frosinone Provinces)
- Monti Ausoni e Lago di Fondi (Frosinone/Latina Provinces)
- Monti Lucretili (Rome/Rieti Provinces)
- Monti Simbruini (Rome Province)
- Antichissima Città di Sutri (Viterbo Province)
- Pineto (Rome Province)
- Valle del Treja (Rome/Viterbo Provinces)
- Veio (Rome Province)
Plenty of choices!
Here’s a map of the parks, to give you an idea of where they are located geographically (you can download access maps and other info about the parks on my free Park Locator page):
Great, so what are the best trails for hiking in Italy?
Premise: Creating a shortlist with the best hikes is – obviously – impossible. There just are too many good trails out there. But I tried to compile a collection of 15 trails that I believe contain a bit of everything, from forests to nice panoramas, mountains, lakes, adventure, birdwatching, and more, and to inspire you to explore the different areas of Lazio. Enjoy!
15. Manziana Forest – Bosco Macchia Grande
The Manziana Forest is perfect when you just like to go for a stroll through a pleasant forest with oak trees that grow up to 40 m (131 feet) tall! Also, there is a interesting, volcanic sulfur spring nearby, and the fact that the Etruscans thought that this was the gate to the world of God Manth makes this a special experience! You can visit all year round, but please note that during the hottest months during summer, most likely due to the free-roaming wild animals (horses, cows) there are a lot of flies that can prove problematic, so if you’re sensitive to that you don’t want to go there without proper face protection. There is a train station nearby (Manziana-Canale Monterano), which makes this perfect for a day trip and a quick escape from Rome or Viterbo!
14. Isola Lipu – Castel di Guido
This less-known trail is perfect if you’re into bird watching and love nature! Hidden away just outside of Rome exists this little, curated nature oasis which is also suited for kids. A lovely stroll in nature, surrounded by a rich ecosystem, with a mix between woods and Roman countryside, this makes for a perfect place to go hiking near Rome. If you travel by car, head to Castel Guido – there is also the possibility to take a train ("Maccarese" train station), although it’s a bit of a walk to get to the park from there.
13. Lagustelli di Percile – Parco dei Monti Lucretili
It could be easy to confuse this little paradise with a lake located somewhere in Denmark or Norway, but instead, we’re still in Lazio! This karst lake is the most prominent of a few karst lakes in the area, which creates a magical atmosphere in the middle of the mountains. Located in the small mountain village Percile, hikers can pick between a very easy and a very difficult route to get there (only expert hikers should pick the difficult route, as there are some dangerous parts present). You’ll love the beauty of the place, although I recommend getting there early and during the week, as on the weekends, you might encounter many local tourists or groups with kids on a school trip.
12. Monte Gemma
What can you expect? A bit of wilderness, great views, and great trails. Access is remote and you will need a car, but you will be rewarded with nice peaks, dolines, and reminders of ancient civilizations and – if you get lucky – even signs of wolves (even though it’s almost impossible that you will actually see one). To get to the trail, head to Supino (Frosinone), and from there to the Piana di Santa Serena.
11. Cascate di Trevi nel Lazio (Waterfalls) – Parco Naturale Regionale Monti Simbruini
Near Trevi nel Lazio you can visit the very popular waterfalls, the Cascate di Trevi nel Lazio. It’s a great trail, which is actually close to the region of Abruzzo, but still great for a day trip to go hiking near Rome and definitely a beautiful area!
10. Monte Navegna – Riserva Naturale Regionale del Monte Navegna e Monte Cervia
If you’re looking for the best views (who isn’t!), then you will enjoy Monte Navegna. The lake view, surrounded by mountains, is unique and stunningly beautiful. Located in the province of Rieti, this trail is perfect for hikers who are looking for that epic feeling.
9. Appian Way – Start at Parco regionale dell’Appia antica, arrive at Parco Regionale dei Castelli Romani
Hiking along the Appian Way, one of the most important ancient roads – also known as the "Queen of Roads" is a unique, almost spiritual experience. You’re not only hiking near Rome, but actually, you start right from Rome. A good part of the ancient road has been restored and it’s possible to organize a real pilgrimage from Rome to the Pope’s summer residence in Castel Gandolfo – which is a small town in the hills above Rome, with a beautiful volcanic lake and incredible views. It’s not suited for beginners, as the trail is 21 kilometers (13 miles) long, but it’s definitely worth it and certainly a hike through time you won’t find anywhere else.
8. Parco degli Aquedotti – Parco regionale dell’Appia antica
There is no need to travel far away to enjoy your daily dose of nature and experience a good hike. The Aqueduct Park (Parco degli Aquedotti) is a park like no other – several Roman aqueducts (and those renovated later by Pope Sixtus V and others) cross this park, giving it a unique, epic, and important feel. On most days you can see the mountains in the east, from which most aqueducts sourced their water.
7. Marturanum Park – Parco Regionale Marturanum
If you love archeology, Indiana Jones, and would love to explore Etruscan tombs in the middle of the forest – then this hike is just what the doctor ordered! Located at Barbarano Romano (Viterbo), inside the Parco Regionale Marturanum you can experience exactly that! As you descend into the forest valley, you start immersing into the world of the Etruscans, which pre-dated the Romans by almost 1000 years – adventure awaits!
6. Waterfalls of Cerveteri and Necropoli della Banditaccia (Unesco site since 2004)
Ok, actually these are two different trails, but you’ll love them both. The waterfalls of Cerveteri and the Necropolis of Banditaccia, an Etruscan necropolis, give you both the best of nature and history. These are great options for going hiking near Rome, especially if you love waterfalls or Etruscan history!
5. Monte Catillo – Tivoli – Parco dei Monti Lucretili
Monte Catillo is more of a nature reserve than a single mountain, but the nature is beautiful, you get a chance to observe animals in the open (notably the ancient Maremmana cows), walk through a cork wood, and enjoy fantastic views of Tivoli and beyond. On your way back you will be able to watch an impressive waterfall and Tivoli in itself is already worth the trip. The best: Tivoli is well-connected by train. To sum up: Certainly one of the best options if you want to go hiking near Rome!
4. Monte Circeo – Parco Nazionale del Circeo
Peaks, panorama, and the sea – where can you get all of that at once? On Monte Circeo! While at first it seems that this mountain – once an island – isn’t that high, it actually is considered one of the more challenging trails in Lazio. In fact, only experts should attempt the ascent on the steep (and dangerous) ridge. This mountain is also an important wildlife stopover for migrating birds – if you love birdwatching, this is a real paradise, as many species from all over the world take a break here, to continue migrating South or North, depending on the time of year. To protect the birds and other species, the park sometimes limits access to the trails without a guide, so make sure to check out their website before visiting, to ensure you won’t run into problems.
3. Monte Gennaro – Parco dei Monti Lucretili
If you’re into a real wilderness and yet want to go hiking near Rome, then you will love the Lucretili Mountains, and in particular the trail from Prato Favale to Monte Gennaro. Why? From the rocky limestone terrain to the karst meadows, wild cows and horses, and monumental trees (up to 400 years old), this trail easily satisfies the need for adventure! Careful, the limestone gets extremely slippery on or after rainy days and should be avoided on those days.
2. Albano Laziale to Lake Nemi – Parco Regionale dei Castelli Romani
Two volcanic lakes, a forest, secret caves, Roman cisterns, a monastery, a medieval town, and lots of local legends, myths, and stories. And it’s accessible by train! To get to the town of Albano Laziale (where the trail begins), simply take one of the trains from Termini train station in Rome. This hike is perfect if you love scenic views, and forests and want to learn more about the area where the very first indigenous people of Lazio and Rome came from.
1. Lago della Duchessa – Riserva regionale Montagne della Duchessa
Love mountain lakes? Then check out this popular hiking destination. Hiking around the Duchessa lake, located in the Rieti province, is considered one of the – if not the most beautiful hiking experiences – in Central Italy (of course this is highly subjective, but nevertheless it’s definitely a very beautiful trail). The surrounding views are incredible, but unfortunately the lake is slowly disappearing due to climate change – so the best time to visit is now!
So where do you go from here?
Obviously there are many more trails to discover and you can find several official park maps and more on my Park Locator page.
Of course you can always get in touch if you like to avail of my expertise as a hiking guide and want to let me take care of all safety and organizational aspects, so that you can simply enjoy the experience care-free.
As always: Stay fit, hike a bit! 👋🤠