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Trail Inspection: Collepardo – The Great Valle dei Santi – Monti Ernici

Hello outdoor lovers! 👋

Today, I’d like to share this little hiking gem with you: There is a surprisingly beautiful, authentic and raw trail in the little mountain town called Collepardo, about 1h 12 minutes away from Rome.

The trail begins in Collepardo which is part of the Monti Ernici.

The way I planned this hike was by hiking out-and-back the same way. It would be possible to construct a loop, however that would mean spending half of the time on a local mountain street which is no fun, besides being dangerous.

Highlights

  • Canyon-esce feeling
  • You hike inside a beautiful valley, along a stream called “Fiume” (which literally means “river”)
  • Beautiful waterfalls along the way
  • Caves (one can be visited with a guide)
  • overall a nice adventure (e.g. narrow wooden bridges to cross the river)
  • wilderness, raw and authentic surrounding
One of the beautiful views along the Collepardo "Valle dei Santi" trail
One of many beautiful views along the trail

Tech specs

  • Official difficulty scale: E
  • My difficulty assessment: Medium
  • Elevation gain: 320m
  • Elevation loss: 370m
  • Type: Out-and-back
  • Length: (7.4km official length), 13km (including deviations and exploration)
  • Time: 2 hours (official duration), it took us 3h29min (including rest stop and extra exploration)
  • Trail quality: decent trail signs (red/white flags) as of 2023, trail partially raw, but generally easy to walk on except for some slippery parts when having to cross the river, or when walking on rocky ground
Collepardo hiking outdoor canyon river valley 2
The official trail map at the trail head

How to get there

By car

For this trail inspection I used a rental car, which I booked through rentalcars.com. I picked a provider called "Noleggiare", which seemed to be fairly convenient, even when adding full insurance, which is recommended.I spent 37,08€ for the rental, which is a pretty good deal (during summer time that prices easily go up beyond 120€, excluding insurance).

The highway toll in Rome did cost 6,30€ one way, for a total of 12,60€.

I also spent 19,24€ in gas, so the total cost for the transport amounted to 68,92€.

You can park in one of the official parking areas in Collepardo, but it’s better to park directly at the end of "Via delle Grotte," next to the entrance of the "Grotta di Collepardo."

By public transport

Unfortunately, there is no good public transport option to reach Collepardo at the time of writing.

Itinerary

This trail inspection, shared with a friend, began at the parking area in Collepardo from which we made our way down a path in the southern region, leading us to a crossroads with Via delle Grotte. On a whim, we decided to veer off course and discovered a surprising gem: the Collepardo Cave. With year-round accessibility and guided tours offered at certaint imes, this natural wonder is a must-visit. And for all the details, be sure to check out their website: https://www.grottepastenacollepardo.it/grotta-di-collepardo/.

Collepardo hiking outdoor canyon river valley 3
This cave can be visited with a guide

But our journey didn’t end there. We continued on the official trailhead, heading east. The first thing we encountered was a small wooden gate used by farmers to keep their livestock contained. So, beware fellow hikers, you may come across some furry friends along the way. And remember to always close the gate behind you!

As we set out on our hike, we were in awe of the magnificent rocky formations that surrounded us. The sound of a nearby river soon caught our attention and became our constant companion throughout the trail. And with each twist and turn, we encountered a new surprise.

Collepardo hiking outdoor canyon river valley 4
Nice little waterfalls along the way

One obstacle we faced was a stream that had flooded the trail, but with some creative problem-solving, we were able to cross without getting wet. The trail then took us uphill, offering stunning views of cascading waterfalls, including one that was especially powerful with wind blowing in our faces from the force of the waterfall.

Collepardo hiking outdoor canyon river valley 5
The power this waterfall produces in February is impressive!

As we continued, we came across a few shaky wooden bridges that required some extra caution. But the reward was a peaceful rest stop with benches where we could enjoy a leisurely lunch.

Collepardo hiking outdoor canyon river valley 6
The perks of hiking

After hitting the trail end at the main road on the other side we returned to where we came from, but the memories and experiences we gained on this raw and authentic trail will stay with us forever.

So, pack your bags and join us on this adventure in the wilderness of Collepardo!


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