Monte Cinto

Monte Cinto

Monte Cinto, with its altitude of 2,706 m, is the highest peak in Corsica.

The climb to its summit is quite challenging, as is the subsequent descent. Although climbing Monte Cinto does not require climbing equipment, experience in rock climbing or ferrata will come in handy. Some passages are indeed very rocky and very steep. If you do decide to make the climb, be sure to pack plenty of fluids for the journey.

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The summit panorama provides spectacular views, and in ideal weather conditions you can see the area from Rome to Marseille. On the south side of Monte Cinto is the Lac du Cinto mountain lake.

The ascent of Monte Cinto

There are two main routes to the summit: from the north and from the south.

The northern route is shorter, but the summit passage is more challenging, while the southern route, which goes over the beautiful Lac du Cinto lake, is longer but a little easier. For a trained mountain hiker, however, the differences between the two routes are relatively small in terms of difficulty. And a completely untrained hiker should not venture onto Monte Cinto at all.

The biggest challenge on both routes will be the not always stable rock rubble and the large elevation changes.

The hike from the north

The northern route is significantly more popular and also much shorter. It starts at the end of the road at the small mountain resort of Haut Asco, where there is a restaurant, hotel and two ski lifts. Haut Asco is easily reached by car on a good road, with free parking in the large car park at the end.

Much of the route follows the famous Corsican trail GR-20. For the first third you will go through a beautiful pine forest, but after that you will start a brutal and for less experienced hikers at first sight unfeasible climb through gorges and rocks.

That being said, however, if you have experience and fitness with hiking in the mountains, it can be managed with care relatively easily.

  • Total length of the route there and back: 11 km
  • Altitude: 1,353 metres over 5.5 km
  • Time (trained hiker): approx. 8 hours round trip
  • Route map

Hike from the south

The hike starts in the village of Lozzi at the local campsite and has two options. The first common part takes about 2/3 of the route length and leads to the old Refue de l'Erco hut. This part is not particularly challenging and runs between meadows, pine trees and rocks. At the old hut you have a choice.

Either you choose a much shorter route with a really brutal elevation gain, where climbing equipment is not necessary, but rock climbing experience will definitely come in handy.

The second choice involves a much nicer, but quite significantly longer route across Lac du Cinto. Overall, the route from the south is more demanding in terms of stamina than the route from the north and expect it to take a full day.

  • Total length of the round trip: 15 km shorter version / 18 km longer version
  • Elevation gain: 1,353 metres over 5.5 km
  • Time (trained hiker): approx. 10-11 hours round trip shorter option / 12-13 hours longer option
  • Route map short / long

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As the ascent from both sides takes more or less the whole day, it is definitely advisable to choose accommodation close to the start and finish of the route, practically necessary with the route variant from the south.

When to go to Monte Cinto?

Due to the altitude, the peaks are covered in snow throughout the winter. The first snow falls as early as mid-November and lasts until April.

The best time to climb is late May, June and September, when you'll find only remnants of snow on the summit and temperatures in the lower passes are not uncomfortably high.

Always allow for the possibility of rapid weather changes and at least a light rain jacket will come in handy even in summer.

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