The Gorges de Spelunca stretches between the villages of Evisa (east) and Ota (west), east of Porto in the western part of the Corse island. It is a rather short canyon of about 2 km of length, deeply cut into the granite massive of central Corse. From Evisa (876 m) it is about 650 m of altitude difference to the bottom of the canyon. The Tra Mare e Monti trail makes the canyon accessible for hikers.
Most hikers do the canyon as a one way trip and return to their trailhead by taxi, a second car or they try to hitchhike. But you can do this hike back and forth, too.
For this hike you can start at Evisa, Ota or at the Ponte Vecchiu near Ota. Each trailhead offers some parking areas.
The next railroad stations are quite far away. I don´t know if there is a regular public bus service to one of the trailheads.
Most people start from Evisa to experience the canyon by descending it. Evisa is a remote mountain village which can be reached by car, using the
- road D 84 east from the central Corse valley (from Corte or Ponte Leccia on road N 193 to Francardo, at Francardo follow D 84)
- road D 84 west from Porto / west coast
- road D 70 from Sagone / west coast
There are possibilities to park the car at the lower western end of Evisa. The trailhead is at the cemetery about 500 m west of Evisa along the D 84.
Road D 84 between Evisa and Ota offers spectacular views into the canyon. There are several turnouts for foto-hikers.
This trailhead is at the lowest point of the whole hike. The road D 124 connects road D 84 with the village of Ota. Use D 124 in the direction of Ota at the D 84 / D 124 intersection between Porto and Evisa and follow D 124 down the valley. The Ponte Vecchiu, a wonderful old Genovese stone bridge over Rivière de Porto, offers some parking possibilities at the switchback of the road, where it crosses the river.
The trailhead is on the orographic left side of the river.
Ota is a mountain village near Porto. It can be reached by car following D 124 from Porto or from the above mentioned intersection with D 84. Look out for places to park your car inside the village. The trailhead is in the more western parts of the village. Use the lowermost road of the village from the intersection with road D 124; it will lead to an old and partly overgrown farm road which descends to the Ponte Vecchiu.
Red Tape, Mountain Coditions
Gorges de Spelunca is part of the Parc Naturel Regional de Corse.
No fees as far as I know.
Gorges de Spelunca is a whole years hike, due to the Mediterranean climate and the moderate height. As there is sufficient shadow and refreshing ponds within the canyon it is a good summer hike, too. During hot periods do it as a descent from Evisa. This is much more fun!
You need normal hiking gear, good hiking boots and your swimming trunk / bikini.
The route is here described from Evisa to Ota, the most common direction.
The trail starts at the cemetery, west of Evisa. Follow road D 84 until you reach the cemetery. The trailhead is signposted, the trail is marked with orange markings. It starts descending the northwestern slopes of the mountain plateau on which Evisa is erected. It leads through dense woods with some nice views into the canyon.
After half an hour the trail gets steeper and zigzags down to the valley bottom, passing steep rockfaces, rock spires and nice vista points. The trail is very good maintained, in some parts erected on a sort of stone walls for extra stabilisation.
The trail reaches the valley bottom at Pont de Zaglia, an old and beautiful Genovese stone bridge, thus showing that the trail was an old and important communication road in former times. You cross Pont de Zaglia and follow the trail on the orographic left side of the canyon. The trail cuts through stone and rock faces, balances atop of granite slabs and offers from time to time access to beautiful bathing ponds.
At last it reaches the road D 124 at the end of the canyon. From there you can go back to Evisa, using the same trail, or try to return there by car.
For Ota cross the road and pass a sports field on its right (north) side, thus gaining a short trail which leads to the spectacular Ponte Vecchiu, a daring bridge, overstretching the river in one high stone arch. Below the bridge there is a huge and normally crowded bathing pond. Some people jump from the bridge into this pond. Another place for a break and a good dive.
Cross the bridge and follow the old farm road on the other side of the river in western direction. Soon the road starts to ascend and traverses below the road D 124 the south slopes of Capu di Larata. At last it reaches the lowermost parts of Ota and, after a steep ascend, the central place of this nice mountain villages. There are some restaurants and bars with terraces for a little refreshment. At the bars you can order a taxi to go back to Evisa, if you need that (quite expensive, better if you are a party of three or four).
Breathtaking views on the Capu d´Ortu from Ota; from this side the summit is an incredible rock.
- Evisa (see different hotels, campgrounds, Gites and Gites d´Etape site son Google),
- Ota (see different Gites and Gites d´Etape site son Google)
there are all kinds of accomodations like hotels, appartments, holiday houses, campgrounds and gites d´etape for hikers.
Apartments and houses can be rented e.g. by Gites de France.
Camping is possible only on public campgrounds. Don´t try camping elsewhere !
Maps and Guides
A good guide for beginning hikers on Corse is
>Korsika; Die schönsten Küsten- und Bergwanderungen
Available in German, English and French.
The topographic map serial of the Institut Geographique National (IGN) is very useful for your hiking activities on Corse. They have the 1 : 25.000 scale and are very detailed. Unfortunately you need about 20 maps to cover the whole island.
For the Gorges de Spelunca hike you need
IGN topographic map, 1 : 25.000, number 4150 OT, Porto - Calanche de Piana