OverviewGorges de Tavignano in lovated in central Corse near the town of Corte.
The Tavignano river has its source at Lac de Nino west of Corte and south of Col de Vergio. It runs down Tavignano valley and Tavignano gorge, passes Corte where the Restonica river is discharging into Tavignano, and cuts through the eastern mountains of Corse, thus creating another deep valley, the southern limitation of the Castagniccia area. At Aleria Tavignano flows into the sea.
The Tavignano canyon starts directly west of Corte. It is an impressive valley cut into the various rocks of this part of the island and leads up to the high planes of Lac de Nino and Punta Artica. The most interesting part of the Canyon are the first 5 kilometers from Corte. For a days hike this part is of main interest and easy accessible.
Hikers who want to stay overnight might proceed to the Refuge de la Sega, about 10 km from Corte where you can start interesting hikes in the Monte Rotondo or Punta Artica region.
The good thng of Gorges de Tavignano in comparision of the neighbouring Restonica valley is the lack of a valley road. There is only the small trail leading through this wonderful part of the island.
The trailhead for Gorges de Tavignano is directly at Corte.
You reach Corte in the central Corse valley easily:
- on road N 193 from Bastia / Ponte Leccia or from Ajaccio
- on road D 84 and D 18 from Porto, Sagone, Cargèse on the west coast
- on road N 197 and N 193 from Calvi, Saint Florent and the north coast
- on road N 196, N 198 and N 200 from the southern and southeastern parts of the island
At Corte keep in the northern parts of the city, north of the center and the Citadelle. Take the Rue Paoli northbound. Go left onto Rue du Colonel Feracci. Turn sharp right then onto steep and narrow Rampe des Zouaves and go straight on (Chemin de Baliri). There is a huge parking area (2007:no fees). The trail starts at the parking area.
There are several railroad routes on Corse and there is a rail station at Corte (link to the schedule).
Public busses are operating from and to Corte (see schedules here). A good bus link to Corte depends from where you will start.
Gorges de Tavignano is part of the Parc Naturel Regional de Corse.
No fees as far as I know.
Routes and Trails
To explore the canyon you use the trail “Mare a Mare nord” - Sentier l´Ile Rousse - Corte, one of the main east - west traverses for hikers on the island. The hike starts at a little chapel. The trail descends a little and then ascends and traverses the south slopes of Punta Finosa. This part is without shadow and very hot in summer. You have nice views back onto the citadel of Corte, the mountains east of Corte and the Punta di Zurmulu and Punta a u Finellu, limiting the Tavignano valley to the south.
For the first three km the valley is still broad but rugged and remote. It is a beautiful hike through thin pine woods and macchia with the many aromatic plants of the island. The trail then traverses two side valleys coming down from the Punta Finosa and reaches the point 760 m on the IGN map (about 300 m of altitude difference from Corte). The valley becomes narrow now and the trails winds along the north side on steep slopes crossing rock slabs from time to time.
After about 1,5 km the trail hits the valley ground at a footbridge. If you cross the river you can go on into the direction of Refuge de la Sega (1166 m). The trail starts ascending again after the bridge and the gorge broadens again after about 1 km up the footbridge.
Most day hikers take their break at the footbridge. In the surrounding of the bridge are many refreshing ponds cut smoothly into the granite rock, a great place to have a nice little refreshment. The best ponds in my opinion are situated a little upstream the bridge. Use the trail on the north side of the river, go on for about 300 m and descend to the river.
If you have enough time and strength and you don´t want to go back on the same trail there is an interesting round trip. But be warned, this is not a short hike (about 16 km long) ! You need the whole day for that.
From the footbridge continue on the northern, orographic left trail. The trail starts to ascend and after about 400 m it gradually leaves the Tavignano gorge, climbing up the north slopes of Capo Nero, a subsummit to Punta Finosa. After 600 m of altitude difference the trail reaches a forest and fire road with a hut. Leave the road after the hut on a trail to the right. Stay right at the next trail junction after a side valley, coming down from Capo Nero.
The trail traverses now the west slopes of Punta Finosa and reaches Bergerie de Conia (1593 m). Follow the forest road from the Bergerie in eastern direction up to Bocca a Canaghia (1770 m).
From Bocca a Canaghia you can easily summit Punta Finosa (1855 m), south of the col or Pinerole (1951 m; 1.500 m of altitude difference from Corte parking area !!), north of the col. Those are off-trail hikes but not difficult ones.
The road descends from the bocca in eastern direction and ends at Bergerie de Padule. Take the trail to the right which ascends slightly up to the east ridge of Punta Finosa. After tarversing the ridge at abou 1670 m the trail starts to descend continually down to Corte (parking area: 453 m). This is about 1.200 m of altitude difference !
At 1451 m you pass by the Arche de Corte or Arcu di u Scandulaghiu, a natural arch in the rockface. The trail is very scenic because of the views into the central valley and the eastern mountains.
You can do this round trip the other way round, too. But remind, the ascend to the Arche de Corte and the Bergerie de Padule is an eastern slope with full morning sun and no shadow. Better to have this as a descent and in the evening.
Accomodations, Mountain Conditions
At Corte 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. There is the Camping Tuani in the Restonica valley and several campgrounds around Corte. Don´t try camping elsewhere !
Refuge de la Sega about 10 km west of Corte in the Tavignano valley offers accomodations for overnight hikes.
Tavignano canyoun is a whole years hike; best should be spring and autumn. Summer can be very hot especially for the round trip.
In winter there can be a lot of snow in the Corse mountains.
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 Punta alle Porta hike you need
IGN topographic map, 1 : 25.000
4250 OT, Corte, Monte Cinto
4251 OT, Monte d´Oro, Monte Rotondo