Punta alle Porta is a summit of the Monte Rotondo group in the central Corse mountain range. Standing at the western end of the famous Restonica valley it is part of the Monte Rotondo - Lombarduccio ridge.
The Punta alle Porta summit is a sort of triple divide:
1. in northeastern direction the Lombarduccio - Capu a Chiostru ridge which ends at Punta Zumurlu above Corte and builds the northern limitation of the Restonica valley and the southern limitation of the Tavignano canyon;
2. in eastern direction the Monte Rotondo ridge, thus limiting Restonica valley to the south;
3. in western direction a subridge between the southern end of Tavignano canyon / valley in the north and U Fiume Grossu / Liamone valley in the south.
Punta alle Porta is not a prominent peak of this area. Monte Rotondo and Lombarduccio are more often summited. But the famous GR 20 trail passes just 150 m below the summit on its northern and eastern slopes and Punta alle Porta, though off-trail, can be easily hiked from the GR 20 trail and offers nice views over the Rotondo group and to the west coast mountains.
Punta alle Porta has several trailheads:
The best trailhead is Bergerie Grotello and the end of the Restonica road. This very narrow, about 15 km long road starts at Corte and overcomes about 1.000 m of altitude difference.
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 follow the Restonica signposts. At Bergerie Grotello there is a parking area. Another one in about 600 m below the Bergerie. Parking is very limited throughout the valley itself and the parking area at the Bergerie is not too large. So be sure to go there early in the morning. During weekends the road can be closed temporarily due to too much traffic or complete parking areas.
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.
Réfuge de Manganu
This mountain hut sitting on the GR 20 trail can be reached from several directions. Most trails to this hut are very long and a complete days hike so that you have to stay overnight:
-from D 84 in the Val de Niellu below Col de Vergiu via the enticing Lac de Nino;
- from Corte through the Gorges de Tavignano and Refuge de la Sega (very very long hike !);
- from the villages of Buffanaccia and Orto above Guagno les Bains (roads D 123, D 223); these are the southwestern and shorter ascends to the hut. You reach Guagno les Bains from road D 70, Sagone - Vico - Evisa, using D 123 from Vico.
Refuge de Petra Piana
This is another GR 20 trail hut south of Monte Rotondo.
The best trailhead for Petra Piana hut is the end of D 23 road east of Guagno. You reach Guagno via Guagno les Bains (see above).
Other trailheads, using GR 20 trail, are at Col de Vizzavona and Col de Campo di Lupo on road N 193 between Ajaccio and Corte.
All those trail are long and require a nearly to full days hike.
Refuge de Petra Piana is good to hike Monte Rotondo.
Punta alle Porta is part of the Parc Naturel Regional de Corse.
Restonica valley is a protected site.
A fee is required for parking at Bergerie de Grotello.
No parking alongside the valley road.
From Bergerie de Grotello
Follow the trail up to Lac de Melu. At Bergerie de Melu there is a trail junction: the right trail is steeper and more exposed and affords some easy rock scrambling. It is called Echelles (ladder), overcomes a rockface, coming down from Lombarduccio and ends directly at the shore of Lac di Melu.
The left trail is easier, without rock scramble, but with much scree stumbling.
At the enticing Lac di Melu there are two possibilities again:
The left trail climbs up through meadows and granite rocks to the Bocca a Soglia. Turn left there and follow the GR 20 trail along the east ridge and the northwest slope of Punta alle Porta. Follow the trail until you are exaclty under the Punta alle Porta summit peak.
From Refuge Petra Piana
Follow GR 20 trail in northwestern direction to Bocca Muzzella, traversing the southwest slopes of Punta Muzzella. Descend on the north side of Bocca Muzzella to Col de Rinoso. The trail climbs again to Bocca a Soglia and follows the east ridge of Punta alle Porta. GR 20 traverses then the northeast slope of Punta alle Porta in the direction to Breche de Capitellu. Follow the trail until you are exactly under the Punta alle Porta summit peak.
From Refuge de Manganu
Follow the GR 20 to the east. The trail ascends to the Breche de Capitellu, a notch between Pointe de Sept Lacs and Punta alle Porta. Traverse the northeast slope of Punta alle Porta until you are exactly under its summit peak.
Noth of the summit there is a notch in the north arete. A chute is leading up to this notch. Start ascending off trail through meadows, scree and rocks to the beginning of the chute. It is an easy rock scramble (UIAA grade I) up to the notch. Turn left at the notch and ascend the easy rocks to the summit. Return to GR 20 trail on the same way.
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 !
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, number 4251 OT, Monte d´Oro Monte Rotondo