Capu Rossu, the red cape
, is situated at the west coast of Corse between the villages of Cargèse
in the south and Porto
in the north. The cape is the southern limitation of the Golfe de Porto
, in my opinion one of the most intriguing places of this beautiful island. Overlooking Golfe de Porto on a sunny day you will know why the old greeks called this island “Kalliste”, the Beauty.
Capu Rossu, seen from the trailhead (05-07-2007)
Capu Rossu offers a short but impressive hike. You climb the 331 m high rock and can get onto an old Genovese watchtower, called Tour de Turghiu
, which offers breathtaking views.
Due to the mediterranean climate and the minor hight of the summit, Capu Rossu is a whole years hike. As there is no shadow on this trip choose your time well. In summer this hike should be done (and can easily be done) in the morning or in the evening.
My favourite time is the evening, when the low sun makes the red granite burning.
To reach the trailhead you have to get to the beautiful village of Piana
. You reach Piana on the road D 81
from Porto or Cargèse / Ajaccio.
From the Corte - Ponte Leccia valley, the central valley of the island use road D 84
to Porto and continue on D 81
. As all roads on Corse are winding endlessly it will last quite a time to get there from far away. Better choose a central place to stay on the westcoast for several undertakings; there are so many hikes and beaches to explore.
At Piana central place choose the road D 824
leading to the Plage d´Arone
, a beautiful sand beach. This local road winds along the north slope of the southern Golfe de Porto limitation in mainly western direction. There are breathtaking vista points
along this road. When it starts to descent and turns more to a southern direction there is a parking area on the right side. This is the trailhead.
You can reach the trailhead by bicycle, too. Best is by car.
I don´t know if there is a public bus service and how reliable it is.
A view from Capu Rossu (05-07-2007)
Capu Rossu is located within the "Site Naturel de Capu Rossu".
There are no fees. Camping is forbidden outside public campgrounds.
If you know any more limitations which are connected to the status of "Site Naturel" please let me know.
The trail starts at nearly the same hight (319 m) as the Capu Rossu summit (331 m) and descends first nearly to sea level before it climbs the Capu Rossu rock. The trail is well maintained and marked with cairns. At the trailhead you have a wonderful view of the whole Capu Rossu and its steep rock.
Capu Rossu summit with Tour de Turghiu (05-07-2007)
Follow the trail gently downward through some bushes and macchia. It traverses the south slopes of the cape ridge with beautiful views on the rugged and rocky coastline south of Capu Rossu.
The trail steadily descends to a broad col where you have a beautiful view to the north.
Golfe de Porto, seen from the broad col (05-07-2007)
You then traverse the lower southeast parts of the Capu Rossu rock down to the lowermost point of the trail (64 m above sea level). You there traverse a mostly dried out creek. There is a house with a red roof nearby.
The ascent via the south slope of Capu Rossu is not difficult. There is some really easy rock scramble involved on the beautiful and interesting red granite. The route, marked with cairns, constantly zigzags up and soon enough you have reached the summit with the huge watchtower.
The views are really awesome. You have the whole Golfe de Porto in front of you. If you are lucky and the weather is clear you can see towering Paglia Orba rising high above the see level in the background of the Golfe.
Golfe de Porto and Paglia Orba from Tour de Turghiu (05-07-2007)
The northern cape of Golfe de Porto, Cap Senino with the twin mountain of Monte Senino and Punta Castellaciu gives an interesting contrast to Capu Rossu.
Choose the same trail back. Go bathing at the Plage d´Arone by following the road D 824 from the trailhead parking area down to the sea.
There is an alternative route for those who like a little rock challenge. It is marked with rock cairns, too, but steeper and more difficult than the normal route.
It starts at the end of the broad col before traversing the southeast slope of Capu Rossu rock. A small trail follows the southeast ridge up to the rocks of Capu Rossu. Follow the cairns straight up; the climbing should not exceed UIAA grade I. Before you reach a secondary summit you have to traverse some slabs to the left. Go straight up then into a col between the secondary and the main summit (awesome view of the watchtower standing high over a perpendicular rock face). Follow the cairns to the left again to gain the main summit via easy rock steps. This can be a nice alternative descent route, too.
Wild cape coastline (05-07-2007)
there are all kinds of accomodations like hotels, appartments, holyday 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
The rugged coast south of the cape (05-07-2007)
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 Capu Rossu hike you need
IGN topographic map, 1 : 25.000, number 4150 OT, Porto - Calanche de Piana