Sardinia’s wild and lightly populated interior has outstanding hiking – try out the Gennargentu Mountain Range, just south of Nuoro, where you can hike in the hills or see some spectacular canyons.
Punta La Marmora
The mountains are a short drive south from the city of Nuoro, which is an excellent base for the outdoors. Punta La Marmora is at 1,834 m and as part of the Gennargentu mountain chain, is the highest peak on the island. Located in the Gennargentu National Park, you can access the trail by driving along the SP7 from Desulo to Fonni, after which you will see signs to Monte Spada and Bruncu Spina (1,819 m).
To reach the trailhead, you continue along the tarmac road to the end (where the road has a traffic barrier – park there), and then walk along the road to where there is a rifugio and ski lift area below Bruncu Spina – here https://goo.gl/maps/E1ysBZNdZHS2. The trailheads (with wooden signs) start from there.
You can hike both peaks in a single half day trip, either starting by hiking up to Monte Bruncu Spina (where there is a meteorological station at the top), or first head southeast for Punta La Marmora. I started with Punta La Marmora and took the trail that ran along the east side of Bruncu Spina (which is to the right in the photo below – Punta La Marmora is the far peak).
Having come round the east side of Bruncu Spina, I reached this intersection marker (about here https://goo.gl/maps/N9S6McsPpN42) and then headed southerly towards Punta La Marmora.
It was a gentle uphill to Punta La Marmora, Sardinia’s highest point. The views are certainly worth the walk and there are very few remnants of winter snow (as of March).
From Punta La Marmora, I backtracked and then from the intersection marker headed uphill and north along a smaller trail that took me northwest along the ridgeline to Bruncu Spini (below).
Bruncu Spina has great views to the north – still some snow hanging around as of March.
The one drawback to finishing up here is that it’s a steep downhill back to the ski lift station at the Rifugio – basically over a downhill ski area if you go direct. It worked but you had to watch your step in places. This is a great hike that makes for a great day out of Nuoro – or wherever else you overnight.
Gorropu Canyon (Gola di Gorropu) is one of the deepest canyons in southern Europe, with walls up to 200m above the canyon floor. The trailhead (from the north of the canyon – there is a southern access as well) is located about 14km southwest of Dorgali, exiting the SS125. There is a parking lot located northeast of the trailhead here https://goo.gl/maps/oBGdPFxDdV82 or alternatively you can drive past it over the river bridge and then find a space heading south along the dirt road that runs up to the trailhead.
The hike starts in an open wooded valley as you take a trail south along the west side of the Flumineddu River towards the canyon. This was an out and back hike that took about 4 hours. As you are staying along the valley floor, it’s fairly flat.
You can see Gorropu Canyon form up in the distance with a fairly sheltered dirt trail to take you there.
You drop down off the dirt trail into the river floor, where there are plenty of boulders.
You can also approach the canyon from the south where there is parking and accommodation located off the SS125 https://goo.gl/maps/pvv6q7SL6yz