Sentier l'Ile Rousse - Corte: Path Condition?


Posted: Thu, Oct 19, 2017, 11:45

Has anyone on here ever walked the Sentier l'Ile Rousse - Corte long-distance route and can relay their experience of it? What is the current state of way-marking, or possibilities for camping and buying food and water along the trail for example?

I'm looking to do one of the less busy long-distance routes the L’Île de Beauté has to offer next spring and like the sound of this one.



Posted: Sat, Oct 21, 2017, 7:01

Way-marking is in the average-to-good range (with paint stripes and/or cairns, few risky parts) but a detailed topographic map (IGN 1:25,000 / Top25, either online or paper) is advisable so as to avoid trivial mistakes, for it crosses lots of similar paths.

Still... don't expect the same 'quality' (or let's say 'ease of use') as with the famous GR20 or Mare-something trails:
- being poorly/infrequently curated by the people in charge, some parts are bushy/overgrown especially in the spring;
- few accommodation opportunities along the way (regular campings in the low-alt parts, a b'n'b at some distance here and there), save for the Sega refuge very close to the Corte end;
- even less shops to resupply (limited groceries in Ascu, nothing in Corscia...), and you must carefully manage water (natural sources and fountains are plenty, just find'em);
- as for the schedule, by-the-book steps might prove unsuitable as some are pretty easy, others are terribly lengthy and rocky and...

IMHO it makes for a great experience once you're somewhat autonomous, e.g. can spend 1 to 2 days in the wild all by yourself without going mad. I'd suggest it to anyone who has grown bored of the "follow the markings / the crowd / the well-defined path from one refuge / gîte / shop to the next" as the Isula-Corte trail ventures into some very remote, authentic, and scenic parts of the island. Not for the faint of heart.


French geologist with a soft spot for Corsica...


Posted: Mon, Oct 23, 2017, 11:43

Many thanks for the information SQFP. The autonomous nature of this route is exactly what I'm after. As a Masters student in GIS I'm pretty handy with a map and self-navigating so love getting off the well trodden track and away from the crowds (probably why I haven't done the GR20 yet to be honest!).


Steve Dan

Posted: Tue, Oct 31, 2017, 13:57

Hi Andy.
I walked the Ille Rousse in May 2015. I found the trail well marked, paths clear and quiet. I met only two other trekkers along the way, at an overnight stop at Bergerie Cabane.
The route is never marked as Ille Rousse- Corte trail. It seems each individual region has absorbed it into thier own particular network. You'll find signs for I R - Montecello, Montecello-Speloncato ect.
I'll gather my trail notes into some sort of order and post up a trip report over the next few days.


Posted: Fri, Nov 3, 2017, 9:24

Hi Steve, many thanks for your comments, I'm glad you found it clear and quiet! It would be really interesting to read your detailed trip report. I found another report dating to 2009, but I imagine conditions may have improved since then:


Steve Dan

Posted: Sun, Nov 12, 2017, 15:54


On the 8th of May I flew out to Corsica to walk this unfrequented trail, the last report from this route being back in 2009 .I'm carrying full camping kit, a basic compass, and the IGN TOP25 maps numbers 4249 and 4250 which cover the route. This is my account of the trail.
May 8th.
Jumping off the early afternoon train at Camping Monticello my first task was to find out if there was actually any sign of the route. Walking up from the railway stop and up a lane to the left, I soon found a signboard for Monticello-Chemin de Mandrie. Reassured, I looked in at Camping les Oliviers. The reception opens at 1600, so I head into town and buy supplies at the Spar and have lunch in the square. Walking back to the campsite up the N 197 I buy bread and a nice cake at the patisserie, then pick up Camping Gaz at the filling station. The Total, on the right, doesn't sell gas. The station further up, on the left, does.
Pitched up at the top of the site, plots 77 and 80 are nice.

May 9th. To Speloncato.
I'm on the road just before 8, turning left onto the N197 and then right onto the Chemin de Mandrie, following yellow markers and signs for Fiuminale-Cala d'Aliva. Another signpost for Casa Dieca-Arbu I ignore, this being a longer loop out into the maquis. Coming to a signboard for Boucle de Arlo in both directions, I turn left. This brings me to a spring, just a short distance from Monticello.
Now back on tarmac and approaching the village square, the route loops back behind the two churches to follow a small lane. I'm picking up both yellow and orange markers, and signs for the Chapel St François and Boucle de Codole. Just beyond these is a large dressed spring, the last viable source of the day. Continuing uphill to a T junction I turn left towards the the chapel. A right turn here is toward Corbara. At the chapel crossroads a signpost points the way to Speloncato in 3.5 hours. It's 10.45.
Now heading downhill, there are great views of the distant mountains and across the Regino valley to Speloncato. The markers are now yellow and orange tandem. After crossing and re-crosssing the railway the trail arrives at the D113.From here it's easy to follow the farm track, slowly climbing toward Speloncato. From the D113 the route is marked in the more familiar orange. Following the sign for the Boucle de Giustiniana makes for a very enjoyable lead up to Speloncato. A very green and pleasant trail. On the final steep approach to the village, I'm passed by a superfit trail runner and his boisterously happy Labrador. The first signs of life on the actual path all day.
In the village square there is the cafe/bar A Voute, a small restaurant, Les Gallieni, and the village fountain. Up a narrow street to the left of the restaurant is the boulangerie/epicerie. As it's Bank Holiday Monday , the shop's shut. It is also closed on Tuesdays. Tucked away in the corner is the old Spenlunca Hotel. This is the only accommodation I've booked in advance, everywhere else I'll just walk in and take it as I find it.
After a beer I check in and have a warm shower. In the evening I have the Menu Mediterranean at the Gallieni. Grilled vegetable salad, grilled sea bream, and fromage with fig comfit. A small bottle of red brings the bill to 39eu.

May 10th. To the Maison Forestierre Tartagine-Melaja
All quiet in the square at 6pm. I've bubbled up a coffee and I'm watching the House Martins nesting under the eaves of the hotel.Close by, a Cuckoo is calling.
In the village there's a bread shortage, the boulangerie being closed for two days. Waiting for supplies to arrive doesn't appeal, so I breakfast on coffee and pain au chocolate at the Cafe Voute and manage to rustle up a fromage Corse baguette at the Gallieni.
At around 8.30 I'm on my way, and pass a signboard for Pioggiola 2hrs 30m. I go a bit wrong when leaving the village and with no markers, end up on the D63. A local points me in the right direction, back on myself up a small lane.Once onto the open hillside the markers reappear. On approaching the first stream gully, watch for where the path dog-legs back on itself to cross the stream. A more obvious path goes straight on and ends up in a tangle of brambles and spines. It's all pretty straightforward from here and after three excursions onto tarmac and just below the Bocca di Croce there's a good dressed spring. Once over the pass the route descends through shady chestnut forest and on to Pioggiola.
I'm looking for a spring on the way down but can't find one.When I ask a local, out in his garden, he simply nips inside and returns to present me with a two litre bottle. Enough to see me through, but there must be a spring there, somewhere. Further into the village there are numerous signposts indicating the variety of trails through the area. My chosen route skirts the hamlet of Forcili and down to the Pont Genois, before climbing up to the Bocca di a Scoparta. I take a lunch break overlooking the Melaja Valley, with great views of Monte Grosso at the head of the cirque. Down into the valley the path is at first following the top of an old walled terrace through scattered bushes and trees, before reverting to single track once back out in the maquis. I pass one very slow spring in the valley, where the path starts it descent down to stream level.
Once down at the Melaja stream the markers dissappear, so I simply follow the forestry piste, cutting off the hairpins where the vegetation allows.
The paint splashes reappear on the approach to the Pont de Melaja and from there its a simple plod along the tarmac, through some lovely old pine forest, to the Maison Forestierre.
Literally at the end of the road, the gite is in a fantastic setting. Deep in the pinewoods, overlooking the tumbling Tartagine river.
There's no one here when I arrive, and the place is all locked up, apart from the dining room. Two breakfasts are set out on a table. Bread, jam and coffee cups.There is also a chiller cabinet containing drinks. I pitch my tent on the small patch of grassy lawn, wrinse clothes and myself in the stream, then set up to cook dinner. A outside tap, plumbed in from the kitchen provides drinking and cooking water.I select a drink from the cabinet, a nice cool rose', leave cash and a merci for the drink and camping, and then enjoy my rather exclusive little table for one. be continued


Posted: Thu, Nov 16, 2017, 9:07

That is the trail I would love to do if I was younger! Looking forward to the next instalment.