Looking for a suitable hike for beginners and for children?
The Sentiero Natura Sorgenti del fiume Secchia (Source of the Secchia River Nature Trail) could be the right choice for you! This trail takes you from the Cerreto Pass to one of the most fascinating places in the Reggio Emilia Apennines, set inside the Parco Nazionale dell’Appennino Tosco Emiliano park.
Starting point of the trail is the restaurant at the Cerreto Pass, which also serves as a Visitor Centre for the park, where you can find useful information on the route and the surrounding area. The pass is located along the SS 63 road, about 17 km from Busana and 3 km from Cerreto Laghi.
After parking the car, you can set off on the flat CAI 00 trail that leads you through lush woods and meadows. Turning westwards, the path then heads towards the Ospedalaccio Pass, whose name recalls the lodging for wayfarers and pilgrims who crossed the Apennines between Emilia and Tuscany that used to be here in medieval times (apparently since the time of Matilda of Canossa).
The views of the Secchia river valley you can enjoy from this spot is truly remarkable. On the left you can see the Alpe di Succiso and Mount Casarola, while on the right there are La Nuda and Maccagnino mountains.
As you return to the forest, you come across a memorial stone from the Napoleonic era bearing an engraving about the French Empire that once began here. Turn left towards trail no. 671 which climbs up Monte Alto mountain and leads into or by the beech forest. That’s where the uphill ring-route to the sources of the Secchia River starts.
It is about an hour’s walk; I walked it when my son was four and a half years old and, between songs and a sandwich break, we made it all the way to the top without any problems.
On the way up, you first walk through the beautiful Prataccio basin before getting to see the breathtaking panorama that opens up in front of you: a natural rocky amphitheatre, created in ancient times by a glacial lake that has now given way to a wide prairie dominated by the surrounding mountains. That’s where the Secchia River springs from the sandstone layers.
After a break to restore your energy in this almost mystical place, it is time to set off again for the return journey on trail no. 675. This route is a little longer compared to the outward journey, but also a very scenic one: it takes you back to Ospedalaccio, from where you can follow trail no. 00 again and return to Cerreto Pass.
The estimated total hiking time is 3 hours (a little more if you are hiking with children). The total height difference is 370 meters, from 1253 m at the Cerreto Pass to 1536 m at the Secchia springs.
Social Media Manager for @inEmiliaRomagna and full-time mom.
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