Val Fondillo - Valico dell'Orso

This is a wonderful walk, possible even to beginners, in one of the greenest valleys of the park, the Val Fondillo, to reach a small valley up in the Valico dell'Orso.
Altitude: max 1672 mt.
Altitude: min. 1087 mt.
Altitude difference: 580 mt.
Ascent time: 2.00 hours
Descent time: 1,30 ore
Difficulty: Easy excursion
Starting place: the sawmill in Opi.

Main Attractions

The itinerary takes to the territory of the Abruzzo chamois, a very special, unique species, with the most numerous groups throughout the Appennines. In this protected area there are thick, picturesque beech woods with a white fir forest in the middle. In spring the meadows are a sumptuous festival of colors: the green of the junipers, the violets, daffodils and poppies. In autumn the astoundingly vivid, warm colors of the leaves, the beeches and the rare larches offer a rich landscape, before the snowy cold winter. (Photos : Ugo Ianni - Guida Club Alpino Italiano, L'Aquila)

The Itinerary

Starting place is a disused sawmill at 1087 meters a.s.l. in the territory of Opi, where a small path after 300 mt crosses the Fondillo stream on a small bridge, in an area called Grotta Fondillo.
From this point onwards, the track follows this clear-water stream. The relaxing walk is typical for the special environment created by the stream; here and there the branches of the trees create natural bridges, small waterfalls refresh the wanderer, and there are occasional pools. The track leads to Valle Cacciagrande, and in a small meadow there is a closed refuge, with a fountain nearby with drinkable water. After this meadow, you get into the shadows and lights of small forest of larch and fir trees beech wood, to enter finally the beech forest. Gently you climb up to a turning point where a red/orange mark shows the way to the spring of the Fondillo, in a place called "Grotta della Fate" a few minutes away, full of green, light and water, with flourishing hygrophile vegetation. Following the main track through the deep wood, where you often meet century-old beeches, you reach finally a steep mule path and after about 30 minutes you arrive at the wide valley called Valico dell'Orso, your destination: the landscape is astounding, you can see the whole val Fondillo, monte Amaro, monte Capraro, Forca Resuni, monte Petroso and the upper Valle di Canneto. From this observation point another itinerary leads over the mountain pass and to Civitella Alfedena. But you can leave that to another occasion and return down the same way you came, just one and a half hour of easy, downhill walking.