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Hiking to the Lakes of Melu and Capitellu in Corte

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Lacs du Melu et Capitellu
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Posted on 10/06/2023 | Updated 6 hours ago
Vallée de la RestonicaVallée de la RestonicaLac melo corseLac de MeluLac Lacs du Melu et Capitellu à Corte, le 21/10/2017Lac Lacs du Melu et Capitellu à Corte, le 20/10/2017
Lacs du Melu et Capitellu
18.22 km - 8h25 - Altitude : 817 à 1940m - Elevation : 1123m - Difficulty : 5/5
Randonnée en MontagneLacAdapté aux chiensLacs du Melu et Capitellu
Important Note: Part of the road has been washed away after the November 2023 storms, making it impossible to reach the starting point of the hike by vehicle to ascend to the Melo and Capitello lakes other than by a shuttle system set up by the Corte municipality 7 days a week from May 2nd to September 28th. More information on the brochure of La Restonica Autrement.

Access via the Restonica

Lac de melu corse
Randonnee corseRandonnee corteA surghente di nataleSurgente di nataleLombarduccioLac de melu corteLac de meloMontagne corteLac de melo corteMelo corteCascade corte

Hiking Before / After Storm Domingos

Before the storm, the difficulty level to reach Lake Melo was moderate and increased for reaching Lake Capitello. The hike was not suitable for young children due to rocky sections requiring good footing.

The storm that occurred in early November 2023 has changed the situation, making the ascent to Lakes Melo and Capitello from a moderate to a difficult level, tripling the distance and doubling the elevation gain. It now takes a full day to reach the lakes compared to just an afternoon previously. Below is a comparative table of the hike before and after the storm:

PeriodDistanceTimeElevation Gain
Before the storm5.8 km3h30544 m
After the storm18.22 km8h251123 m

The former starting point (before the storm) was located just over 10km from Corte by car, following the Restonica valley among the pines to a dirt parking lot at 1384 meters altitude. Once there, you will pass a shepherd's hut and ascend upstream of the river on a clear, soft, and pleasant path. The valley, composed of scattered pines and rocks, is dominated by remarkable peaks such as Lombarducciu, which rises to 2261 meters opposite Melu, or Capitello, which stands at 2245 meters. Just a few meters below, the river runs almost the entire way up to Lake Melo.

The hike to Lake Melu is coupled with that to Lake Capitellu since the two lakes are only 700m apart as the crow flies, a little less than 1km of walking. This last effort is also the most challenging, with a 200-meter elevation gain.

Accommodations on Site

Leaving the center of Corte and following the valley, you will pass by the Auberge de la Restonica hotel-restaurant, which borders the river, with service at midday and in the evening except on Mondays, and a large swimming pool. You can also get all the information regarding valley hikes at the 3-star Hotel Si Mea, which also has a pool and is located at the northern entrance of Corte.

Lake Melo

Lake Melo - lavu di Melu - is a glacial lake located at an altitude of 1711 meters and frozen 5 to 6 months a year. The Restonica takes its source at Lake Melo - itself fed by the Capitello lake - and covers 13 km before joining the Tavignano river at Corte.

Circular in shape with a diameter of about 300 meters and an area of 7 hectares, Melo is impressive in size. Its maximum depth is 15.5 meters.

The Most Visited in Corsica

Melo is the most visited lake on the island. It can be reached after an hour of easy walking with a slightly more challenging final stretch. However, the satisfaction of the view is well worth the effort. Nevertheless, it would be a pity not to extend the hike to Lake Capitello where the charm of the spectacle is quite different. Note the small indicated spring - A Surgente di Natale - at the edges of Melo.

Lake Capitello

Lac de capitellu corte
Sommets cortenaisLac de capitelloLac capitello corteLac de capitello corte

Located above Lake Melo, access to Lake Capitello is steeper among the rocks and requires good shoes to enjoy the beauty of this classified site. Perched at 1930 meters of altitude, the lake is frozen 8 months of the year. The water is clear, sparkling, turquoise in color, and remarkably transparent.

With a length of a little over 300 meters and about 250 meters wide, its area is estimated at 5.5 hectares. Its maximum depth is over 40 meters. Capitellu is dominated by the peak of the same name - Punta Capitello - at 2245 meters of altitude and Punta alle Porte at 2323 meters. From these high peaks, it is possible to spot the Golden Eagle soaring, with a bit of luck.

Lake Capitello feeds Lake Melo which is 200 meters below and is not visible from Capitello.

A Protected and Classified Site since 1966

The two lakes and their environment make up a protected site under surveillance. It is the agents of the Corsica Regional Park who ensure the preservation of this ecosystem in order to guarantee the natural balance of the place.

Camping, making fire, leaving garbage, or taking vegetation from the site is forbidden.

Carte IGN et dénivelé - Lacs du Melu et Capitellu

Cartes générées par VisoRando.com

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