Hiking to the Lakes of Melu and Capitellu in Corte
Access via the Restonica
The access by car is a little more than 10km from Corte, up the Restonica valley amidst the pines to a dirt parking lot. After passing a sheepfold, you ascend to the river upstream on a perfectly clear, flexible, and pleasant ground. The valley is made up of sparse pines and rocks dominated by remarkable peaks such as the Lombarducciu which stands at 2261 meters opposite Melu or Capitello at 2245 meters. Just a few meters below, the river flows almost all along the ascent to the Melo lake.
The hike to Lake Melo is coupled with that to Capitellu as 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 athletic, with a difference in altitude of 200 meters.
Difficulty of the Hike
The level of difficulty to reach Lake Melo is medium and increases to reach Lake Capitello. The hike is not suitable for young children due to rocky passages that require good supports.
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.
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.