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Cinque Terre trail for non-hardcore hikers

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Cinque Terre trail for non-hardcore hikers

Old May 31st, 2008, 05:42 PM
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kit
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Cinque Terre trail for non-hardcore hikers

I wanted to post some encouraging words for anyone who might be intimidated by some of the information (seemingly everywhere) that hiking the main, tourist trail is a death-defying act.

I found the trail to be much easier than I was prepared for. Full disclosure: I am 42...am not a "hiker" and am not very athletic. But I'm not completely out-of-shape, either. I've got a bum knee but lots of enthusiasm. Some thoughts below:

* The main trail, according the official National Park map, is Blue number 1. However, every marking you will see will be a red-and-white striped graphic with a number 2 by it.

* Do heed the advice to pick a dry day to hike. There are many steps involved...and when covered with mud, I suspect they'd be slippery.

* I took nothing with me other than my wallet and a bottle of water. I hiked the trail in my Skechers with no problem whatsoever.

* If you are interested in the path of least resistance, start in the south at Riomaggiore and work your way NW to Monterosa. This way, you can do the majority of the stepwork in the downhill way.

* As I did it (Rio - to Monterosa), the first leg is really just a 20-minute walk. You could do it in strappy sandals -- and some do. It is named the "Via del Amor" with beautiful views over a railing off a fully paved sidewalk. If you just want to take this stroll, you can wait until after 6 or 6:30 at night and the park ranger will not make you show a pass.

* I purchased the combination train-and-trail pass. You will be required to show the park pass at some point along each of the legs.

* I saw no section where you could fall off the side of the mountain. There are certainly sections that are single-track...but plenty of places where you can pull over, take pictures, rest and let others pass you.

The area is beautful. Do take the day to do the trail if you can make time. Stopping for lunch or a drink at each of the towns is ther perfect way to do this trail.
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Old Jun 1st, 2008, 03:41 AM
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Last summer, I too hiked the trails. I am a 50-year-old woman who, although works out vigorously on a daily basis, is hardly a hiker. I hiked from Vernazza to Corniglia with my 11-year-old son and stopped along the way for a drink and candy bar in a little cafe. We took the train back to Vernazza. My husband and 13-year-old daughter hiked from Vernazza to Monterosso and took the boat back to Vernazza. The following day my daughter and I walked from Riomaggiore to Vernazza, stopping in Corniglia for lunch. It was all very doable. I wore Merrell shoes, which were comfortable but did not give me the traction I should have had. Yes, I was hot and sweaty when I got back to our hotel in Vernazza, but I loved the walk.
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Old Jun 1st, 2008, 06:04 AM
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Kit,

Thank you for the great information. We leave for Europe today, and I can't tell you how many people asked if we were going to hike the Cinque Terre. I had not planned to go there, as I was worried the hike would be too intimidating/strenuous for a child. However, it sounds like it would be fine. It is such a beautiful area - maybe we'll have to make a side trip!

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Old Jun 1st, 2008, 08:04 AM
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I agree with Kit. I am in my 60's and not in the best shape, but did the trail from Vernazza to Riomaggiore in one day. I admit that I was glad to get on the train for the trip back to Vernazza. But by the next morning, I was up and ready to go on with adventures. It took us about 4 hours to do that part of the trail, including a stop for a picnic lunch in Manarola.

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Old Jun 1st, 2008, 11:02 AM
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Thank you for the information. We are headed to the Cinque Terre in about a week and although we hike quite a bit, I was slightly concerned about some of descriptions - especially the ones about my children tumbling hundreds of feet into the ocean. I'm glad to hear that we won't fall off the mountain. We do intend to stop for gelato, lunch and a drink in every town. It sounds like you had a great trip!
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Old Jun 1st, 2008, 11:51 AM
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I saw several children on the path...one was only 4! They all seemed to be doing better than their parents...
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