Balzo rosso

The route explores the limestone reliefs of the western portion of the Palermo Mountains, within the SIC “Monte Grifone”. The area consists of a chain of reliefs bordering the Conca d’Oro basin on the south, with various peaks between 700 and 800 m forming a ridge, the highest peak of which is Mount Grifone (882 m).The landscape is characterized by its barren appearance, typical of the grasslands of the local carbonate massifs.

The flora environment is characterized by intense use in the past and the frequency of fires. There are sporadic coniferous forestry plots, while the most natural combinations, olive and holm oak groves, are found in the most rocky areas, generally less affected by fires.

The excursion starts at the horse-riding center of Oasi del Cavallo at Villa Ciambra, and with a cross street of Via Ciraulo, along back streets you cross first Via Altofonte and continue to Via Piana degli Albanesi, continuing in the direction of Altofonte for about 600m, leaving behind vehicular traffic and entering a forest road, accessed by request through the equestrian center. The dirt road rises on the slope, initially inside a coniferous grove, and after two bends, it continues on a trail half-way up the slope along the mountainside prairie, while the view begins to open onto the Conca d’Oro basin below. The path leads us to another dirt road, which continues along the middle of the slope and allows you to gain elevation gradually. On the right you pass by the Pizzo Orecchiuta, and crossing other groves, useful for shady breaks, you finally reach the Portella Salvatore pass, gap on the ridge of the main mountain system. From here, southwards, there is an enchanting setting of small summit valleys and calcareous reliefs.
After a pond near the pass opening, you descend with a dirt road into the summit valley called Vallecola Balzo Rosso, which takes its name from the summit towards which we are heading by climbing another valley, finding ourselves in a very beautiful setting. You reach the ridge below the top of the Balzo Rosso, with a new view overlooking the plain
of Palermo and the Conca d’Oro basin with views over Mount Cuccio, Capo Gallo and Mount Pellegrino. You descend with a slightly different route, reaching the Valle del Fico, where, with a trail half-way along the slope, you return among coniferous groves to the starting point.