Rouvas Forest

rouvas-forest-feature-image-bike-tour-crete-min

Epic cycling route at the most important forest of Heraklion only for experienced cyclists.


Landscape
Start point
Zaros
Distance
35,5 km
Altitude
1400m ↑ / 1400m ↓
Max / Min points
1326m / 321m
Duration
4,5h
Finish point
Zaros
Although the route is just 35 kilometers it is very tough as the total ascent is 1400 meters.The ascent from Zaros to the highest point at 1307meters is one of the greatest off road climbs in Crete.

In the first kilometers of the route and after passing the lake of Zaros we will visit the Monastery Vrontisiou. Stop to refill our Bottles with fresh water from the fountain outside the monastery next to perennial plane tree. On the marble fountain are depicted Adam and Eva in Paradise, the Almighty and the four rivers of Eden. Because of this fountain, the Turks called the monastery "Santrivali Monastir".

As we cycle up to the top, the view becomes more and more spectacular. The plain of Messara Asterousia mountains, the Libyan Sea and Paximadia islands. At 840 meters starts a pine forest that keeps us company and provides some shade.

From the highest point of the route the Forest of Rouvas looks magnificent, a big basin of 30,000 acres full of Oaks, Maples, Cypress, Plane trees and other. At the north dominates Skinakas summit and in the center of the Forest there is the small chapel of the Ascension where the dirt road ends and the path starts.

Attention: the path is not well marked along its length.

The experienced mountain bikers can ride the most part of the path, at some short sections is advisable to push the bike. At Agios Ioanis at the lowest point of the forest in the big glade with the old plane trees we can refill our Bottles from the fountain and ride the bikes again for a last climb.

At the top there is an impressively big mitato (shepherds rounded stone house). Here starts an asphalt road that goes to Gergeri village. We do not go to Gergeri. At 600 meters of altitude we go right and arrive back to Zaros from a dirt road that in some sections passes a landslide and requires a little more attention.

If you still have some power you can visit the small church of Agios Efthimios with the amazing view of Zaros village and Votomos lake from above.

...and explore Crete from your own!

Maps


Asphalt road


Dirt road


Single track


Carrying / pushing


Alternative route

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