A short but exceptionally worthwhile route following the Restonica river from Corte through the forested canyon to the Bergeries de Grotelle where the road ends - this is the Vallée de la Restonica. It's an absolute must if you're in the Corte area.
Corte, often described as the heart of Corsica, sits midway between Bastia and Ajaccio and has a dramatic backdrop of mountains and forest. It's home to the only university on the island and has a long history which is evident as you wander around town especially so in Place Gaffori and at the citadel (1419). Corte served as Corsica's capital between 1755-69.
You won't be surprised to hear that this is a very popular tourist route in July and August so if at all possible choose another month - if it's a winter month check for snow and ice. If however you are there in July or August then start at sunrise and take extra care on the return descent.
Just like the Haute Asco ride, it is well worth stopping for a swim in the river on the return trip. Why not consider making a day of it? From the Bergeries de Grotelle (1,372m) secure your bike and, with at the very least walking shoes, a jacket and some supplies, walk the circuit taking in Lacs Melu (1,711m) and Capitellu (1,930m). I would suggest you allow a time budget of 3-4 hours to complete the walk which is very worthwhile. The burgerie is open most of the year but in the quieter times you can check before you set off.
Back to the cycling... the route is short and steep as you can see from the profile. The average outward gradient is around 5%. Between kilometres 4 and 15 the gradient averages 8%. The main challenge is at the 10km mark where you have half a km at 14%.
Some friends from the States rode this route in June and they said,
"the Restonica Gorge was awesome - the grade was steep but we just geared down and kept cranking. The road was recently repaved making the descent very pleasant".
It's such an awesome route you won't notice the steeps!
© M.Lund 2013-18