786 – 786B / Belpasso – Monte Manfrè – Pista 701
Starting from the outskirts of the town of Belpasso at an altitude of 520, the route reaches the slopes of M. Manfrè, where a recently renovated municipally owned refuge at an altitude of 1,325 m a.s.l. As it unfolds for about 16 km towards Etna’s summit areas, it is possible to grasp the progressive transformation of the landscape. After leaving the urban area, through mule tracks and paths marked by the inevitable dry lava stone walls, it first crosses vineyards and orchards, accompanied by well-noticeable rows of prickly pears, and then enters the Etna area of medium mountain, characterised by oak woods and then by reforestation with larch pine. Many are the notable sites touched by the trail, including the “Ampudda di Piscitello”, evidence of a small stream that existed before the lava flow of 1669, the Cisterna della Regina and the Grotta d’Angela. M. Manfrè surprises with a deep crack where a luxuriant colony of poplars grows. The trail is a continuation of hiking trail no. 786, but it can be taken independently starting from the M. Manfrè Lodge near the S.P. 92 road. It first turns west of M. Manfrè and runs deep into its typical oak forest, then it crosses one of the lava branches generated by the eruption of 1983, which devastated most of the woods in the area. It then penetrates into a forest area first composed of chestnut trees, then, when altitude increases, of oaks and gorse, and finally, on the slopes of Monte Serra La Nave, by a splendid pine forest. The trail continues close to the Ariel Lodge and immediately after it reaches the State Property entrance gate of Filiciusa Milia, where the Pista Altomontana departs from.