|Location :||Crete, Greece|
Anavasi Topo25 (soon...)
GPS: Garmin Euro Greece v.10.03 Fam.
|Primary factor :||
Mt. Ida / Timios Stavros: 2456m
|Hiked :||May 2010|
|See also :||
...is one of three major mountain ranges on the island of Crete, and holds the highest peak - Mt. Ida (2456m). Other peaks above 2000m are; Agathias (2424m), Stolistra (2325m), Voulomenou (2267m) and Kousakas (2211m). This web page will describe a round trip covering all peaks except Stolistra.
On the summit of Mt. Ida, you will find the Holy Cross (Timios Stavros) chapel, built in stone. On the 13th of September, many find their way up the mountain and attend the service (led by priests) on the 14th of September - the Holy Cross day. A lot of information about the chapel and the mountain is found on the internet.
There are several routes to Mt. Ida, and this page will describe a round trip toute from the Nida lodge. The total distance is fairly long (19,2km), but (in summer) there are no difficult or challenging sections along the way. It's just a matter of taking the necessary time, bring enough to eat and drink and protect yourself from the hot sun. The total vertical gain for the round trip is 1500m, so do not underestimate the hike.
Spring and autumn are good seasons for hiking the Crete mountains (not too hot), but in spring there are most likely patches of snow left above 2000m.
On clear days, the views from the Psiloritis peaks are astounding. But on days with haze, you might not get the feeling of being on an island. And likewise - on the beach, you might not get the impression of Crete's mountain ranges.
Mt. Ida (Timios Stavros) (Internet & map sources: 2456m, N35.22635 E24.77075) has a primary factor of 2456m being the Crete high point.
GPS measurement read 2453m (on the ground), averaged over a 10-minute period (error margin +/-2m).
Agathias (Internet & map sources: 2424m, N35.22005 E24.78325) has a primary factor of 101m towards the higher parent Mt. Ida. The defining saddle (approx. N35.22356 E24.78135) is found 430m north/northwest of Agathias. The primary factor is calculated from the GPS reading on top (2417m - on the ground) and the saddle point - 2316m. This aligns well with Petter Bjørstad's Agathias estimate of 103m.
Vouloumenou (Internet & map sources: 2267m, N35.22244 E24.79765) has a primary factor of 45m towards the higher parent Mt. Ida. The defining saddle (approx. N35.22320 E24.78893) is found 800m west of Vouloumenou. The primary factor is calculated from the GPS reading on top (2259m - on the ground) and the saddle point - 2314m.
Kousakas (Internet & map sources: 2211m, N35.21750 E24.80961) has a primary factor of 45m towards the higher parent Vouloumenou. The defining saddle (approx. N35.21855 E24.80519) is found 400m west/northwest of Kousakas. As we did not pass through the saddle, the primary factor of 116m has been taken from Petter Bjørstad's Kousakas page.
Google's interactive map. You can zoom, pan and click on the markers.
These route description are valid per May 2010. All distances are approx.
Route 1: Nida Lodge - Kousakas - Vouloumenou - Mt. Ida - Agathias - Nida Lodge
The starting point is the Nida Lodge on the Nida plateau. To get here, you need to get on the old road (90) between Stavromenos and Heraklio on Crete's northern coast (the signposts say "Old road"). Follow the old road up to Mourtsana and turn southeast in the direction of Anogia (passing Axos along the way).
The small village of Anogia can be a bit difficult to navigate through, so follow the "Peripherical road" to avoid dealing with road forks inside the village. The paved road now continues all the way to the Nida lodge where you find parking.
From the Nida lodge, follow the dirt road upwards (passing a chapel). After 900m - in a sharp right-hand curve, locate the E4 trail that will take you up the mountain.
The marked trail climbs the mountainside (southwest) 600 metres (distance) before it turns northeast and enters a small valley. Follow the trail 1,5km up this valley and to a col at approx. 1900m elevation. The trail forks here.
If you want a round trip hike, then follow the path to the north. This path is not marked as well as the E4 trail that runs up a valley further to the west. This path does not run across Kousakas summit, so leave the path at approx. 2050m and head off-trail up to Kousakas. The terrain is overall easy. From Kousakas, stay on the ridge and continue towards Vouloumenou before joining the E4 trail below Agathias. Follow the E4 trail up to the summit of Mt. Ida. Make sure to have a look inside the Holy Cross (Timios Stavros) chapel.
If you do not want a round trip hike, then locate the E4 trail that descends 100 vertical meters to the west and follows a small valley upwards.
Descend via Agathias. The (off-trail) terrain on Agathias' east side is easy, and you'll soon join the E4 trail that continues down the valley. You will have to ascend 100 vertical meters to get back to the col you passed on your ascent route.