Thursday, 2 January 2014

Hiking Zaghouan: Zaghouan Pass Long

Zaghouan Pass Long

Distance: 6km (+ additional 1km both ways to the top of the pass)
Hiking up: 280m (+ additional 180m to the pass)
Hiking down: 280m (+ additional 180m back from the pass)
Level: easy (moderate if doing the pass)
Time: 2.5-3.5hrs
GPS Track (without final ascent to the pass)

Birds eye views facing towards the south. The red line is the final ascent to the top of Zaghouan Pass

The best place to park your car is at the farm in the heart of the Zaghouan Mountains. It can be reached by driving up the road passed Temple des eaux (I will publish a GPS track and map shortly). As the farmer for permission as it's private land.

From the farm backtrack the road where you came from. After the second sharp bend in the road in northerly direction it's roughly 200 metres where the trail itself starts. It cuts back and ascends gradually. After about 1km you will see a big rock circle (to keep livestock) in a flat section (pasture). Here you make a sharp left turn. Take the time to find the proper trail, the beginning of it is not obvious. The path still ascends a little bit, hardly noticeable. You will re-enter the valley you passed in the early stages of the walk. The trail becomes more and more narrow as you go up. Try to stay high up if you want to hike all the way up the Zaghouan Pass (1049m). Otherwise you should traverse the valley to the other side through the forest. Don't forget to take a look around you. Jagged mountain peaks surround you, beckoning for more adventures! As you descend the trail becomes better again and reasonably flat. Only the last bit back to the road is a bit steeper, but nothing really difficult. At the road, turn right back to the farm 300m further.

Overview of the valley leading up to the Zaghouan Pass, on the right side

To get to the pass follow one of the many goat tracks up the grassy slope. It doesn't matter which one, they all go up. The terrain is pretty steep and slippery when wet. The 30-45 minutes slug up is worth every step. A clear day allows you to look south towards Zriba and further to Hammamet. North you can see the plains and the Tunis metropolis in the distance. Go down the way you came. Great walk!!

View from Zaghouan Pass, looking north

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