Etna summit hike an unforgettable volcanic memory
Hike to the summit of Mount Etna, Sicily highest mountain
The utmost hike over any other Etna tour: this hiking experience toward the summit gives to all the hikers an unforgettable memory.
An adventure on Mount Etna is one of those "travel bucket list" to fulfil during your holiday in Sicily, as it is widely considered one of the most spectacular sites to visit while traveling through this island: indeed, its constant activity attracts thrill-seekers and hikers of all kinds. Volcano enthusiasts will spend a day exploring Etna, knowing its history, celebrating a mountain full of life and activity.
This hike to the summit of Mount Etna is an intense trek of about 5 hours, 10 km distance in an active volcanic environment. The visit will be carried in a small group of 12 participants maximum.
An alpine volcanologist guide will escort you throughout the day.
Etna tour highlights
- Hike to Mount Etna summit active craters (10 km trail) at 3300 mt altitude
- Caving experience inside a lava cave or channel equipped with helmets
- Taste Etna's best products including honey, wines, liquors, and more
- Guided tour in English, with an official alpine volcanologist guide
The route up Mount Etna summit
Thanks to the cable car and 4x4 Unimog buses at Rifugio Sapienza (all tickets included), we will reach 2900 meters (9,500 feet) of altitude. Your Etna summit hike starts from here: you will be provided with basic equipment as helmets and hiking poles. Our alpine volcanologist guide will unfold all the stories linked to our volcano’s eruptions and major past disasters.
Your trip to Etna will begin with an easy walk that will lead you up to the base of the active craters, after which the route become tougher, as much of the trail surface is composed of loose volcanic soil, which makes hiking a bit more difficult. Under normal conditions the ascension takes about 1h30 minutes, but the route and the time spent around the active craters rim will be decided by the guide who is the only responsible for the safety of the group.
As you climb up to the upper slopes, you may find that the oxygen level gets thinner resulting in running out of breath easily: take a rest when you need to, drink water, and take deep breaths as it’s harder to breathe at high altitudes.
The tour goes on with a fun downhill on volcanic ash towards the craters dated 2002. The way down to 2500 meters of altitude it is around 7 km with ~800 m of vertical loss, planned on foot or 4x4 Unimog, depending on weather conditions.
Visit of a Lava Channel
Along your adventure you will also visit a lava channel, a natural conduit formed by flowing lava that moves beneath the hardened surface of a lava flow: tubes and channel can drain lava from a volcano during an eruption, or can be extinct, meaning the lava flow has ceased, and the rock has cooled down and left a long channel.
It’s also included a packed lunch that will take place along the way: if you had not been able to prearrange it, we will make a stop in order to let you get some of the traditional Sicilian products, followed by our guide, who will advise you on the various local products.
The excursion will be carried out according to the limits enforced by the surveillance in charge.
Our suggestion is not to use any contact lens, because volcanic gases and ashes can cause unpleasant irritations. For the achievement of this wonderful hike, you must be sure of your health condition: feel free to contact us in advance if you have any kind of doubt, in order to reduce and avoid any sort of useless risk.
In winter all excursions may vary on timetable and schedule following the weather and snow covers conditions.
Etna summit hike Statistics
The weather on Mt Etna is often unpredictable you should always be aware that weather conditions on Mountains can change rapidly and often for the worst. A good day at sea level is no guarantee of good weather on the mountain.
The journey require a particular attention, because of the specific volcanic area that it will be approached, subjected to constant gaseous exhalations and composed by an inconsistent soil and unstable rocks. The itinerary can be modified in different ways or interrupted, depending on weather conditions, emission of toxic gases and geodynamics of the volcano, the guide, who's in charge of your safety, will be the only one deciding and taking unquestionable decisions.
Etna Summit Hike Trail
- Distance : approximately 10 kilometers - 6.2 miles
- Ascent : 400 m
- Descent : 800 m
- Time : about 5 hours
- Difficulty : Moderate
Lava flow channel
- Length : 30 m
- Visit time : about 20 minute
- Difficulty : easy
Essential Gear and Clothing
- Hiking boots
- Waterproof jacket (with hood) - all cars will be equipped of light raincoats jackets
- Waterproof over trousers
- Trekking poles - all cars will be equipped
- General trekking trousers
- Caving helmet - all cars will be equipped
- Gloves or mitts
- Spare layer e.g. fleece top
- Food & Drink
- At your hotel between Catane and Taormina - Please give us the full address and name of the Hotel/accommodation
- 07h45 at Bar Très Joli, Via Aldo Moro, 39, 95029 Viagrande CT
- More pick-up places: quote on demand
The Essential Guide to Hiking Mount Etna, Sicily
To climb Mount Etna's summit, you must be in perfect health and have no physical problems preventing you from taking part the excursion that takes place in an active volcanic area, uneven routes and variable altitudes.
Even in summer time, Mt. Etna can remain snowy here and there, be sure to bring a few warm layers in case a sudden drop in temperature takes hold as you scale the mountain path. Although the temperature may vary, the sun is almost always brightly present in the sky, so remember to bring along plenty of water to keep you hydrated and some sunscreen protection.
Proper shoes are required for undertaking a climb on Etna. You will need appropriate footwear that can provide you balance on the fluctuating terrain of the mountain trails. Whether you’re carefully walking upon sharps lava pebbles or balancing alongside barren craters, you should wear sturdy hiking boots to carry you on your way.
Etna's volcanic Gases - Hazards and Safety
The walk and time spent around the active craters rim will be decided by the guide who is the only responsible about the safety of the group. As well as producing water vapour, volcanoes produce toxic gases which can irritate the eyes, throat, and lungs. The main gases found on volcanoes are Carbon Dioxide, Sulpher Dioxide, Hydrogen Sulphide, Hydrochloric Acid, and Hydrogen. If you have no gas mask present, it might be a good idea to bring with you a bandana to filter part of the large concentration of gases presents.
You will be given an helmet to wear while you are on the summit area, in order to protect your self in case of sudden and unpredictable explosions who can create falling debris usual from Strombolian eruptions typical from volcanoes like Etna and Stromboli.