The Gran Sasso national park offers trails for walking, biking or horse riding. The views are fantastic and it's all so easy to access.
We drove to the ski resort of Prati di Tivo and parked near the main square. It was Sunday but most things were open and there were a lot of people there (but not too many!)
The ski lift was open and was taking mostly mountain bikers up to the top of the moutain bike downhill runs. There were a few walkers and climbers going up to the high trails and the high pitches.
We didn't use the ski lift, we walked west along the road away from the main square and took the trail that begins about 200m down the road on the left. The trail takes you to a small but impressive waterfall (cascate rio arno) at 1520m (about a 40mins hike) then on to Le Cappane (Huts) at 1957m (about 2.5 hours) and if you're feeling adventurous you can push on to the Garibaldi refuge hut (Rifugio Garibladi) at 2230m (about 3.5 hours).
On the main trail, not far passed the waterfall, you can make a little detour to visit the Cave of Gold (1680m). It's not signposted but keep an eye out for the cave on your right hand side just above a small wooded area. It's easy to spot.
From the refugio Garibaldi you can go even further and higher if you're equipped for it. You can also push on to the ski centre and observatory at Campo Imperatore. We didn't this because our car was at Prati di Tivo so we just returned on the same trail as we went up.
The trail is really easy to follow and you don't really even need a map and compass (as long as you stay on the trail) but general hiking gear is recommended (particularly if you go high up).
It's a great way to spend a day in the mountains!
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