Snow Hike from Omalos to Kalergi Mountain Shelter

Chania, Greece

Details

Distance

3.1 miles

Elevation Gain

1968.5 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Description

Added by Andreas Brokalakis

A highly rewarding hike with amazing views

Omalos plateau is at the center of the White Mountains sierra in western Crete. It is located 38km south of Chania at an altitude above 1000m. All around the plateau, several of the high peaks of the sierra stand creating an impressive scenery.

Above the plateau, at an altitude of 1680m, lies the mountain shelter Kalergi. Kalergi is the most popular and well-organized shelter of Crete. It is built on a privileged location overlooking Samaria gorge and offering views that span from the north to the south of the island. The shelter is an excellent starting point for a lot of hiking, climbing and mountaineering activities since from there one may approach several peaks as well as trails towards the alpine desert of the White Mountains.

The trail from Omalos to Kalergi is 5km long. There are two main approaches. The first one starts from approximately the center of the plateau and follows a dirt road till the mountain shelter. The second one, which I am proposing, starts from the southern edge of the plateau, at the position Ksyloskalo. The trail ascends from there roughly following the edge of Samaria National Park and meets halfway the same dirt road. From that point both trails converge.

The hike in itself is not too hard. In winter time, when it is the best season in my view to do this, you should expect snow from late December to March or April. Assuming that the snow is not too much or frozen and therefore can be hiked easily, you should need more or less 1 hour and 30 minutes to reach the shelter. You should have proper mountaineering equipment. However, if the weather conditions are rough, then you may need spikes or snow-shoes. In order to get back, you take the same trail in the opposite direction.

Apparently, if you are into mountaineering ski, going to the Kalergi shelter and then skiing to Omalos is amazing.

The mountain shelter is typically open during weekends. It may be open on other days, however you should consult the Mountaineering Club of Chania (ΕΟΣ Χανίων) who operates it.

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