Sardinia's most spectacular gorge is flanked by limestone walls towering up to 500m in height. The endemic (and endangered) Aquilegia nuragica plant grows here, and at quieter times it’s possible to spot mouflon and golden eagles. From the Rio Flumineddu riverbed you can wander about 1km into the boulder-strewn ravine without climbing gear; follow the markers. Near the narrowest point (just 4m wide) you reach the formidable Hotel Supramonte, a tough 8b multipitch climb up a vertical 400m rock face.
To hike into the gorge, you’ll need sturdy shoes and sufficient water. There are two main routes. The most dramatic begins from the car park opposite Hotel Silana at the Genna ‘e Silana pass on the SS125 at Km 183. The 8km trail takes 1½ to two hours one way, so allow at least four hours for the return trek, longer if you plan to spend time exploring the gorge itself. While the descent is mostly easygoing, the climb back up is considerably tougher.
The hike weaves through holm oak woods, boulder-strewn slopes and cave-riddled cliffs. For a bird’s-eye perspective of the gorge, you could take the 6km ridge trail from the car park to 888m Punta Cucuttos. It takes around 1½ hours one way.
The second and slightly easier hiking route (14km) to Gorropu is via the Sa Barva bridge, about 15km from Dorgali. To get to the bridge, take the SS125 and look for the sign on the right for the Gola Su Gorropu and Tiscali between Km 200 and Km 201. Follow this road for 10.5km until the asphalt finishes (about 20 minutes). Park here and cross the Sa Barva bridge, after which you’ll see the trail for the Gola signposted off to the left. From here it’s a scenic two-hour hike along the Rio Flumineddu to the mouth of the gorge (four hours return).
If you’d prefer to go with a guide, Sandra and Franco at the Cooperativa Gorropu arrange all sorts of excursions and activities, from trekking and canyoning to caving and cookery courses; see the website for prices. Their base is in Urzulei, but they also run a small info centre at Genna ‘e Silana pass.