See the section for Italy of the Trento Bike Pages.

Monte Conero

By Gerald G. Fuller ( ggf@RIO.Stanford.EDU), Thu, 21 Sep 95
Monte Conero is an impressive mountain with an elevation of 572 meters jutting into the Adriatic Sea just south of the port of Ancona. It is featured in the book, "Wild Italy" published by the Sierra Club.

Monte Conero is a fovorite spot for local mountain bikers and can be explored by numerous trails. I purchased a trail map at the tourist office in the center of Sirolo, the small town just south of the mountain (scale 1:20000). This map only shows larger, jeep trails, and not the numerous single track that also exists.

There are many point from which the mountain can be climbed. The following route describes an "intermediate" ride that will only take between 40 minutes to an hour to complete. It mainly involves travel on the jeep trails with only about a quarter of it on single track. Clearly, once one is familiar with the mountain, many variations can be devised that include more single track.


Start at the village of Poggio, which is just north of Sirolo. The trailhead is found just off of the 90 degree corner of the main road at the center of this small town. Parking is readily available. If you have trouble finding the trail going up the mountain, simply ask any of the local people for directions.

Route Ascending

The jeep trail upward is steep, but rideable. The surface is very rocky, but it is not loose. This can make sections fairly technical. The way up is very easy to follow. In general, you are ascending the mountain in a counterclockwise fashion, so you will choose left turns taking you upward. You will also stay on the larger, jeep trail, and not take any of the numerous single track. Two items to watch for:
  1. At one point the main trail will turn to the right and you will see a single track trail coming straight down towards you. This trail is bordered by a wooden railing on the left. This is the trail used in the descent.
  2. Further on you will pass an abondoned stone house on your right. At this point you need to go left up a fairly steep climb, but this is obvious.
The jeep trail ultimately joins a paved road which you take to the right for a short distance. Straight ahead you will see a high gate closing off a military installation. The pave road turns to the right and there is a jeep trail to the left. The jeep trail is used for the descent. The paved road can be used for an extension to the trip that is described below.

The Descent

As pointed out in the previous description of the ascent, the descent begins at the jeep track leading from the metal gate that closes off the radar installation. Take this trail and take the left turn at the first fork. As you descend, you will be generally be going clockwise downhill. The main trail ultimately comes to a deadend at a small clearing overlooking the coastline extending from the town of Portonovo below. This is a spectacular view and I would recommend bringing a camera. To continue the downhill, backtrack about 20 feet to a single track that angles down from the main trail. It is a fast ride down to connect with the main trail that was used in the ascent. Along this single track, you may notice the very technical single track off to the right that will take you down to the town of Portonovo. I found that this trail was very humbling and is not part of the present route description.

On the main trail down to Poggio, you will come across a fork that you may not have noticed on the way up. Take the right trail down to the town. If you go left, you will come across an abandoned stone house I felt was worth a picture.

Extension of the Tour

From the trailhead for the descent, take the paved road down to a parking lot of a Restaurant/Hotel complex. The restaurant is actually reasonably priced and fairly good. If you have chosen a day when there are not many people around, you can ride your bike down a very fun, technical single track to a fabulous vista point overlooking a secluded beach many hundreds of meters below. This Trail is found by riding along the left side of an old abbey or monestary next to the hotel. The trail will take you to a clearing and at the clearing, take the single track down to the left. Although there are no notices against bikes, I got the impression my presence was not welcome when I tried this on a Sunday afternoon and ended up walking my bike down part way. On "off days" when I tried this, it was not a problem.

You will know when you have reached the vista point. This is a large clearing from which you can look down onto the beach mentioned above. To return, simply go back the way you came.

Hike Down to the Secluded Beach

The beach that is seen from the vista point described in the section above is accessible by foot, but involves a steep climb. From the vista point you can see the trail winding down off to the right. It took me 40 minutes each way for both the climbs down and up. If you bring your bike, pack a lock because you cannot hike down with it.