Sunset hike on Monte Joanaz
Sunset hike on Monte Joanaz (UD, Friuli Venezia Giulia)
When talking about hikes, people usually talk about the right time of year to do them. In the case of Monte Joanaz, in my opinion, the important thing is not the season but the time of day. Monte Joanaz is perfect for a sunset hike.
From Udine, follow the direction towards Faedis and then Canebola. After passing the town of Canebola, you reach the starting point of the hike: Bocchetta Sant’Antonio.
Where to park
To do this easy hike on Monte Joanaz you can choose two starting points:
- Bocchetta Sant’Antonio where you will find several places to leave the car. The trail starts exactly behind the little church.
- Madonnina del Domm. Once you reach Bocchetta Sant’Antonio you can drive 3 km further up to Madonnina del Domm, an old military area nearby. If you park there you can make the walk to the top of Monte Joanaz even easier by lowering the slope to less than 300 D +.
ATTENTION: in case of snow the road is cleaned up to Bocchetta Sant’Antonio. There isn’t much parking space and you may have difficulty finding parking.
*the length depends on where you start
Reaching Monte Joanaz from Bocchetta Sant'Antonio
Once you have parked your car in Bocchetta Sant’Antonio, you will immediately understand why this hike is worthwhile.
The view is breathtaking. In fact, in front of Monte Joanaz there are no peaks to hinder it and, on clearer days, the Friulian coasts are easily identified.
The spectacular panorama contrasts with the other element that marks the start of the walk on Mount Joanaz. In fact, we are greeted by a small church, very pretty to the eye, which hides a tragic past.
During the First World War, during the retreat from Caporetto, in this place, an Italian soldier defended the position to the bitter end to slow the advance of the Austro-Hungarian troops and was killed.
CAI trail number 765
Next to the church of Bocchetta Sant’Antonio, we find the CAI 765 signpost to show us the way. If you have a good pace, given the ease of the path, it will take you a little less than the hour and twenty minutes indicated on the sign. We have almost 400 meters of elevation gain in front of us.
The clearly visible path behind the church follows the gentle conformation of the hills. We step on an old bunker and walk towards the woods. Looking to the left, we can already spot the wide meadows on the top of Mount Joanaz.
The climb brings us closer and closer to a forest, whose intertwined roots form natural steps that facilitate the ascent.
If the path seems boring to you (it happened to me), turn towards the plain. You will get a taste of what you will see from the top and convince yourself to continue.
You will come to a small clearing where you will find other remnants of the war. You’re almost there.
To the hidden peak of Monte Joanaz
After a short passage in the woods, the path comes out on the forest road that climbs from Madonnina del Domm. A few more steps and the magic begins.
The trees are sparse and we have a 360 ° panorama over the plains and the mountains. We see Monte Canin, Monte Matajur, Monte Nero (Krn) on one side, Cividale del Friuli, and the sea on the other.
Each angle is unique and offers a unique glimpse of Friuli Venezia Giulia. As the wind sweeps the lawn and bends the tame blades of grass, it’s hard to decide which way to focus your gaze.
The hidden peak
It takes a little more to arrive at the top of Monte Joanaz.
Unlike most of the peaks, where the top is outdoors, Monte Joanaz’s is located deep in the woods. We continue walking on the forest road until we reach an open space where a sign informs us that we are on military ground.
Here the trail becomes very confusing. We try to climb the last few meters, but the track gets lost in the bushes, so we go back to the meadows to admire the sunset.
I can’t tell you if the situation will have changed by the time you read this article. In any case, I recommend that you stay in the meadows as the best view is from there.
Sunset on Monte Joanaz
When we return to the meadows the air is already peach-colored. We stare at the plain for a while then turn towards the mountains. Every minute the sky and the air are painted in a different shade of orange and pink.
We tighten our jackets and breathe the humid air. When the sun is a few centimeters from the horizon, we quickly return to the car. The soft bottom of the trail is perfect for running down the slope.
If you calculate the times well, you will be able to enjoy the sunset during the descent and you will get back to the car with the last lights of the twilight.
Monte Joanaz with the Snow
We decided to go back for a hike on Mount Joanaz after a snowfall and we were fascinated by the beauty of the path.
Monte Joanaz is certainly a valid option if you want to take your first steps on the snow without straying too far from the plains and try snowshoeing.
Even with snow, I suggest you take this hike at sunset. The nuances of sunset become even more exciting when reflected on the white of the snow. It is also exciting to watch the sea with your feet immersed in the snow.
Arriving at Bocchetta Sant’Antonio you may find a little crowd next to the church because so many use this place to try sleds. Don’t worry as you climb to the top you will see the number of people decreasing.
Do you need snowshoes to hike on Monte Joanaz?
Obviously, the answer depends on the weather conditions at the time when I would do this hike.
Since Mount Joanaz is close to the plain, you won’t often find meters and meters of snow. Just a few rays of sunshine are enough to dissolve the layer that forms.
When we visited it, snowshoes were NOT necessary. I recommend that you take them with you anyway. Light Crampons might also be useful, in case you do the sunset hike and frozen trail.
Why you should hike on Monte Joanaz
Because it is a less-frequented alternative than the nearby Mount Matajur, despite the fact that the view is practically identical.
Compared to Monte Matajur, on Mount Joanaz there are fewer parking spaces (perhaps the only downside), but also fewer people climbing to the top.
Furthermore, by moving the start to Madonnina del Domm, the elevation to reach the top is 250. It is an easy and pleasant walk suitable for everyone from which to admire Friuli Venezia Giulia.
When you should visit Monte Joanaz
In my opinion, Monte Joanaz is perfect for all seasons except summer.
If the sunset issue is a nice option for autumn, winter, and spring, for summer it becomes a necessity.
The route is sunny and it could be very hot. If you are looking for an easy walk in the snow, Mount Joanaz is just as perfect.
The whole area, including nearby Porzûs and the area of the castles of Attimis and Faedis, are also fantastic in spring..
Some last tips
- If you decide to do the sunset hike remember to bring torches.
- The top of Mount Joanaz is almost always windy. Bring a jacket in your backpack to protect yourself from the air.
Are you hungry after the hike?
Monte Joanaz is near Cividale del Friuli. Here are a couple of names where to eat:
- Agriturismo Barbe Blas: if you like old-style restaurants, Barbe Blas is for you. The food is rustic and genuine.
- Trattoria Chiosco al Ponte: a very nice restaurant in Torreano di Cividale. They make several traditional dishes including the ball-shaped frico, typical of the Cividale area.