Technical difficulty   Moderate

Coordinates 480

Uploaded April 28, 2013

Recorded April 2013

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2,656 f
731 f
0
1.6
3.2
6.47 mi

Viewed 4099 times, downloaded 78 times

near Barkanesh, Durrës (Albania)

The Ishmi River Canyon - or probably better known as Zeza canyon - winds its way between Kruja and Gomnit mountains. There are two bridges over the Ishmi River - one at the entrance to the canyon, and one in the middle of it - showing the importance of the old trading route. In ancient times, part of the track used to be paved with big cobblestones.Today, the trail is falling into disrepair as the villages behind the mountain are more easily reached by new roads.

Zeza canyon is wild and dramatic, as it zigzags between the mountains. We had visited it before, following Endrit's trail (which also can be used to find the road to the trailhead). This time, we climbed the eastern wall of the canyon, crossed it to the other side, and returned back for a ballon hike through the Zeza Canyon.

This hike opened dramatic views towards Kruja mountain, and over the canyon, from close range. These give the hike a truly alpine feeling.

The hike generally follows existing trails, though they tend to be barely visible on the upper north end of Gomnit (between waypoint 6 and 8.

When reaching the crest of the eastern wall, the drops to the east appear almost vertical - simply continue a few meters along the crest and a steep but very manageable path will lead down.

Warning: At the waypoint 14-Difficult the trail is badly eroded, with a sheer drop on one side. The conditions are quite hazardous as the ground is clay, not rock. We suggest to alter the route as follows:

Either, from waypoint 12-Tree, continue east (down) until you hit the road.Follow the road downwards (north) until waypoint 20-A. Find your way down to houses near the river, there should be some wide trail. From waypoint 20-B, a good trail should lead back in Zeza canyon, and meet our trail at waypoint 15-Fork.

Alternatively, just 20 Meter or so before you reach waypoint 13-Path (you already can see a wide earth path, which shortly after deteriorates so badly), a smaller path crosses your way. We believe this new path has been developed to avoid the hazardous stretch, and that it will join the regular trail a few hundred meters on.

See image Nr 2 with the explanations.

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4 comments

  • Photo of Gams

    Gams Apr 29, 2013

    The ravines to the North of Tirana are little known and don't feature in tourists' recommendations either, whereas the more southern Pellumba cave is getting much more attention. The northern landscape is more challenging and offers fantastic perspectives as documented in this description.

  • geonomon Sep 22, 2013

    We have followed Endrit's route today with children until the second bridge. The followup is very abrupt, so you were brave discovering the loop. We found a nice pique-nique area close to the river just before the canyon gets narrow. We enjoyed the peaceful surrounding as well as our sandwiches.

  • Photo of TilManPlus

    TilManPlus Feb 13, 2017

    I have followed this trail  View more

    This is a really great tour, we can highly recommend it!

    We somewhat combined it with this tour (https://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=2362365) from Endrit - both tours overlap - due to the condition of the road leading to the trail-head. We only have a small car and about 1 1/2 km before the trail-head (and the first bridge), the road gets difficult to drive without a high car (that's the part we took from the other track). Altogether It's not the most easy tour and it does take roughly 6 hours to walk.
    Even though the description in the track is good, let me add some points that might help:

    1) If you want to do a great tour with wonderful scenery, with somewhat of an adventurous feeling, away from any noise (besides the sound of a mountain river) and people including some historical sights, this is it. =)

    2) Do NOT attempt to do the full tour without a GPS (the first part alone, up to the second bridge is not a problem) - the track is hard to follow without one and there are not markings along the way.

    3) Bring an offroad car to get all the way to the trailhead or stop at Kurcaj Village (there are some spots to park near the mosque), roughly 1 1/2 km before that.

    4) The parts between waypoint 5 and waypoint 7 are a little difficult as a landslide has destroyed sections of the track. You have to climb a little over bigger stones and up some dirt hills. Which also means: This is no route to take after or during heavy rain!!

    5) The climb between waypoint 7 and 8 is basically through the woods, cross-country. We couldn't find any real track to walk on and its quite steep. This is also the most difficult part in terms of physical condition. After that it gets a lot easier.

    6) Between waypoints 10 and 12 again, some parts of the track have been washed away/rerouted due to land slides. Just follow the basic route of the gps track downwards. The following part up to waypoint 13 is easy to walk, but hardly doable without the GPS - there is no real indication of where to go.

    7) Waypoint 14 is only half as difficult as it looks. You have to be careful because another landslide took away half of the path, but when we passed, it was still good to walk as some mountain goats had cleared a new path slightly higher then the original one (again no good part during or after the rain because it can be slippery)

    The rest of the walk is fairly easy and you can relax and enjoy while following a clear and distinctive path along the mountainside downhill towards the second bridge.

    Thanks again to Detlef and Gabi for creating this! It was a really great hike!

  • Photo of Palmtreeproduction

    Palmtreeproduction Feb 13, 2017

    Glad you enjoyed it! It is true that many trails change over time, due to rockfall or landslides. In many cases, the shepherds and their flock will create new variations...

    I would always recommend a GPS for hiking in Albania, especially as there is the very good basemap which one can load on to a (Garmin) GPS....

    Happy hiking, Detlef

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