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Cycling Routes

General information
The Parnassos Ski Center is a special tourist facility covering an area of 1,160 hectares in total. It is located on Mt. Parnassos at an altitude ranging between 1,600-2,300 m. Comprised by two complexes, Kellaria and Fterolaka, it operates seasonally (December - April).Within the ski center’s borders there are four cycling routes (one downhill, two freeride and one cross-country). Three of these routes can also be used by hikers who enjoy exercising and have environmental concerns.In the wider mountain area of Parnassos there are two paths, the Ε4 European path and the National path #22. 
The long-distance E4 European path starts from the Pyrenees, and arrives in Greece through FYROM at the frontier post of Niki, north of Florina.It spreads through the entire country up to the most southern tip of the Peloponnese, Gytheio, to continue and end up in Crete.The E4 extends to the western side of the mountain.Coming from Gkiona it goes to Parnassos at the “51st kilometer” (the highest point of the road connecting Lamia and Amfissa).Then the route passes from the village of Eptalofos (Agoriani) to continue through the National Park of Parnassos to Delphi.Just above Delphi, the Ε4 merges with the ancient path.This part may well be the oldest path worldwide.Carved in the rock of Mt. Krokos rising above the archaeological site of Delphi, it was used since antiquity by the pilgrims of the Oracle. 
The National path #22 connects Parnassos with Parnitha.It starts from Agoriani of Parnassos and passing through the mountains Kirfi, Elikona, Korobili, Kithairona, and Pastra, ends up in Parnitha (Bafi shelter).
Parts of the above paths are also used by cyclists and are connected with the existing cycling routes located inside the ski center’s borders. 
Below is a detailed description of the existing cycling routes.
 
Downhill route
Starting point altitude:2108m.
Finish point altitude:1778m.
Altitude range:322m. 
Route length:1750m.
Average gradient: 17.8%

The Downhill route starts from the return station of the Iniochos lift and more specifically, from the shelter used as starting point for ski racing.It extends by the borders of ski trail # 6 alongside the demarcation posts for approximately 200 meters and after that it spreads outside its boundaries.For the next 150 meters, it extends parallel to the ski run until it arrives above the distinctive tracks of Fterolaka where it extends vertically onto the fall-line, traversing under the “chimneys” outside the ski trail of the Iniochos lift.At this point we find the two wooden bridges of the route.Arriving at the return station of the Pythia lift, it turns left cutting ski trail # 14 at the last but one post, where it extends outside ski trail # 14 heading towards trail # 14a.After entering the trail it spreads along its boundaries and near the demarcation posts, until it reaches the return station of the Pan lift.At this point, it stretches to the right of the lift and within ski trail # 10 and more specifically it passes through the Snowboard park to end up, moving beside the aerial park and the lower chalet of Fterolaka, at the embarkation station of the Iniochos lift.
This route may be considered as the hardest Downhill route in Greece and has been used successfully during the Parnassos Mountain Bike Festival 2008, wining compliments from all participants.
 
Freeride route 1
Starting point altitude:2096m.
Finish point altitude:1590m.
Altitude range:506m. 
Route length:3750m.
Average gradient: 13.6%
 
After descending the Iniochos lift, we move onto the dirt road leading to the cellular network antennas passing in front of the lifts Ermis and Dias.Two hundred meters ahead, above the road’s hairpin bend near the radio antenna, we see to our right the distinctive sign marking cycling routes.At this point, the park’s two freeride routes start and are separated after 1,500 meters approximately.The route starts in a well laid out and distinctive path with an easy gradient which allows moving fast.The view throughout this route is amazing since the cyclists can admire the Corinthian gulf and the north coast of the Peloponnese to the south, while to the east they can see up to Evia and the gulf of Maliakos.After about 300 meters the route descends a bit through a doline, at the exit of which and at 600 meters in total from the start, we meet the first of the two bridges of this route.The route continues with a downward slope for 400 meters approximately, until we arrive at the second bridge in the row from which we are able to see the chalet of Fterolaka.Riding forward the gradient becomes flatter and after a while we arrive at an intersection with a distinctive sign offering directions.We progress left onto a clear route with an even, continuous gradient that gives us the opportunity to raise our speed.After passing a characteristic part of the route called the rock garden, due to its rocks which look like they were planted, the gradient is slightly steeper and we enter the last part of the route passing through two anonymous peaks at the Adamoulka area, ending at the asphalt road connecting Kelaria with Fterolaka at the “Balalouka turn”.We follow the road to the right for a thousand meters approximately until we arrive at the lower parking lot of Fterolaka where we end our trip in front of the lift Ira. 
The above route is considered one of high aesthetic value.It goes through alpine and subalpine fields, characterized by a plethora of endemic flora species, which make this route ideal for those who enjoy walking in the countryside.In terms of rare and in general interesting species, the Greek fir (Αbies cephalonica), the main tree of the subalpine field, is ranked at the top of the list.In higher altitudes the only tree growing is the juniper (Juniperus foetidissima) with its unpleasant smell.Other species that we meet are:Stipa pennata, Marrubium velutinum, Festuca ovina,Alopecurus gerardii, Poa thessala, Phleum alpinum, Bromus riparius, Saturejaparnassica, Nepeta nuda, Festuca varia, Minuartia verna, and Astragalus angustifolius.
It is worth noting that this route may also be used for alpine running thanks to its gradient. 
 
Freeride route 2
Starting point altitude:2110m.
Finish point altitude:1577m.
Altitude range:533m. 
Route length:3050m.
Average gradient:16.6%
 
After descending the Iniochos lift, we move onto the dirt road leading to the cellular network antennas passing in front of the lifts Ermis and Dias.Two hundred meters ahead, above the road’s hairpin bend near the radio antenna, we see to our right the distinctive sign marking cycling routes.At this point, the park’s two freeride routes start and are separated after 1,500 meters approximately.The route starts in a well laid out and distinctive path with an easy gradient which allows moving fast.The view throughout this route is amazing since the cyclists can admire the Corinthian gulf and the north coast of the Peloponnese to the south, while to the east they can see up to Evia and the gulf of Maliakos.After 300 meters approximately the route descends a bit through a doline, at the exit of which and at 600 meters in total from the start, we meet the first of the three bridges of this route.The route continues with a downward slope for 400 meters approximately, until we arrive at the second bridge in the row from which we are able to see the chalet of Fterolaka.Riding forward the gradient becomes flatter and after a while we arrive at an intersection with a distinctive sign offering directions.We continue to the right heading towards Fterolaka and more specifically towards the materials collection station (red post with anemometers).We descend until we arrive at an alpine meadow situated lower than the materials collection station.Here the route disappears for 50 meters approximately, due to the low vegetation filling the path, and we move to the right to meet a bit later a sign offering directions.We ascend for about 150 meters until we reach the materials collection station.The route passes right next to the station and slopes downwards again towards Kontokedra location.Soon after that we enter a forest of Greek fir and cedar trees.As the path turns downhill, less experienced cyclists must be more cautious.Keeping our speed to the level of our abilities, we move in a very scenic environment appreciating the beauty surrounding us.Five hundred meters after entering the forest, we meet the third bridge of the route, past this bridge lies the hardest part of the path with a series of “closed” turns which in combination with the high gradient, offer a great challenge to the cyclists.We continue in a clearly defined path which merges after a while with dirt road #7 and runs across it (where the directions sign is situated).We are now very close to the finishing point and this part is ideal for gaining speed.The finishing point is in front of the three-seat Ira lift.
 
The above route is considered one of high aesthetic value.It goes through alpine and subalpine fields, characterized by a plethora of endemic flora species, which make this route ideal for those who enjoy walking in the countryside.In terms of rare and in general interesting species, the Greek fir (Αbies cephalonica), the main tree of the subalpine field, is ranked at the top of the list.In higher altitudes the only tree growing is the juniper (Juniperus foetidissima) with its unpleasant smell.Other species that we meet are:Stipa pennata, Marrubium velutinum, Festuca ovina,Alopecurus gerardii, Poa thessala, Phleum alpinum, Bromus riparius, Saturejaparnassica, Nepeta nuda, Festuca varia, Minuartia verna, and Astragalus angustifolius.
 
Path #22
Starting point altitude:1577m.
Finish point altitude:484m.
Altitude range:1093m.
Route length:11.800m.
Average gradient: 8.8%
 
The National path #22 is part of the national paths network and connects Parnassos with Parnitha.It starts from Agoriani of Parnassos and passing through the mountains Kirfi, Elikona, Korobili, Kithairona, and Pastra, ends up in Parnitha (Bafi shelter).
In 2008, when the cycling park of Parnassos was drawn, the path was cleared and landscaped so that it could also be used by cyclists.An essentially forgotten path, it was developed and made out as the most popular route for alpine cycling in Greece.
 
The starting point is the embarkation station of the aerial lift Ira#7.Riding north onto the asphalt road, we descend for approximately two kilometers until we arrive at the Polydroso – Amfiklia intersection.In front of us there is an ascending dirt road with a cycling sign offering directions.One hundred and fifty metes later we arrive at a subalpine meadow where we continue to the right, following the information signs.We are now riding on the main path.We cycle in a Greek fir forest (Abies Cephalonica), where, after passing the first turns beautifully shaped into burms, we find the first double jump (there is a gap between the takeoff and landing points), which we can bypass if we choose to.The same stands for all the other jumps that we meet on this route, offering cyclists the opportunity to choose the difficulty level based on their personal abilities.After 600 meters approximately, having passed one more less challenging jump, we cross the asphalt road at the Karkaveli location, where a spring with drinkable water and a small church are located.Two hundred meters later, after going across the road connecting Polydroso with the ski center, we pass by a pen operating only during the summer months, we follow the dirt road for about 100 meters, and then turn left following the signs of the route.We are now riding on one of the faster parts of the route and for the following two kilometers we move inside the forest.Small bypass paths allow us to opt for or out the structures along our way, which present however low technical difficulty.At the end of the two kilometers we find a spring with drinkable water, the Fountainhead.Here, there is also a rough structure for rest.Following the dense signage of the route we cross this area to meet after about 300 meters the second jump of the path.We continue moving for a while onto a dirt road until we reach a wired fence, extending at the side of the path for 200 meters approximately.In this part we must lower our speed as we cycle on a narrow trail between the fence and the stream.Further down we arrive at the first bridge of the route which passes over the stream at the side of which we were cycling.The dense signs help us remain on the correct path and about 150 meters further down we end up on an asphalt road, where we move right until we see a second bridge to our left, followed by a wooden burm.After passing an open water pipe, we reach a dirt road and we turn left at the first intersection we meet.One thousand meters later we arrive at Ano Polydroso, and we cross the village where we find a spring with drinkable water to our left.Exiting from the village we follow the route uphill until the first hairpin bend, where we continue straight onto a dirt road.The passable terrain allows us to gain our maximum speed on this route.At the end of the dirt road, at the Gounaraika location, we meet the St. Ioannis church to our left. In front of us, the wooden structure - takeoff point - can be easily bypassed from the left.An information sign directs us to the opposite side, to cross after 200 meters the asphalt road for the last time and enter the final part of the route.While moving alongside the road, which we can see to our left, we may develop high speeds and end up after approximately one thousand meters at the finishing point of our route, and the entrance of the Polydroso village where we find a spring with drinkable water.
 
Cross-country route
Starting point altitude:2110m.
Finish point altitude:1577m.
Altitude range:533m. 
Route length:10,000m.
Average gradient:5%
 
This route can be used in both directions.In the following description, our starting point is the return station of the Iniochos lift.
Starting from the disembarkation point of the aerial lift Iniochos we descend towards the cellular network antennas, passing in front of Ermis and Dias lifts and ascend ski path #17. After passing the antennas the road is divided, but whichever route we take leads us to the same point, so we continue our way and upon arriving at the peak we can see the entire ski field of Kelaria to our right and up to the Corinthian and the Itea gulfs.The uphill route becomes steeper and after about 200 meters we reach an intersection with a directions sign and the ski trail #11 leading to Kelaria, while 150 meters further up we arrive at a second intersection with an information sign leading to Fterolaka through Sahara (#22).Ignoring both intersections, and while still on the marked ski trail #17, we arrive after 1,500 meters in total at the return station of the Odysseas ski tow.We follow ski run # 9 for about 100 meters and at the intersection we turn left following the rugged dirt road, moving on the saddle of Arnovrissi, heading towards the disembarkation station of the aerial lift Iraklis which stands out in the background.For the next 800 meters the gradient becomes smoother.Arriving at the station we follow ski run #12 up to the intersection with the regional road, where we find a yellow sign directing us towards Fterolaka #24. From this point we see to our left the highest peak of Parnassos, the Liakoura with an altitude of 2456m., while to our right lie the steep slopes Yerontovrachos (2396m.) and Touborachi.Leaving Kelaria behind us we follow the regional dirt road # 24, getting past the banks of Arnovrissi and the Sahara ski run #22 left, having Liakoura and Askitorema to our right.After a total distance of 6.5 kilometers from our starting point we arrive at the Fterolaka ski center.Riding in front of the return station of the ski tow Pan #10, we continue onto the dirt road heading towards the embarkation station of the aerial lift Iniochos.After passing in front of the lift we follow ski run #7, which spreads on a smooth dirt road, until we arrive at the Pelekanies location where we find an asphalt road.There we turn right to arrive after about 800 meters at the lower parking lot of Fterolaka and the embarkation station of the aerial lift Ira #7 finishing our ride.
The route may be used in many ways.It extends on the edges of the two ski centers, affording in its largest part a magnificent view to all directions and is therefore very scenic.The flora growing along the route is extremely interesting since beyond the endemic species which one may admire, it starts at the alpine zone to end at the subalpine zone, offering the traveller the chance to grasp the level of biodiversity as a result of the altitude.Put together, the gradient, the altitude and the distance, can be considered as ideal for mountain bike and alpine running training.
 
The only disadvantage of this route is the lack of trees, almost in its entire length.For this reason it is recommended, especially during warm days, to be used either early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
 
Parnassos ski center – Delphi route
Starting point altitude:2110m.
Finish point altitude:638m.
Altitude range:1472m. 
Route length:31,100m
Average gradient:5%
 
The most scenic route of the Parnassos wider area starts from the disembarkation station of the aerial lift Iniochos.After passing in front of the Ermis and Dias lifts, we follow the ski trail #17 and ascend getting past the cellular network antennas.At the intersection about 500 meters further up, we turn right following trail #16 heading towards the disembarkation point of the Aphroditi lift (1950m.).From that point, we continue descending onto path #1 for about 1,200 meters and when we see the directions sign we turn left towards the ski center of the Athenian Climbing Club.Riding onto the regional dirt road connecting the two ski centers, at about 1,300 meters further down, we arrive at the ski center.We follow the dirt road riding away from the center and after a while we meet the Michael Defner shelter (1840m) to our right.The cycling path continues onto the dirt road to arrive after 1,500 meters at an intersection marked with a sign, where we turn left.We ride onto a road going downhill for two more kilometers to arrive at an intersection where we turn right following the directions of the sign pointing to Delphi – Korikio Andro.A bit further down this road, we find a second intersection and without deviating from our course we continue to the right between the Pano and Kato Psilo peaks.For the next five kilometers we follow a dirt road with sparse signs on both of its sides.When we see the first houses we follow the directions of the signs and we turn left, riding onto a good route that gives us the opportunity to gain speed.The signs dictate our course and after a little while we arrive at a stream with water troughs.At the intersections we meet we head left.A rugged dirt road which disappears after a bit, leads us to a path that terminates after two kilometers at the area of Livadi of Parnassos and specifically at the Achladokampos location.The signs direct us to the opposite side and we enter into a dirt road.Following the road and riding always to the right in every intersection we meet, we arrive five kilometers further down at the entrance of the Parnassos National Park.Here we find a guard post of the forest authority, a church (Paliopanagia), a tap with drinkable water and a rest area.We continue onto a good dirt road turning left at the intersection and following the directions of the signs.After a few kilometers, we arrive at the Kroki location where we find the St. Paraskevi churchand a spring a bit further down to our left.At this point we can enter the E4 path that we meet or continue onto the dirt road to arrive at the observatory located above Delphi.The two routes extend parallel to one another and at a close distance.In case we choose to go up to the observatory there are directions signs just before it which lead us to the E4 European Path and from there to Delphi.The last descend towards Delphi may be the most challenging one but it is not dangerous.Throughout the descent the view is striking.The Oracle of Delphi lies beneath our feet, at the back we see the gulf of Itea and Galaxidi and at the background there is Peloponnese.The route ends above the Archaeological Museum of Delphi.
 
It is a route that pays tribute to the area.With the appropriate maintenance and landscaping works it can be a pole of attraction of cycling tourism on its own.It is worth noting that this route may be continued through the ancient path leading to ancient Kirra and end up at the seafront.Also, the visitor of the area may use parts of the route throughout the year thanks to their low altitude.They could ski at the ski center, descend in their skis until Livadi of Parnassos and finish at the seafront passing through the National Park and the ancient Oracle of Delphi.Total altitude range.

click here to download the Google Earth maps of the cycling routes

click here to download a general map of the cycling routes

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