psiloritis geopark

The geo-itinerary of Gonies

Description

The area of Gonies, Maleviziou, has a unique and distinctive geological character. Over a distance of two kilometers, visitors can see four of the six tectonic nappes, which are groups of rock formations that cover each other like blankets, and which form the island of Crete. This is also the reason this is the spot with the greatest geo-diversity on the island! The geo-trail follows the small asphalt road heading up from Gonies to the south. It can easily be hiked by young and old, without great differences in altitude or any special dangers or difficulties, since its entire course runs alongside farming roads. At the beginning of the route there are exceptional sections in the volcanic rocks, formed 140 million years ago at the bottom of an ocean; they are called Ophiolites (O). These rock formations are mostly serpentines and pyroxenites and they now make up the entire hill of Filiorimos. Along the uphill course one encounters many such rock formations, faults, as well as their contact with the lower rock formations of “Vatos” (V). The best point for us to observe them from is by the traditional windmill, one of the few still preserved in Mylopotamos. By the windmill there are many points where one can see the “Vatos” calcitic slates, which, in fact, bend, creating beautiful facets.
From this point on one has to follow the cemented path that continues south. Very soon the rock formations change and thin layers of sandstone, limestone, clay, flint and chert, which form the flysch of “Pindos” (Pφ) appear. After that, for quite some distance, one encounters alterations of the same rock formations and distinctive brushwood vegetation with burnets (Sarcopoterium spinosum), thyme (Thymus vulgaris), pink rock-roses (Cistus creticus), and Spanish brooms (Spartium junceum), while there is the occasional vineyard, olive, walnut and almond grove.
Upon approaching an old quarry, the rock formations change and turn into platy limestone with typical siliceous alterations that are quickly replaced by the lower red radiolarites of “Pindos” (Pr). It is one of the most beautiful and impressive rock formations encountered on Crete. Very soon on the way up the path visitors once again run into “Pindos” flysch formations. However, these are suddenly interrupted because of a fault cuts them off and brings them into contact with the lower “Tripolitsa” flysch formations (Tφ), which consist of thick layers of brown sandstone and conglomerates, counterpointing the thin layers of “Pindos” flysch.
Up until the mountain pass, at the intersection with the dirt road that leads back to the village, the formations remain the same. Approximately 50 meters after the intersection one encounters the lower “Tripolitsa” limestone (Tl), which covers the entirety of the mountainous region up to and including the Evdomos plateau. The route continues towards the hamlet, following the dirt roads that lead to small pens, constantly crossing “Tripolitsa” flysch rock formations. In the first small ravine one comes across, they have to pass through a gate and it would be good to remember to shut it behind them. Our attention will very soon be attracted by the hawks that launch themselves from the small cliffs standing over the village.
In order to enter Gonies one has to pass by the square sandstone rock that dominates the route and follow the path behind it downhill, passing under the great carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua). “Pera geitonia” is one of the oldest and most beautiful neighbourhoods in the village, with stone houses, arched entrances and small yards, which, however, are, for the most part, in ruins. The small piazzas with the benches and the rich shade allow visitors to rest and cool down. Following the main street, one crosses the village passing by the old fountains and small cafes, and ends up at the Herakleion – Anogia regional road, which leads back to the beginning of the trail. It is the only part of the trek that requires attention due to vehicle traffic.


Track length : 3.95 Kms Starting point elevation:620 m.
Finishing point elevation : 620 m. Lowest altitude: 620 m.
Highest altitude : 720 m. Max. altitudinal difference: 100 m.
Water supply : Only at Gonies
Vegetation: Phrygana, orchards
Duration: 2 hours
Level of difficulty : Small (Suitable for families and pupils)

Access
From the regional road Heraklion - Anogia

Starting and finishing point
Starting and finishing points are the same; the crossroad between the regional Heraklion – Anogia and local road that leads to Evdomos plateau, just opposite view point.

Difficulties - Dangers
Walking along the track does not impose any risk or danger to visitors, as it crosses local and agricultural roads with very light traffic. Only along the last 300 m. of the track, visitors should be very careful because they have to walk along the regional road leading to Anogia, with some moderate traffic depending on time. Also, during summer time visitors should have enough water for the case of high temperatures.

Φυσικό Πάρκο Ψηλορείτη - Παγκόσμιο Γεωπάρκο UNESCO
Psiloritis Natural Park
UNESCO