Trekking in the Alps

In this section we present a chapter from the book "Per Alpes, Discovering the Alps in 20 circular walks". Read the tour description below and check other publications of the Alps Convention.

  • Maritime Alps tour
  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • Day 3
  • Day 4
  • Day 5
  • Day 6
  • Day 7
  • Tourist info

Trekking around the Maritime Alps. A forgotten world.


Maritime Alps tour

Trailhead: Terme di Valdieri (1368m bus connection from Cuneo)
Highest point: Colle Brocan (2892m)
Total travelling time:36-39h
Overall height gain/loss: + 5931m - 6289m
Alp Convention

Route descriptions: The alpine area presents a great variety of landscapes and fascinating mountain environments such as the Maritime Alps, which thanks to their peculiar features, are a particularly enchanting place. They are located in the southern part of the Western Alps and are blessed with an impressive number of large lakes, deep valleys, ample basins surrounded by steep rock walls with a great variety of flora and endemic species. Despite the very high peaks, some reaching over 3000m, the Mediterranean climate has a great influence on this area. The Côte d’Azur (French Riviera) is in fact not very far away and on fine days you can see Corsica. The distinctive attractive features of the Maritime Alps are also due to the fact that this region, unlike the other alpine mountain groups, has been spared from heavy tourist exploitation, it is in fact a protected area. The Italian side of the Maritime Alps was declared a Natural Park in 1987, and the French side has been part of a National Park since 1979 (Parc National du Mercantour). This trek will give you the opportunity to see the great variety of flora thriving in the region, with over two thousand plant species, of which forty are endemic varieties. Moreover, you will also see very closely the first settlements in this region dating back between 2900 and 1700 B.C. The Maritime Alps are superb, wild and full of mystery.

Skills required: Seven days in the Maritime Alps are demanding and require good fitness and careful footwork, due to the numerous ascents and descents. If weather conditions are not favorable, a good sense of orientation is necessary, because some part of the route have no path.

Trekking around the Maritime Alps. A forgotten world.


Maritime Alps tour

Trailhead: Terme di Valdieri (1368m bus connection from Cuneo)
Highest point: Colle Brocan (2892m)
Total travelling time: 36-39h
Overall height gain/loss: + 5931m - 6289m
Alp Convention

Terme di Valdieri – Piano superiore del Valasco – Lago di Valscura – Lago del Claus – Rif. Emilio Questa


Travel time: 5,5-6h.

The trailhead is Terme di Valdieri (1368m) located in the Gesso della Valletta valley, accessible by bus from Cuneo. Follow the upslope through the Valasco valley, running along the Via Alpina and the Grand Traverse of the Alps (GTA) path. From Piano Superiore del Velasco (1823m) the route becomes steep with numerous zigzags leading to Lake Valscura (2274m). Once you arrive at the lake, branch left, leaving the Via Alpina path, go beyond the ridge and continue till Lake Claus (2344m). You finally reach Emilio Questa hut, at 2388m, towering over the superb Lake Portette (2361m).

Accommodation:
Hotel Terme Reali di Valdieri (1368m): Tel. +39-0171-97106, www.termedivaldieri.it, open from mid May to mid September, Private rifugio Emilio Questa (2388m): Tel. +39-0171-97338, e-mail: rfquesta@libero.it, www.rifugioquesta.it, open from mid June to mid September, CAI.

Trekking around the Maritime Alps. A forgotten world.


Maritime Alps tour

Trailhead: Terme di Valdieri (1368m bus connection from Cuneo)
Highest point: Colle Brocan (2892m)
Total travelling time:36-39h
Overall height gain/loss: + 5931m - 6289m
Alp Convention

Rif. Emilio Questa – Colletto di Valasco – Lago di Fremamorta mediano – Valle della Valletta – Rif. Remondino

Travel time: 5-5,5h

Start early in the morning and walk till you get to a long traverse, at about 2180m, and reach Valle Morta. Cross Val Morta by following a stunning ascent to Colletto di Valasco (2429m). Take a break by the Fremamorta central lake (2380m) then descend to Piano della Casa (1735m). Cross the stream, follow the road at the lower end of the valley and reach the path taking you to the Remondino hut after gaining 700 meters (2430m).

Accommodation:
Rifugio Remondino (2430m): Tel. +39-0171-97327, open from the beginning of June to mid September, CAI

Trekking around the Maritime Alps. A forgotten world.


Maritime Alps tour

Trailhead: Terme di Valdieri (1368m bus connection from Cuneo)
Highest point: Colle Brocan (2892m)
Total travelling time:36-39h
Overall height gain/loss: + 5931m - 6289m
Alp Convention

Rif. Remondino – Colle Brocan – Rif. Genova

Travel time: 5-5,5h

Today you need to sharpen your sense of orientation, because some parts of the route have no path, although it is way marked. Leave the Remondino hut (2430m) and walk up to Lake Nasta’s basin, then head south, through stony ground taking you below a steep slope leading to Colle Brocan (2892m). Follow the cairns and the paint marks as you descend to Vallone Rovina. Finally reach Lake Brocan (2000m) and then the Genova hut (2015m).

Accommodation:
Rifugio Genova (2015m): Tel. +39-0171-978138 or +39-347-7959051, e-mail: gestore@rifiugiogenova.it; open from mid June to the end of September, CAI.

Trekking around the Maritime Alps. A forgotten world.


Maritime Alps tour

Trailhead: Terme di Valdieri (1368m bus connection from Cuneo)
Highest point: Colle Brocan (2892m)
Total travelling time:36-39h
Overall height gain/loss: + 5931m - 6289m
Alp Convention

Rif. Genova – Colle di Fenestrelle – Gias del Praiet – Colle di Finestra – Ref. Madone de Fenestre

Travel time: 3,5-4h

Follow the access road to the hut located at the lower end of the valley (about 10 min) till it forks. Take the path branching right, which leads you to Colle dell Fenestrelle (2463m). From this point you can enjoy a stunning view of the Argentera massif and the Gelas massif. Follow the road leading you to the Soria hut, then leave it when it curves left. Go up Colle di Finestra (2471m) on a mule track along the border with the Parc national du Mercantour. Descend on the French side, walk past Lac de Fenestre (2262m) and after about half hour you reach the Madone de Fenestre hut (1903m).

Accommodation:
Ref. Madone de Fenestre (1903m): Tel. +33-(0)493-028319, open from mid June to the end of September, CAF.

Trekking around the Maritime Alps. A forgotten world.


Maritime Alps tour

Trailhead: Terme di Valdieri (1368m bus connection from Cuneo)
Highest point: Colle Brocan (2892m)
Total travelling time:36-39h
Overall height gain/loss: + 5931m - 6289m
Alp Convention

Ref. Madone de Fenestre – Pas du Mont Colomb – Ref. de Nice – Baisse du Basto – Baisse de Fontanalba – Ref. de Fontanalba

Travel time: 7-7,5h.

Today’s route is not only the longest of the tour but also the most beautiful. You cross a superb area full of alpine lakes leading to the heart of Mercantour National Park. Along the way take note of rock engraviings – prehistoric art dating back to the period between 2900 and 1700 B.C. From Madone de Fenestre hut (1904m) walk up through a gully to Pas du Mont Colomb (2548m). The following descent to the Nice hut (2232m) and the upslope to Baisse du Basto (2693m) takes you through fantastic landscapes full of lake of all sizes. It is highly recommended to take a break and enjoy the stunning view of the three lakes (Lac du Basto, Lac Noir and Lac Vert), before descending for a short distance and climbing up again to Baisse de Fontanalba (2568m). Descend to the popular Monte Bego, cross a large basin and continue all the way to a small pretty lake: Lac Vert de Fontanalba. Here you get the opportunity to observe the rock engravings. The last descent follows a road leading you to the rather frugal Ref. de Fontanalba (2018m).

Accommodation:
Ref. de Nice (2232m): Tel. +33-(0)4-93046274 or +33-(0)6-61975938, open from mid June to the end of September, CAF
Ref. de Fontanalba (2018m): Tel. +33-(0)4-93046922, open from mid June to the end of September, private.

Trekking around the Maritime Alps. A forgotten world.


Maritime Alps tour

Trailhead: Terme di Valdieri (1368m bus connection from Cuneo)
Highest point: Colle Brocan (2892m)
Total travelling time:36-39h
Overall height gain/loss: + 5931m - 6289m
Alp Convention

Ref. de Fontanalba – Lac des Grenouilles – Casterino

Travel time: 3-3,5h

The journey to Casterino is short and it leaves a lot of time to enjoy the surroundings. Try and plan a quick visit to Lac des Grenouilles (1993m) where you may enjoy Mount Paracouerte in complete solitude, surrounded by pastures. The ascent to the lake takes 10-15 minutes at most. The following route, leading you to Casterino follows an ancient paved road, which takes you to the beginning of the Valmasque. Here you take a tarred road leading you to Casterino (11543m) in 45 minutes.

Accommodation:
Auberge Sainte Marie-Madeleine (1543m): Tel. +33-(0)493/046593, www.casterino.com, open from May to November, private.
Les Mélèzes (1543m): Tel. +33-(0)4-93049595, www.viaalpina.org, open from January to October, private.

Trekking around the Maritime Alps. A forgotten world.


Maritime Alps tour

Trailhead: Terme di Valdieri (1368m bus connection from Cuneo)
Highest point: Colle Brocan (2892m)
Total travelling time:36-39h
Overall height gain/loss: + 5931m - 6289m
Alp Convention

Casterino – Baisse de Peyrafi que – Baisse de Barchenzane – Colle ovest (est) del Sabbione – Gias d’Ischietto – (Trinità) – Entracque – Bus to Valdieri and Terme di Valdieri

Travel time: 7-7,5h

Today you walk through magnificent passes amid superb scenery. Gather all your strength because it is a seven-hour journey. Starting from Casterino (1543m) follow an ancient military road to Baisse de Peyrafi que (2028m). Walk through lush pastures till you reach Baisse de Barchenzane (2075m), then branch left to reach Colle del Sabbione. After reaching a small lake, that in the summer can sometimes be completely dry, you can then choose to enter Italy by the eastern or western pass, they are more or less the same height. Best view is on the western pass, because just at the end of it lies the beautiful Lake della Vacca, which tempts you to rest. Descend through Val del Sabbione al Gias d’Ischietto (1350m) and continue on the road descending to Ponte Porcera (1083m). With the road to Trinità on your right, where the Parco hut is located, descend following the road to Vallone del Bousset till you reach Entraque. Those who came by car can now take the shuttle to the Terme (spa) or, by bus, you can first reach Valdieri and then take another bus to Terme di Valdieri, the trailhead.

Accommodation:
Rif. del Parco Locanda del Sorriso (Trinità, 1091m): Tel. +39-0171-978388 or +39-0171-266980, e-mail: info@locandadelsorriso.com, www.locandadelsorriso.com open from the beginning of June to the end of September, private.
Hotel Miramonti (Entracque, 904m): Tel. +39-0171-978222, +39-333-3441904, e-mail: info@hotelmiramontientracque.com, www.hotelmiramontientracque.com, open all year, private.
Hotel Trois Etoiles (Entracque, 904m): Tel. +39-0171-978283, +39-335-5784824, e-mail: info@hoteltroisetoiles.com, www.hoteltroisetoiles.com, open all year, private.

Trekking around the Maritime Alps. A forgotten world.


Maritime Alps tour

Trailhead: Terme di Valdieri (1368m bus connection from Cuneo)
Highest point: Colle Brocan (2892m)
Total travelling time:36-39h
Overall height gain/loss: + 5931m - 6289m
Alp Convention

Useful information

Tourist information
Azienda Turistica Locale del Cuneese: Tel. +39-0171-693258-690217 e-mail: info@cuneoholiday.com, www.cuneoholiday.com
Informations touristiques Tende: Tel. +33-(0)493047371 e-mail: info@tende-tourism.com, www.tendemerveilles.com
Ufficio turistico di Entracque: Tel. +39-0171-97397 e-mail: info@entracque.org, www.entracque.org

Alpine Guides
Cuneo Alpine Clubs, Borgo San Dalmazzo (Cn): Tel. +39-335-6726008 e-mail: info@globalmountain.it, www.globalmountain.it
Lucien Bérenger (Tende): Tel. +33-(0)4-93047785
Arnaud van Caneghem (Beuil): Tel. +33-(0)4-93021084
Christophe Menei, (Valberg): Tel. +33-(0)4-93054552

Parks
Parc national de Mercantour: Tel. +33-(0)4-93167888, www.mercantour.eu
Parco Naturale delle Alpi Marittime: Tel. +39-0171-97397 e-mail: info@parcoalpimarittime.itwww.parcoalpimarittime.it

Public Transport
Autolinee Nuova Benese: Tel. +39-0171-692929, www.benese.it
Servizio navetta Gesam (transfer service): Tel. +39-0171-978616, e-mail: info@entracque.org

Maps
Map IGN Alpes sans Frontières, Sheet 4: 1:25.000
Map IGN Vallée des Merveilles – Val Vermenagna: 1:25.000
Map IGN Argentera-Mercantour: 1:25.000
Map IGN Alpi Marittime e Liguri: 1:50.000 Carta dei Sentieri Parco Naturale Alpi Marittime: 1:25:000 Blu edizioni

Alpine clubs
Club Alpino Italiano (CAI), Sezione di Cuneo: Tel +39-0171-67998 e-mail: info@caicuneo.it, www.caicuneo.it
FFCAM Fédération française des clubs alpins et de montagne (CAF): Tel +33-(0)1-53728700, www.ffcam.fr

Websites
www.alparc.org
www.grande-traversee-alpes.com
www.inmarittime.it
www.museedesmerveilles.com
www.via-alpina.org
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