Medium length stage, aesthetically satisfying without being excessively tiring; mainly downhill.
The crossing of Valle Forcola is beautiful; the setting of the gigantic Cancano and San Giacomo lakes is quite impressive.
The stage is a variation of the Sentiero Italia (that from Bormio climbs directly to Lake Cancano), preferred for the beauty of Val Forcola: highly recommended.
Some sections are slightly exposed and/or unstable during the climb to the Bocchetta Forcola.
Water points are absent until Lake Cancano: bring a good supply.
On the path, a steep descent (about 300 m drop) takes us to the Giogo di Santa Maria. We cross the road and return on the path that goes half-way up (approximately 300 m height difference), with a beautiful panorama to the south-east towards the Valle del Braulio and, beyond it, the Ortles peaks. Some sections of the path are slightly exposed and/or collapsed: be careful. Finally, after a small final ramp, we reach the Bocchetta di Forcola (2,768 m).
We cross and begin the descent (approximately 800 m drop). We pass an old military shelter and reach the head of Valle Forcola, where we take the comfortable carriage road that runs through the entire valley. The long stretch, gently descending, is very pleasant and invites you to chatter: ideal for recovering from the toils of the previous stages.
Finally, we arrive at Rifugio Solena, at the eastern end of the immense Lake Cancano. Nearby, a small church offers a little cool. We continue on the carriage road that runs along the north shore of the lake, admiring the three mountains (Cima di Plator, Monte Pettini, and Punta Aguzzo) that enclose the lake, on the opposite shore: they are very different from each other, but equally fascinating.
Finally, we arrive at Rifugio Val Fraele (1,954 m), near the gigantic dam that separates Lake Cancano from Lake San Giacomo di Fraele. Anyone wishing to explore the ramparts of the hydroelectric dam (there is a comfortable walkway that runs through them from below) should pay attention to the incredible echo of the large arches.
The Fraele Towers are located on the road that leads from Bormio to the lakes and they were part of a fortification complex. The two quadrangular towers were included in the Statuti Bormini, as customs where the passage fee had to be paid.
The total flow of the two reservoirs (Cancano dam and San Giacomo dam) is 187 million cubic meters of water.
The construction of the artificial basin began in 1940 but was interrupted by the world war. It was completed in 1950.
It was a real engineering feat, considering the means available at the time and the engineering solutions used.
Walking at the foot of the San Giacomo dam, try to scream between the arches: the acoustic effect is remarkable!
Rifugio Solena, at the eastern end of Lake Cancano. Tel. +39 348 736 6439
Rifugio Val Fraele, near the dam between Lake Cancano and Lake San Giacomo di Fraele. Tel. +39 0342 902459
Rifugio San Giacomo, on the southern shore of Lake San Giacomo di Fraele.
Tel. +39 348 300 9920
Starting point reachable by car.
Starting point NOT reachable by public transport, only with tourist buses from June to August with departure from Bormio.
The nearest location reachable by bus is Bormio, starting from the town of Tirano.
Here the LINK to check the timetables for the buses from Tirano to Bormio.
Here the LINK to check the timetables for the buses from Bormio to Passo dello Stelvio.
Starting point NOT reachable by train.
Va' Sentiero is a grassroot project, thanks to the spontaneous contribution oft housands of people.
Even the most complicated dream, a 7,000km uphill dream,
can be achieved... together.