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Ponte di Legno > Passo Gavia

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Stage of good length, completely uphill (with a significant positive difference in height), in a wild and very suggestive environment, populated by numerous wild animals (chamois, eagles, deer). 

The highlights of the day are Lago Nero (Black lake) and the view of the Corno dei Tre Signori (3,360 m) from Passo Gavia.

Special Notes

The section indicated here, preferred for panoramic reasons, is a variation of the Sentiero Italia (that reaches Passo Gavia directly from Rifugio Bozzi, passing through Bocchetta Corno dei Tre Signori). 

There is a small equipped stretch between Bivacco Linge and Lago Nero.

MTB: from Rifugio Valmalza onwards, the path becomes steep and difficult. Suitable only for the most experienced ones.

Water points are available at Rifugio Val Malza and at Bivacco Linge.

when to go
May - October
Suitable for
how to get there
description of the route

We take the path that climbs constantly (approximately 300 m height difference) to the hamlet of Pezzo. From there we take the carriageway on a slight slope towards the small church of Santa Apollonia. Remaining on an excellent path, we cover entirely the suggestive Valle delle Messi, along the Oglio Frigidolfo stream, climbing gradually among the rhododendrons.

At the end of the valley begins the most intense climb up to Passo Gavia (approximately 900 m height difference). We pass Rifugio Valmalza (1,998 m) and, on a path, we continue to climb steeply up to Bivacco Linge, the ideal place to catch our breath. It is easy to spot eagles, vultures, deer, and alpine ibex. We turn right from the bivouac, onto the Alta Via Camuna path. In this up and down stretch, sometimes slightly exposed (there is also a short equipped section), the view of the Adamello (3,539 m) is splendid. 

We arrive at Lago Nero and skirt it entirely (if it's hot, we take a dip). We continue to climb, cutting the paved road, until we reach Passo Gavia (2,621 m). All around stand out Monte Gavia (3,223 m) and Corno dei Tre Signori (3,360 m).

What to know

Already known in medieval times, Passo Gavia was part of the dangerous Alpine trade routes of the Republic of Venice. 

During the 20th-century, it became part of one of the most demanding stages of the Giro d'Italia, sometimes even heroic, due to height (2,618 m) and difficult weather conditions. In 2019, due to a large amount of snow, the Giro did not pass through the Pass: it would have been the highest point reached by cyclists (that is commonly called the "Cima Coppi").

What to see

Located just below the pass, Lake Nero is a glacial lake that owes its name to the presence of peat on its seabed, a deposit made up of the remains of Swiss stone pine trunks. The discovery of the remains of Swiss stone pine is a testimony of the climatic changes in the Alps: it shows that here, where today (due to the altitude) there aren't any trees, once (about 9,000 years ago) there were lush forests.

what to eat

The gaviolina is a mix of spicy herbs used as a seasoning for many dishes and developed by the Rifugio Bonetta. We have recognized some of these herbs: simple leaved milfoil, thyme, and juniper berries.

where to sleep

Rifugio Valmalza in Valle delle Messi. Tel. +39 348 796 2766

Bivacco Linge, not far from Lago Nero: very comfortable, 20 beds, blankets, stove, and pots. Always Open

Rifugio Bonetta, at Passo Gavia. Tel. +39 0364 91806


Starting point reachable by car.

Starting point reachable by bus, starting from the town of Edolo.

Here the LINK to check the timetables.

Departure point NOT reachable by train.

“We went up the Valle delle Messi, covered with rhododendrons, to take a swim in Lago Nero among the curious looks of the ibex”

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