Long and tiring stage but spectacular like few others (the little positive difference in height should not be misleading).
We go up to Monte Tonale Occidentale (2,694 m) and proceed in front of the Adamello peaks, along the walkways of the Great War, before descending towards Passo del Tonale. To be faced only if we have experience and we are well trained.
The stage is a variant of the Sentiero Italia (that continues towards Passo Gavia, along the Alta Via Camuna passing through the Bocchetta Corno dei Tre Signori). It was preferred for the extreme panoramic view of Monte Tonale Occidentale on the Adamello group and the historical interest of Passo Tonale and the beautiful town of Ponte di Legno.
Given the length of the stage, it is necessary to start early in the morning.
Leaving Alta Via Camuna 2, the path is often non-existent (poor signage) and we encounter several exposed and slippery stretches up to Cima Bleis: to be faced with caution and cold blood.
Water points are absent until Passo Tonale: bring excellent supplies.
By MTB you can take Alta Via Camuna 2 and, if you wish, continue on the cross path (path 63) which leads to Tonale. Some parts are exposed.
We take the half-way track, clearly visible from the mountain lodge, that promptly joins the Alta Via Camuna, crossed by many bikers. The very panoramic path flows quickly.
Instead of descending towards Ponte di Legno, we stay on the cross path, and shortly after we take the path that climbs steeply up the meadow (about 250 m height difference) towards Bocchetta di Bleis - some parts are challenging. From the pass we climb (approx. 150 m height difference ) to Cima Bleis (2,628 m) and continuing on the ridge, we start a short but intense stretch (approx. 100 m height difference) that leads us to the top of Monte Tonale Occidentale (2,694 m): the view over the whole Adamello group is magnificent.
We walk along the trench, all on a very aerial ridge (we need a firm and sure step. Exposed sections), up to Cima Cadì (2,608 m), from where we begin the long descent (approximately 700 m drop) towards Passo del Tonale. Continuing on the path along the ridge, we quickly lose altitude and arrive at a chairlift station, where we take the carriage road to the right. We continue to descend to Ospizio San Bartolomeo and shortly thereafter we are at Passo del Tonale (1,883 m): it is worth stopping at the Ossuary.
From the pass, after a short stretch of road, we take the path that descends (approximately 600 m drop) towards the valley floor of the Val Narcanello, quickly entering the woods. Finally, we return to the road and enter Ponte di Legno.
The Adamello group (Castellaccio, Presanella) is granite (tonalite). The Stelvio group is composed of metamorphic rocks (gneiss), while the nearby Brenta Dolomites are calcareous (dolomite).
The Presena Glacier is sadly in obvious retreat: for the past years, during the summer season, it has been covered with a cloth, to preserve the ski slope.
On September 27, 1917, Ponte di Legno was completely destroyed by an Austro-Hungarian bombing, as revenge after Italian soldiers had blown up an ammunition depot.
As many as 917 bombs were thrown on the town that did not suffer any casualties, as the population had previously been evacuated. The town was rebuilt in record time: on September 3, 1922, the works ended in the presence of Vittorio Emanuele III, King of Italy.
In the nearby Val Massa, the Grande Muraglia Camuna is worth a visit. It is a fortification built, in a truly suggestive environment, by the Italian army as a defensive line during the Great War. About a hundred meters long, the fortification remained intact: it was not a battle place, as it was on a second line.
While walking in these areas it is easy to come across wild spinach: they have a pointed green leaf and are easily recognizable thanks to the presence of a sort of "flour" on the lower part of the leaf.
A few are enough to prepare a delicious delicacy of the area: the gnoc de la cüa. They are gnocchi made of stale bread, wild spinach, milk, eggs, and of course, silter cheese.
Pensione Sant'Angela, in Ponte di Legno. Tel. +39 349 826 5036
Camping & Chalet Presanella, in Temù (a few kilometers west of Ponte di Legno).
Tel. +39 0364 94219
In Ponte di Legno there are numerous guest houses.
Starting point NOT reachable by car.
The closest location reachable by car is Case di Viso.
Departure point NOT reachable by bus.
The nearest location reachable by bus is Pezzo, starting from the town of Edolo with a change in Ponte di Legno.
Here the LINK to check the timetables.
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.