Let's go back to Piedmont with an easy but nevertheless challenging stage, with significant differences in height, positive and negative.
Very scenic views of the great lakes of the upper Valle dell'Orco, the Gran Paradiso and Monte Levanna, with its Nel Glacier.
The stage can be considerably shortened by avoiding the extension to Colle di Nel and pointing directly towards Ceresole Reale from the valley floor (in which case we would only have to descend). Alternatively, you can overnight at Rifugio Jervis, before the final climb to Colle di Nel.
Some slightly exposed parts in the descent from Col del Nel: be careful if the path is wet.
MTB: the stage is accessible up to the Rifugio Jervis, where it is better to go down along path 530.
The only water point is at the Rifugio Jervis.
Within a few minutes, we reach the Col del Nivolet and begin the long descent (approximately 800 m drop) towards the bottom of the Valle dell'Orco valley. Following the road and cutting the hairpin bends with the path when possible, we swiftly lose altitude until we reach the Ricovero Capanna Cavallone. From there, thanks to a short cross path, we enter an ancient military road that descends fast towards the valley floor, after which we walk for a while along the road.
We take the path on the right, cross the Orco stream and begin the long climb (approximately 500 m height difference) towards Rifugio Jervis. The route is mostly in the woods and climbs gradually. At Alpe Montejousir we leave the trees and admire the remarkable Nel Glacier, placed on the great wall of the Monte Levanna Occidentale. A sideways stretch gives us time to catch our breath. Afterward, surrounded by low bushes, we start the last part. Once reached the top of the hill, we spot the Pian di Nel with its small lake, on whose shore rises Rifugio Jervis.
We cross the plateau to the south and start the last climb, which is steep but relatively short (approximately 300 m height difference). From Colle di Nel the view is generous: a long descent awaits us (approximately 950 m drop). The first part is on a path mixed with scree. After passing a pond, the path stretches and we cross the plateau of Alpe Pian Muttà. We continue on a steep descent and return to the woods, with small parts barely exposed, always on a good path. Finally, we reach the asphalted road, which we take to the left, circumnavigating the great Lake of Ceresole Reale. Once in Villa (the north-western end of the basin), a pleasant cycle path along the shore takes us to the center of Ceresole Reale.
In 1919, King Vittorio Emanuele III donated the Gran Paradiso Royal Hunting Reserve to the State, with the condition that they should find a way to create a park to protect the local flora and fauna.
In 1922 the first Italian national park was established: the Gran Paradiso Park.
The town of Ceresole (which subsequently conquered the nickname of Reale thanks to the frequentation of the Savoy), characterized by the homonymous lake, probably owes its name to the presence, in distant times, of a forest of small cherries: ceresiolae, in Latin.
Colle del Nivolet is one of the highest passes in Europe. It connects the Aosta Valley to Piedmont.
The Nivolet is a plateau located at 2,500 m above sea level, rich in peat bogs and humid environments, marked by the meanders of the Dora Baltea, similar to those of an Amazonian stream. The alpine flora and the typical mountain fauna are very rich: chamois, marmots, ibexes, ermines, and many birds.
Thanks to the almost non-existent light pollution, it is one of the favorite places for amateur astronomers, who spend their nights here, admiring the starry sky without any interference.
The Zuppa del Gran Paradiso is the emblem of the Gran Paradiso National Park and was created by the park authority, in collaboration with local producers and restaurateurs, to collect the traditional products of the area.
The soup, made with potatoes, onions or leeks and buckwheat bread, has several variations: it is flavored with cheese (from the toma d'alpeggio to the serais, to the fontina) and with different herbs (thyme, nettle, verquegno and lenga buinà , typical of the valleys of the Gran Paradiso Park). There are also those who enrich it with the addition of pearl barley, rice, or short pasta.
Rifugio Willy Jervis, in Pian di Nel. Tel. +39 0121 932755
Rifugio Mila, in the Villa locality (north-east end of Lake Ceresole). Tel. +39 0124 953230 - +39 334 229 8611
Camping Villa, in the locality of Villa. Tel. +39 346 579 2146
Camping Casa Bianca, in Ceresole Reale. Tel. +39 340 080 8076
In Ceresole there are several accommodation facilities
Starting point reachable by car.
Departure point NOT reachable by bus.
The nearest location reachable by bus is Ceresole Reale, starting from the city of Turin with a change in Rivarolo Canavese.
Here the LINK to check the timetables.
Starting point NOT reachable by train.
The nearest location reachable by train is Rivarolo Canavese, starting from the city of Turin.
Here the LINK to check the timetables.
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.