Medium-length and relatively easy stage, with mainly negative elevation gain (only one initial climb).
Very beautifulv is the stretch of the ancient military road that connects the upper lakes of the Valasco Valley, with a beautiful view of Monte Matto (3,087 m).
The military road from Lake Inferiore di Valscura to Lake Claus is a variant of the Sentiero Italia (which descends directly to the Piano Superiore di Valasco), recommended for the extreme panoramic views of the stretch.
Water points are absent up to Rifugio Questa.
We start again on the GTA path. We go down to the stream, cross the bridge and attack the climb (approximately 700 m height difference ), immediately intense and to be faced without haste. We arrive at the large basin of Lake Malinvern, which we reach in a slight descent until we skirt its western end. We continue the climb, sometimes it is very demanding due to the slope and bottom (rocks and gravel), until we reach the Colletto di Valscura (2,533 m), which gives us the view of the underlying Lower Valscura Lake (with its old military roads and the ruins of barracks). On the horizon, the severe peaks of the Maritime Alps stand out, among which the west face of the Argentera stands out (3,290 m).
The descent to the Lower Lake of Valscura (approx. 250 m drop) is quick and easy. From there, instead of descending directly towards the Valasco Valley, we take the military road which takes us to the Claus Lake, through easy panoramic ups and downs,and then to the Rifugio Questa, overlooking Lake Portette. Monte Matto stands out to the east (3,087 m).
We continue on a sharp descent (about 550 m drop) towards the Valasco Valley, on a good track through fast hairpin bends, to continue on a comfortable road (at an altitude of about 2,000 m). We continue the descent to Ponte Valasco, on which we cross the stream bearing the same name. Remaining on the roadway on a slight slope, we pass Rifugio del Valasco (former royal hunting house, characterized by the beautiful internal courtyard, like a palalce), in the center of a beautiful alluvial plateau, and we easily cover the entire valley floor along the stream up to Valdieri thermal baths.
The Thermal Baths of Valdieri are located in the splendid Valle Gesso (within the Natural Park of the Maritime Alps), also known for its marble: bardiglio, bianco, and cipollino. The first official document relating to thermal exploitation dates back to 1588. The thermal baths however flourished thanks to King Carlo Emanuele III, who in 1755 ordered a new thermal building (the “Baraccone”) to be built all for himself, which is why the road that leads to it was built later.
The particular shape of Rifugio Valasco (with a large internal square courtyard) is due to the fact that it was originally the Royal Hunting House of King Vittorio Emanuele II, built in 1857.
In the village of Sant'Anna di Valdieri, a few kilometers downstream from the Thermal Baths of Valdieri, stands the Nuova Osteria Batteur: an ancient resting place for travelers, recently converted into the beautiful Museum of the Civiltà della Segale.
Unlike what its name suggests, it is not a museum dedicated to cereals, but to stories and traditions of the past, which have precisely in the rye (segale in Italian) the common denominator - from the houses covered with straw, to the folkloristic carnival figure of the rye bear.
For more info, timetables and tickets, follow the LINK.
The legumes, cooked in sumptuous soups, are typical of the Occitan valleys (including Val Gesso). The ola al forn soup standsout, made of borlotti beans, vegetables, and poor parts of the pork. Its peculiarity is that it is baked in the oven: originally it was cooked at night, in the bread oven once it was turned off (which maintains its temperature for a long time), so as not to waste the accumulated heat.
Rifugio Emilio Questa, near the Portette lake. Tel. +39 347 795 9051
Rifugio Valasco, at the bottom of the Valasco Valley. Tel. +39 0171 193 5229
Rifugio Casa Savoia (GTA stopover), in Terme di Valdieri. Tel. +39 327 011 6545
Starting point NOT reachable by car.
The nearest town reachable by car is Pratolungo Roviera.
Departure point NOT reachable by bus.
The nearest location reachable by bus is Vinadio, starting from the city of Cuneo.
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.