Twelve itineraries in the entire Maira Valley, perfect for October and November when then colours of foliage are at the top: from the larches in Elva and Acceglio to the chestnut forests in Villar San Costanzo a huge variety of species, climates and environments create a unique landscape pianted in red, yellow and orange.
The itineraries are described and photographed by the hiking guide Enrico Collo.
THE "CICIU" 's TRAIL IN VILLAR SAN COSTANZO
THE "CICIU" 's TRAIL
Itinerary. The lower part, in the Natural Reserve, is a simple walk for everyone in the woods, with the illustrative panels of the discovery walk “Ciciuvagando”; the higher part begins with a steep but short climb to the gravel road of Costa Pragamonti; then we’ll make a tour passing by the Colle Liretta and the paragliding take-off zone, with excellent panoramic views on the Cuneo plain.
The higher part can also be done in MTB, climbing the Colle Liretta by strada dei Foresti to join the Strada dei Cannoni. Descent alternatively by gravel road to Morra di Villar or by trails to the Colletta di Rossana.
Start: Cascina Bruna, Villar San Costanzo. D+: 450 m. Max. alt.: 1.087 m. Walking time: 3h30′
THE COLLE TEJE' IN SAN DAMIANO MACRA
The Colle Tejé
Itinerary. The hike runs in the southern side of the valley, in a shadowy beech wood, with groups of pines in the sunniest ridges. From Piazza Caduti we’ll descend to cross the Maira river just below the dam; then, we’ll walk high along the artificial lake and reach a little chapel with a great view on the village, the Pagliero valley, inhabited since the Roman empire era, and the Monte Rubbio. Once passed the isolated hamlet of Messore we’ll climb to Colle Tejé and descend back to San Damiano by the village of Poca.
Start: San Damiano Macra. D+: 400 m. Max. alt.: 1.149 m. Walking time: 3h00′
THE CASTELLARO VILLAGE IN CELLE MACRA
The Castellaro village
Itinerary. The trail start just behind the church and climbs gently to Castellaro, with beautiful views on the valley and the Chersogno-Pelvo d’Elva group. Above the village the trails goes up on to Pian della Colla, among the larches, to descent later to Comba del Soglio by the GTA path. In Soglio, we’ll cross the gravel road that links Paglieres and Celle; among larches and beeches, we will go down to Ansoleglio and back to Chiesa, ending the hike by visiting the Museum of anchovy sellers.
Strat: Celle Macra, Borgata Chiesa. D+: 300 m. Max. alt.: 1.560 m. Walking time: 2h45′
A SPASS PER LOU VIOL IN ELVA
A spass per lou viol
Itinerary. At the start, in Serra, the visit of the church with Hans Clemer’s frescos and the museum “di Pels” (hair traders) have not to be missed. The hike goes initially among the larches, until Colle di San Giovanni, where wide views open on the Orrido and the Chersogno-Pelvo group. The San Giovanni chapel was a shelter point on the “Strada dei Cannoni”, a military road built by the Piedmont army during the 1744 war, then refurbished by Napoleon. Once climbed a short gravel road, the trail crosses the basin of Elva, going back to Serre by the hamlet of Martini.
Start: Elva, Borgata Serre. D+: 300 m. Alt. max.: 1.941 m. Walking time: 2h45′
Itinerary. The hike runs on the sunny side of the valley, with great light and shadow contrasts. From the Marmora – Canosio crossroad we’ll take the path along the hydropower plant, to reach Finello and San Sebastiano. The gravel road leads then to Torello and Garino, before climbing to Urzio, Arvaglia and Grange Giove, before descending to Sogna Rotonda and the church af San Massimo. We’ll then go down to Reinero and Vernetti, ner to the starting point. Marmora’s hamlets are full of art and history: the San Sebastiano chapel, with Baleison’s frescos, and the sundials in the walls of San Massimo. Some will notice the big stones used in the building of the upper villages, recovered from the collapse of the ancient church.
Start: Marmora – Canosio crossroad. D+: 460 m. Max. alt.: 1.650 m. Walking time: 3h30′
THE UNERZIO VALLEY IN ACCEGLIO
The Unerzio Valley
Itinerary. The trail start n front of the churchof Chialvetta, following the river till the meadows around the hamlet of Pratorotondo, where it is possibile to visit the restored rye mill. Going up on we’ll climb the ancient glacial moraine to reach Viviere. The warm colours of larches drive us in Prato Ciorliero, following the military road on whose side big bunkers watch the hikers. On the way back two short detours let us admire great views towards the Passo della Gardetta and the Oronaye. To be visited in Chialvetta the ethnographic museum “La Misoun d’en bot”: info in Trattoria della Gardetta.
Start: Chialvetta. D+: 460 m. Max. alt.: 1.950 m. Walking time: 3h00′
THE ROCCABRUNA'S "CASTLASS"
Itinerary. An easy hike for all, with a single climb from the climb to the Boscuola crossroad. At the foot of Monte Rocceré the forest road becomes a beautiful path that running along the Combal the Duc leads to the Rocca del Castlass, famous climbing wall controlled by the ruins of a medioeval tower. At the 3-roads crossroad we’ll choose the one on the right, leading to Sant’Anna at the foot of Rocca Cubiera. Many point of interests along the hike: the Freedom Trails, remembering the resistance fighter that found shelter on these mountains in 1943-44, the Rocceré petroglyphs and the ancient pyrite mine.
Start: S.Anna di Roccabruna. D+: 225 m. Max. alt.: 1.475 m. Walking time: 2h30′
THE CYCLAMENS' TRAIL IN MACRA
The cyclamens' trail
Itinerary. An easy tour between the hamlets of Macra, starting by a climb along the river in the broad-leaves tree woods; once passed Caricatori we’ll walk among pines, beeches in the shadowy corners, and birches. These ones, pioneering plants, are regaining place after the terrible fire of the 90’s. Below Camoglieres we can find some yew trees, very uncommon on the territory. Very interesting is the alpine architecture of the villages of Camoglieres and Caricatori, and the dance of death painted on the S.Pietro chapel.
Start: Macra, Municipio. D+: 270 m. Max. alt.: 1.067 m. Walking Time: 2h30′
THE STROPPO BASIN
The Stroppo basin
Itinerary. It follows the ancient communication tracks between the hamlets, starting in Paschero. A little road leads to Arneodi and San Martino, in the woods. We’ll turn right towards Cucchiales (recommended detour to the Devil’s Cave) and reach Morinesi and the Santa Maria church, with its great panorama. The quick descent leads to San Peyre and back to Paschero, where the little museum “Escolo de Mountahno” can be visited, while all the villages on the hike show beautiful architectures, some dating the medioeval age, those of maximum glory of the Maira Valley.
Start: Stroppo, Borgata Paschero. D+: 480m. Alt. max.: 1.570 m. Walking time: 4h00′
ROCCA CORNA IN CANOSIO
Itinerary. Groups of cherry-trees welcome the hikers in Colle San Giovanni, from where we’ll head up on the gravel road until the Colletto di Canosio. The trail climbs among the larches following the ridge and crossing some rocky bends, to be avoided with snow on the terrain, before reaching the summit. Alternatively, a beautiful hike in the shadowy side of the mountain, looking to Prazzo, leads to Grange Celletta, in a magnificent silver fir wood. In Canosio the architectures of the Ubac and Casa Corte hamlets have not to be missed.
Start: Canosio, Colle San Giovanni. D+: 725 m. Max. alt.: 2.374 m. Walking time: 3h30′
LOU VIOL DAL GENISTE' IN PRAZZO
Lou Viol dal Genisté
Itinerary. Lou Viol dal Genisté is a tour crossing different environments: larch and pines woods, prairies with juniper and lavender, rocky walls inhabited by a rare species of broom, living only in Piedmont and Liguria. From San Michele the trails heads to the panoramic hamlet and church of San Vittore, the goes on to Passo Ruvera, that looks to the Elva Valley. Then it climbs the easy ridge till the altitude of 1.632 meters, before going back to the starting point by the Percorsi Occitani track. The front side of the ancient town hall of San Michele is very particular, with the portraits of the “fathers of Italy” King Victor Emanuel II and Cavour.
Start: San Michele di Prazzo. D+: 280 m. Max. alt.: 1.650 m. Walking time: 2h00′
ADMIRING THE ROCCA PROVENZALE IN CHIAPPERA
Admiring the Provenzale
Itinerary. We can start the hike indifferently in Saretto, Chiappera or Campo Base. Between Saretto and Chiappera it is better to walk the south side, among the larches, in the morning and to come back by the panoramic gravel road of La Crocetta in the afternoon, to enjoy the warmth of the sunset. Above Chiappera the hike follows the rivers among the willows at the foot of the Castello-Provenzale, towards the Stroppia waterfalls. Beautiful alpine architectures can be found in Chiappera and Saretto, where the WWII military cemetery remembers past difficult times.
Start: Rifugio Campo Base. D+: 160 m. Max. alt.: 1.690 m. Walking time: 2h30′