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Informations, costs, route description

L'Alta Via dei Re - details

Royal Hunting Lodge Refuge at Piano del Valasco. Photo F. Poggio.

The Alta via dei re crosses the Maritime Alps Nature Park in seven stages, taking in many of the unmissable spots in the protected area: the panoramic points, places with the richest wildlife and the most beautiful lakes. Indeed, places “fit for a King”: places which are in some way linked to the House of Savoy, whose members frequented the Gesso Valley for nearly a century. Their presence in the area has left a great heritage of buildings, shooting hides, monuments and above all, the dense network of roads, mule tracks and pathways along which the Alta via runs, from refuge to refuge.
The itinerary, a higher altitude alternative to the easier GTA route, in its complete version, has some rough and exposed stretches (Brocan Pass, Passaggio dei Ghiacciai), so you need to be prepared physically and have suitable equipment.


Day I

Meet at 14:30 Sant'Anna di Valdieri. The village is served by bus line (from Cuneo).

Sant’Anna di Valdieri - Dante Livio Bianco Refuge
As you walk through Sant'Anna at the start of the Via dei Re you will notice an inscription in large letters along the side of one of the buildings, it reads «W la regina» (Long live the Queen): Queen Elena would have passed this slogan dedicated to her on the way to fish for trout in the lower Sella Lake, on whose banks stands the Livio Bianco Refuge. The path, is quite steep at first, then becomes more gentle and panoramic: it crosses through open grassland where it is easy to spot flocks of sheep, horses and chamois. Finally it turns onto the edge of the lake, and to the Refuge.

Gain in height: about 950 m
Ascent time: 3 hours.
Difficulty: easy


Day II

Dante Livio Bianco Refuge – Royal Hunting Lodge Refuge at Piano del Valasco
From the Refuge, the path rises among rocky ramparts, smoothed by ancient glaciers, behind which the long upper Sella Lake hides. The King did not walk to the shooting hide, he went on horseback and the mule track is still perfect today as it leads to the panoramic Valmiana Pass. After a long descent you reach the nineteenth century hunting lodge, built at Piano del Valasco by Victor Emanuel II.

Gain in height: about 1050 m
Drop in height: about 1150 m
Total time: 6.30 hours.
Difficulty: easy


Day III

Royal Hunting Lodge Refuge at Piano del Valasco - Franco Remondino Refuge
Leaving the open pasture plain of Valasco behind, the path winds its way up the Val Morta among ancient larches. It follows a spectacular, paved, military road which reaches the plateau of the Fremamorta Lakes through the narrow Valasco pass. After skirting the lower and middle lakes in the direction of the Fremamorta Pass, a long descent leads to the Piano della Casa del Re. From here you go back up to Remondino, where one of the most spectacular views of the Maritime Alps opens out.

Gain in height: about 1400 m
Drop in height: about 700 m
Time: 7 hours
Difficulty: easy, but you need to be fit.


Day IV

Franco Remondino Refuge – Genova Refuge
From the Refuge, a real eagle's nest at the foot of Argentera, you climb up between the 3000 metre peaks to cross the Brocan Pass, which looks out over the upper Vallone della Rovina. The descent, like parts of the ascent, is rather demanding as it does not follow a path. It passes quickly with wonderful views, from the Agnel to the lakes of Brocan and Chiotas, and down over the plains.

Gain in height: about 450 m
Drop in height: about 800 m
Travel time 3.30 hours
Difficulty: expert hikers.


Day V

Genova Refuge – Ellena-Soria Refuge
After skirting the Chiotas reservoir, you climb up through a shady valley, the reign of ibex and chamois, leading to the Fenestrelle Pass. At the pass the Gelas Group appears in all its grandeur, its glaciers reflected in the still waters of a little lake. The imposing sight of Gelas is the backdrop for the entire descent.

Gain in height: about 450 m
Drop in height: about 700 m
Travel time: 4 hours.
Difficulty: easy


Day VI

Ellena-Soria Refuge - Federici Marchesini al Pagarì Refuge
The mule track climbs among pastures and rocks towards the edge of the northern glacier of Gelas, reaching the Pera de Fener, a historical hunting property of the King. A faint track, often covered in snow well into the season, crosses the moraine; then follows a ledge, equipped with a metal cable to assist crossing the Ghiacciai Pass. From the Agnel lakes below, you continue towards Pagarì along a route that requires you to be alert. Very close to the Refuge is a botanic garden with some of the most precious endemisms of the Maritime Alps.

Gain in height: about 1200 m
Drop in height: about 400 m
Travel time: 6 hours.
Difficulty: expert hikers


Day VII

Federici Marchesini al Pagarì Refuge - San Giacomo di Entracque
You should get out of this high altitude hut early to enjoy the red dawn reflected on the vertiginous north-west wall of Maledia. Following the path, an ancient salt route “via del sale”, you will lose height through long bends that were designed in the fifteenth century by the legendary merchant Paganino dal Pozzo. The path leads eventually to San Giacomo, where a fine royal hunting lodge is found among monumental beeches.

Drop in height: about 1450 m
Travel time: 4 hours.
Difficulty: easy


Information and reservations

For groups of at least 8, the cost per person is € 495, (this includes: the guide, half-board in the refuges, lunch packs and the shuttle bus back to the starting point). Any other costs are the participants responsibility.
The last date for joining is 10 days before the start date. Groups of more than 6 people booking together should book 15 days before the start date. By this date a deposit of € 100 per person should be paid to account number IT48B0690646910000000016915 made to Associazione Ecoturismo in Marittime, (piazza Regina Elena 30 12010 – Valdieri). If you cancel more than 8 days before the start date the deposit will be returned (minus bank charges).

Information: info@parcoalpimarittime.it; tel. +39 0171 97397

The programme may be subject to variation due to bad weather or for safety reasons, in these matters the guide's decision is final.


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