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At the Barbustel Refuge, in the heart of the Monte Avic Natural Park

Crystal clear lakes and larch forests with a North American feel, in less than 3 hours of walking. The fastest excursion to the Barbustel refuge.
4.30 h


The Monte Avic Natural Park, in the lower Aosta Valley, is famous for a constellation of crystalline lakes, crowned by views of Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa.

One of the most famous excursions in the Monte Avic Natural Park is the one to the Barbustel Refuge, and the lakes that surround it, immersed in a sparse larch forest that recalls the wild natural parks of North America. Although the Barbustel Refuge is located in the Champdepraz Valley, most people reach it instead from the Champorcher Valley, where you can start the hike from a higher altitude (around 1750 m, instead of the 1250 m of Covarey, the starting point from the Champdepraz Valley).

Having parked the car in one of the car parks near Alpe Cort (1760 m), you start to go up the outlet of Lake Muffé, following its waters and jumping from the left to the orographic right, accompanied by a beautiful forest of fir and larch trees.

When the conifers become less sparse, and the path becomes less steep, we spot the Bar Ristoro Muffé hut, a few meters from the transparent waters of Lake Muffé (2080 m, 50 minutes). The short duration of the excursion, the altitude, the crystal clear and not too cold lake (ideal for a swim), and the beauty of the refuge make this place an ideal (and very popular) destination for young families.

Instead, we continue in the direction of Col Lago Bianco (2309 m, 40 minutes), winding across a plateau dotted with sparse larches. Once we reach the pass, we go down into the Champdepraz Valley, and in a few minutes we reach the Barbustel Refuge (2205 m, 15 minutes).

At the Barbustel Refuge we find a similar landscape, characterized by sparse larches, which reveal turquoise lakes, and the snow-capped peaks of Monte Rosa on the horizon. Here we can enjoy the afternoon taking a dip in Lago Bianco or Lago Nero, or taking a walk on the panoramic terrace a few meters north of the refuge, which offers views of the Monte Rosa group.

To return to the car, follow the same path from Rifugio Barbustel to Cort (1.30 hours) passing through Col Lago Bianco and the Bar Ristoro at Lago Muffé.

For those who want a longer itinerary, from the Barbustel Refuge you can extend the excursion to the Gran Lago, or undertake a much (much) longer circular tour that touches Gran Lago, Lago di Mezove, Col Fussi (and Monte Glacier), Rifugio Dondena, then returning to Cort from the Champorcher Valley.






The mountains are a dangerous environment: make sure you always have the right equipment — hiking or trail shoes, warm clothes and waterproofs in case of unexpected changes in weather conditions, a small emergency kit.


I've made an Amazon "shopping note" to make sure you have everything — ps if you buy from these links, 3% goes to support the development and maintenance of Hikes of the World 🙏.


  • Breathable t-shirt ( example )

  • Sweatshirt, fleece, or light jacket

  • Waterproof windbreaker (for example: men / women )

  • Gloves and hat (you never know)

  • Backpack with rain cover

  • Trekking poles (not essential, but they help to unload the weight of the backpack and ease the impact on the joints)

  • Trekking or trail running shoes (in great vogue lately because they are lightweight. These Salomon ones - for men and women - are an excellent entry-level, preferably Gore-Tex)

  • For via ferratas: complete via ferrata kit (I have this one , very light and compact, with this harness and helmet — or you can buy complete kits ). Buy in store to receive ad hoc support

  • To sleep a night in a refuge: sheet or light sleeping bag

  • Water bottle or thermos

  • Light crampons if you think you will find ice or snow on the route

  • Power bank or cell phone charger

  • Camera

  • Drone, for those who love to "fly" (used in moderation and at a distance from other people. I have had the DJI Mini 2 for over 2 years and have found myself very happy with it. The DJI Mini 3 also allows you to take vertical photographs)

  • Small emergency kit ( example )

  • Sun cream (essential)

  • Sunglasses


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