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Saoseo Lake and Viola Lake in Val di Campo

Two lake pearls in a valley dotted with mountain pastures. At its best between October and November.
4.30 h


Rarely does the Val Poschiavo, straight and without deviations, nestled between severe mountain profiles, grant a wide breath to a lateral valley. The most notable exception is the Val di Campo (Val da Camp), a natural gem of Switzerland, which opens to the right just north of Poschiavo and forcefully extends towards Italy.

Two alpine lakes mirror dense coniferous forests; and precisely these forests, in the second half of October, offer hikers (and photographers) a spectacle of strong autumnal flavor: larches surrender to warm shades of yellow and orange, while spruces seem to resist the winter season retaining the green of their needles, creating an unmissable contrast of colors.

The entrance to the Val di Campo is located near Sfazù (1622m), a small locality on SS 29, where we first encounter (on the right) the hotel that bears its name, then a large parking lot (a little further on the left) where we can park the car. Detailed signage indicates the start of the dirt road, which immediately enters a larch forest. Just a few minutes of ascent and the environment becomes fairy-tale-like: the road meanders through pastures, alpine huts, farmhouses, and larch forests, ablaze with autumn colors; around us, a crown of peaks sprinkled with snow.

After passing the farmhouses of Salva, the road curves southward, then enters a sparse grove: here we leave the dirt road (which we will follow entirely on the way back) and take the deviation that descends to the right, crosses the river, traverses the meadows of Terzana, and returns to close in the forest. Some water pools anticipate our first destination, Lake Saoseo (2029m, 1.30 hours), now only 20 minutes away. It quietly appears nestled in a wide amphitheater of mountains, lying on a bed of conifer logs; the turquoise colors of the lake reflect the dichotomy of the surrounding woods, the green of the spruces and the yellow of the larches, while to the west, the white mass of the Bernina towers.

We continue our journey on the northern slope of the lake, which disappears behind us, hidden by trees as we proceed. A short, mostly flat path leads us to the altitude limit of tree growth: here, a second large natural basin opens up, hosting Lake Val Viola (2159m, 30 minutes), less poetic than Lake Saoseo.

For the return, it is preferable to stay on the right orographic side of the valley, in order to better enjoy the warm autumn sun: after briefly returning on the outbound trail, we take the deviation on the right that leads us to Rifugio Alpe Campo, atop a verdant slope; a place of peace in the cold months, it is besieged by hikers in the summer season. Here at the refuge, we find the end of the dirt road that we partially traveled in the morning; we now traverse it entirely, passing first by the blocky shape of Rifugio Saoseo, then again through the meadows and huts that dot the lower part of the valley.

The days of October and November quickly give way to sunset and twilight: so it's no wonder if, in Val di Campo, already at 4 in the afternoon, we find ourselves walking in a painting of red and orange tones: the sunset light enhances the autumnal colors of the larches and defines the severe lines of the surrounding peaks.






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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