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VALCHIAVENNA

Tour from Lake Truzzo to Alpe Lendine

A long circular tour that touches all the most magical points of the remote Drogo Valley, a lateral side of the Spluga Valley.
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EE
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7:00 h
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17km
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1190
7
description

THE HIKE

The Valle del Drogo, a crescent-shaped hollow that connects to the Spluga Valley at San Giacomo Filippo, harbors some hiking gems not to be missed, such as the elegant mule track that ascends to Lake Truzzo, or the Alpe Lendine, a picturesque high-altitude village nestled fan-like in the shadow of Pizzaccio. The proposed excursion here is a rather long loop that touches upon all the most fascinating corners of this small valley. If we feel we can't manage it in a single day, the loop can be broken into two separate hikes.


We ascend from Chiavenna along the SS36; at the entrance of San Giacomo Filippo, we turn left onto a narrow asphalt road that, cutting through the mountain with about twenty hairpin turns, leads us to the houses of Olmo, neatly arranged on a beautiful grassy slope. We continue along the road to reach, on a slight descent, the bottom of the Valle del Drogo; after crossing the bridge over the stream, we stop at the parking lot of the large hydroelectric power station of San Bernardo (1070m).


We immediately take the mule track; walking among the trees, not far from the stream, we have the opportunity to reflect on the toponymy of this valley: "drogo" indicates a streambed deeply embedded between rocks, synonymous with a gorge, indicating that the valley, especially in the stretch we rapidly ascended by car, is rugged and harsh, carved deeply by its numerous watercourses. As we ascend, however, the valley opens up, the forest becomes sparser, and the cobbled path, curving to the right, intersects with the mule track from Scanabecco in the locality of Sant'Antonio, another possible starting point.


The path is pleasant among these old houses scattered in the valley floor, bustling with life in the summer months, when numerous families come here to find some peace from the summer heat. Further on, in the locality of Caurga (1294m, 1 hour), we find a junction with signs for the Carlo Emilio Refuge; we turn right here, beginning the ascent to Lake Truzzo, which will take us a couple of hours.


The cobbled path ascends initially with moderate slope, partially hidden by grass, then it climbs more steeply to overcome the austere rocky ridges supporting the Truzzo basin. Along the way, we'll be distracted by the slowly unfolding vistas at the end of the valley, the ever-changing vegetation, and the mule track, which seems to become more beautiful and precise with each hairpin turn. But it's only once we're out of the woods, at an altitude of about 1750 meters, that we traverse the most spectacular stretch of the cobbled path: the stones here are expertly arranged like a mosaic, perfectly interlocked to withstand for decades the destructive force of the elements and the passage of humans and animals. Some rhododendron plants growing among the narrow switchbacks complete the composition. Contrary to what one might think, however, this mule track is not ancient: its construction is related to the hydroelectric exploitation of the valley, so it dates back only to the early 1920s.


Continuing to ascend with constant slope, skirting smooth rocky cliffs shaped by the erosion of ancient glaciers, we reach the beautiful Alpe Cornera (1920m, 2 hours), then, a little higher up, the mammoth buildings of the dam keepers; from here, via a long staircase, we ascend to the Truzzo dam (2080m, 20 minutes). The views of the imposing Pizzo di Prata, Sciora, Badile, and Cengalo are equally beautiful as Lake Truzzo, which extends behind us, crowned on the right by the towers of Camoscere. The artificial dam, of rather modest dimensions and tiled with local stone, is inconspicuous and seems to blend into the natural environment.


The trail to Alpe Lendine doesn't start from the dam but a little higher up, along the path to the Carlo Emilio Refuge, which is worth a short visit. We reach it by walking along the dam and ascending slightly, now on a simple trail, the slopes on the western shore of the lake, from where we can enjoy the incredible transparencies of the lake along the way. The small refuge (2153m, 20 minutes), unmanaged (keys can be obtained from the dam keepers), stands on the shores of Lake Nero, a beautiful body of water bordered by concrete walls.


On the way back, we need to pay attention to the junction for Alpe Lendine: the narrow path reaches a col in a flat area, beyond which it descends steeply from the rocky cliffs we traversed in the morning along the mule track. The trail is sometimes barely visible and often makes us stumble over uncomfortable scree, but cairns and red-and-white markers of the CAI keep us good company.


Descending to around 1700 meters (which is also the altitude of Alpe Lendine), the slope decreases drastically, and the trail winds halfway up the slope inside a beautiful forest of conifers; the track, perched on the edge of the cliff, is quite narrow, and tall grass tends to further narrow it. It's with some relief that we reach the meadows of Sambuco (1690m, 1.30 hours), where our feet can walk safely. From here to Alpe Lendine, there's less than an hour left, which can be pleasantly spent amidst lush green coniferous forests.


Alpe Lendine (1710m, 45 minutes) is an incredibly well-kept and elegant high-altitude village, dominated by the towering pyramid of Pizzaccio; the alpine pasture returns an even more astonishing effect of magic in the winter months, when tons of snow weigh on the roofs of the huts and uniformly cover the meadows, hiding weeds, debris, and signs of abandonment.


The descent is to be made along the path to Olmo (which starts behind the isolated church), from where we detach ourselves at around 1400 meters above sea level following the path indicated for "Drogo" (a wooden signboard on a larch). Upon reaching isolated farmsteads in the woods, a steep descent awaits us along a completely wooded steep slope, at the base of which we find ourselves at the houses of Caurga (1294m, 1 hour): a little further down, we find the junction for the Carlo Emilio Refuge taken in the morning. From here to the car, we retrace the same path in the valley floor of the Valle del Drogo (1070m, 40 minutes).

Mappa

MAP

Foto

PHOTO GALLERY

EQUIPMENT

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

HIKES IN THE SAME REGION

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