Overview Edit

  • Southern extensions: From the Mediterranean to Val Tanaro
  • Ormea 736 m (train station) - Viozene di Ormea 1245 m ("official" start)
  • - Rifugio Mongioie 1520 m - Passo delle Saline 2174 m - Rifugio Havis De Giorgio (Mondovì) 1761 m
  • - Porta Sesterna 2225 m - Rifugio Garelli 1965 m
  • - Passo del Duca 1989 m - Colla Piana 2219 m - Colle di Tenda 1871 m - Limonetto 1294 m
  • - Passo di Ciotto Mieu 2274 m - Palanfrè (Vernante) 1379 m
  • - Colle della Garbella - Trinità di Entracque
  • - Caire della Truccia - San Giacomo di Entracque - Rifugio Soria Ellena
  • - Colle delle Fenestrelle - Rifugio Genova-Figari
  • - Colle del Chiapus - Rifugio Morelli-Buzzi - Terme di Valdieri
  • - Pian del Valasco - Rifugio Questa
  • - ( Rifugio la Grange - Colle della Lombarda ) or ( Rifugio Malinvern - Passo d'Orgials) - Sant'Anna di Vinadio
  • - Passo di Bravaria - Strepeis near Bagni di Vinadio (the Variant: Percorso delle Alte Valli branches here)
  • - Caserma del Vaccia - Sambuco
  • Northern continuation: From Val Tanaro to Valle Stura di Demonte

General notes Edit

Walking time indications Edit

Walking times are preferentially taking from the printed guide of Bätzing. When inserting or correcting times, please indicate the source or some other base for comparison. Walking times from the Via Alpina homepage are unrealistically short.

Start in Garessio or Ormea Edit

The marked trail of the GTA starts in Viozene di Ormea (the hamlet Viozene, 15 km upstream of the municipality seat of Ormea). However, it might be a good idea to start the hike in Ormea (736 m) or even another 11 km downstream in Garessio (621 m) for a number of good reasons:

  • Garessio and Ormea can be reached by train
    • Alternatively, from the Mediterranean, Ormea or Garessio can be reached in 2 or 3 days (see Southern_extensions).
  • For acclimatisation, it may be helpful to start with one or two subalpine legs
  • The cultivated landscape in these lower altitudes is beautiful and interesting.

Trail and accomodation Edit

From Garessio to Ormea Edit

From Garessio (621 m) to Ormea (763 m), 24 km, up 920 m, down 770 m, walking time 7h [according to Via Alpina of which this is leg R152,]. Map: e.g. Kompass 641.

The trail runs for about 6 km in the valley, then climbs to the northern "balcony" (Balconata di Ormea). Hikers with a tent may stay in the altitude instead of descending into Ormea.

There is a number of hotels in Ormea.

From Ormea to Viozene Edit

From Ormea (763 m) to Viozene (1245 m), about 25 km, up 1200 m, down 800 m, walking time 7h, in reverse direction slightly less [part of leg R151 of Via Alpina,]. Maps: Kompass 641 and IGC 8 (no overlap, possibly a gap of a few 100 m)

The trail runs again on the northern balcony above the Tanaro valley.

In Viozene, there are several hotels:

  • Albergo Ristorante La Tramontana 0174 390110
  • Miramonti* 0174 390126
  • Hotel Tiglio 0174 390116
  • Albergo Italia Piazza San Bartolomeo 0174 390155

But consider continuing to Rifugio Mongioie (see below) to shorten the following leg.

From Viozene to Rifugio Garelli Edit

Viozene autunnale

Viozene in autumn [photo: Fabio281 on it.wikipedia].

From Viozene (1245 m) to Rifugio Garelli (1990 m), at least up 1400 m, down 650 m. Map: IGC 8.

In Viozene (Ormea municipality, 1245 m), the official trail of the GTA starts. However, according to IGC map 8, the trail leaves the valley road for good only at le Pianche 2 km west of Viozene. It climbs to Casali where it meets the Via Alpina. Around a ridge (Colla di Carnino 1597 m) the united trails reach

Alternatively, one may start the GTA in the hamlet of Carnino inferiori and mount directly to the Rifugio Bossi.

Yet another alternative: From Viozene, follow the Via Alpina up to

  • Rifugio Mongioie (1520 m) open from 1 May to 30 September, please reserve for weekends and in peak season: 0174 390196 (rif), 345541 (abitazione), 0335 5745001 (cellulare).

From there, Via Alpina takes westbound, reaching the GTA at Casali with little loss in altitude.

From Rifugio Bossi, GTA takes northbound via Passo delle Saline (2174 m) to

The GTA turns west, and mounts to Lago Biecai (1967 m) where it rejoins the Via Alpina. Through Porta Sestrera (2225 m) entering the Parco Naturale Alto Valle Pesio. Quick descent to

Interesting alternatives to explore:

  • From Rif. Bossi to Lago Biecai, Via Alpina goes via Passo delle Mastrelle (2061 m), Bivacco Saracco Volante, Colle del Pas (2342 m).
  • From Rif. Mongioie northbound, ascension of M. Mongioie (2630 m) via Lago Raschera and Lago di Brignola to Rif. Havis?
  • From Carnino via Gola della Chiusetta to Rifugio Barbera, ascension of Punta Marguareis (2651 m), descent sliding down a 45 deg snow couloir to Lago Marguareis near Rif Garelli?
    • Rifugio Don Barbera (2070 m) 0174 1771000 (hut) 0174 738077 (valley) 333 2700314 (mobile) 15 June - 15 Sept, if not too much snow. Reservation obligatory!

One could also leave out Rif Garelli, crossing from Rif Barbera to Colle della Boaria on the leg Garelli-Limonetto, but why would one want to shorten the trail? It would be a pity not to make the detour via the Upper Pesio Valley.

This is a karst region, make sure you carry enough water.

From Rif. Garelli to Limonetto Edit

From Rifugio Garelli (1990 m) through the Upper Pesio, then along the Italian-French border ridge to Limonetto (1284 m, municipality Limone, Valle Vermenagna). 21 km, up 820 m, down 1460 m, 6h40, reverse 7h25 [Via Alpina R149, Bätzing gives walking times of 8h, reverse almost 9h]. Map: IGC 8.

Near the ridge, there are two military roads, one due to Napoleon, the other to Mussolini. The Tende area only became French in 1947; this explains why the Mussolini road crosses through what is now French territory.

Unfortunately, the descent from the Colle di Tenda to Limonetto goes through a ski ressort.


  • For hikers who do not need accomodation: Continue on the ridge beyond Colle di Tenda up to Fort de Jaure, join the read trail of Via Alpina backwards towards Limonetto, then somehow find an abbreviation towards Passo di Ciotto Mien.
  • For hikers who do not need accomodation: Continue on the ridge beyond Colle di Tenda up to Fort de Jaure, join the red trail of Via Alpina into France, then remount towards Colle del Sabione, Passo della Mena to Laghi d. Alberghi (excellent bivac place).
  • As before to Fort de Jaure, then follow the red trail of Via Alpina for several days into France, visit the petroglyphes in Vallées des Merveilles, to rejoin the GTA a few legs ahead at Rifugio Ellena-Soria.

No Posto Tappa.

Hotels in Limonetto:

Downstream in Limone:

  • Albergo Porta della Neve, Limone capoluogo (ca 1000 m), Via Rocca dell'Abisso 37, 18 beds, 0171 928197, only in summer

From Limonetto to Pallanfrè Edit

From Limonetto (1294 m) over Passo di Ciotto Mieu (2274 m) to Pallanfrè (1379 m, municipality Vernante). 5h20', opposite direction 5h [Bätzing]. Map; IGC 8.

Between the pass and Pallanfrè, Lago degli Alberghi (2038 m), ideal bivouac place.

Posto Tappa: Signora Silvana Giordano, Locanda del Parco L'Arbergh, Strada Palanfrè 19, 340 6973954.

From Pallanfrè to Trinità Edit

From Pallanfrè (1379 m) over the ridge Costa di Panard (2209 m) to Trinità (1096 m, municipality Entracque). 5h30', opposite direction 5h [Bätzing].

Posto Tappa: Locanda del Sorriso 0171 978388 (June to Sept plus weekends) 0171 266980 (when closed), 38 places, some of the in the cellar.

From Trinità to S. Giacomo Edit

From Trinità di Entracque (1096 m) to S. Giacomo (1220 m) in Val Gesso di Entracque. Short leg, can be combined with the first part of the next one (up to one of the huts). Map: IGC 8.

IGC map 8 has two alternative trails:

  • From Tetti Jose to Ponte delle Rovine, then upstream in the valley of T. Gesso, or
  • Some time after Tetti Jose take to the left and mount almost to Punta Casasco (1941 m).

Posto Tappa: Foresteria del Parco (Parco Alpi Marittime), 1220 m, Valle Gesso, 12010 S.Giacomo di Entracque, tel. 0171 978444; 0171 97397, 20 places.

From S. Giacomo to Terme di Valdieri Edit

From S.Giacomo di Entracque (1220 m) over Colle di Fenestrelle (2463 m) to Lago del Chiotas (1990 m) and over Colle del Chiapous (2526 m) to Terme di Validieri (1370 m). Long traversal of the Argentera massiv (Parco Naturale Alpi Marittime). Probably more than 10h, with possible breaks in three huts. Map: IGC 8.

All huts are open from 15 June to 15 Sept:

  • Rigugio Ellena-Soria' (1840 m) CAI Cuneo 0171 67998
  • Rifugio Genova-Figari (2015 m) CAI Ligure 0171 978138
  • Rifugio Merelli-Buzzi (2450 m) CAI Cuneo 0171 67998

Possible summits:

  • Monte Argentera Cima Sud (3297 m, difficulty F+), Cima Nord (3286 m, difficulty F)
  • Asta soprana (2970 m, F+)
  • Cima Mondini (2915 m, F/PD)

Posto Tappa: dependance of Grand Hotel Terme di Valdieri, tel 0171 97106 or 0171 261666, 20 places.


From Terme di Valdieri to Rifugio Questa Edit

From Terme di Validieri (1370 m) to Refugio Questa (2388 m). Direct ascension 3h according to homepage of the hut; more comfortably passing by Lago di Vascura in 4h (but in the next leg we pass anyway by that lake). Map: IGC 8.

Refugio Emilio Questa (2388 m) [UTM32/WGS84: 0357.443, 4893.729] CAI Ligure, Flavio Poggio, gestore e guida alpina: 0171 97338 (hut) 0347 7959051 (mobile)

Possible summits according to hut homepage:

  • Testa sud di Bresses (2820 m): via passo di Prèfouns, 3h
  • Testa di Tablasses (2851 m): via passo di Prèfouns, 3h
  • Testa Margiola (2831 m): via pass of same name, 3h
  • Testa delle Portette (2821 m): via passo delle Portette, possibly direct descent to passo Margiola, 2h30' to 3h
  • Testa del Claus (2889 m): via bassa della Lausa, 4h, "sfasciumi", seems a little delicate
  • Cima di Tavels (2804 m): via bassa della Lausa, ore 3.30, at some point hitting an old military path
  • Testa Malinvern (2939 m): via bassa del Druos, 3h30'

From Rifugio Questa via Rif. Malinvern or Isola 2000 to Sant'Anna di Vinadio Edit

For these two legs there are two variants. The preferable one stays on the Italian side and uses the Rifugio Malinvern. If that hut is not open, an alternate trail crosses into the French ski ressort Isola 2000; the only reason to do so is to use the accomodation in Refuge La Grange.

Map IGC 7.

Refugio Malinvern (1836 m) CAI Città di Ceva ( - hut page still missing) 0171 959605 (hut) 347 2725194 (mobile) Klingenfuß page says it's opening 1 of July, which is probably wrong; other sites indicate opening in June or in "spring".

Posto Tappa in Sant'Anna: ( => Accoglienza => Soggiorno) 0171959125 or 0171959518

From Sant'Anna to Bagni di Vinadio Edit

From Sant'Anna (2020 m) to Bagni di Vinadio (1305 m). Map IGC 7.

Posto Tappa in the hamlet Strepeis (1280 m) very close to Bagni di Vinadio: Albergo Ristorante Strepeis 0171 95831.

The Variant: Percorso delle Alte Valli branches in Bagni di Vinadio from the main track of the GTA. Both tracks join again in Chiesa di Bellino in Varaita valley. Note: in the old Bätzing guides, the Alte Valli variant is designated as the main track (legs 39-44), and today's main trackl is described as a variant (38a-c,69,71).

From Bagni to Sambuco Edit

From Bagni di Vinadio (1305 m) via Caserma di Vaccia (2241 m) to Sambuco (1135 m) in the main valley of Stura di Demonte. 6h, opposite direction 6h30' [Bätzing].

Posto Tappa: Via Umberto, 29 in face of Ristorante Albergo La Pace, 0171/96628

For continuation on the main track of the GTA, see here: Cottian Alps: From Valle Stura di Demonte to Val di Susa