CERTOSA DI PESIO - PIANO DELLE GORRE - PASSO DEL DUCA - LIMONE
40 Km Suitable for experienced cyclists Elevation Gain: +1.760 m - Total Descent: 200 m - Maximum Altitude Reached: 2.150 m
The Duke's Way can be travelled on mountain bike or on foot and is an important access route from the lower province of Cuneo and the Monregale area to the Alta Via del Sale, which crosses the splendid scenery of the Parco del Marguareis along an old military carriage road that has been recently restored. From Chiusa di Pesio, head up the picturesque valley of the same name on the ordinary roads, passing through meadows and chestnut groves. You will pass the hamlets of Vigna and San Bartolomeo, and the ancient Carthusian monastery, with its delightful cloister. Alternatively, Valle Pesio can be reached from Sant’Anna di Prea in Valle Ellero via a more challenging route, which climbs right up under the summit of Monte Pigna, before descending to the Carthusian monastery along the Borgate path. From Villaggio d’Ardua you can take the unsealed track on the right. The valley becomes even narrower and takes on Alpine features, soon leading to the clearing of the Piano delle Gorre mountain hut.
Here there are challenging mountain-bike trails for adventurous cyclists, which lead from the valley floor to the Carthusian monastery, through mountain pastures dotted with farmhouses (Marguareis Bike, Sentiero Chiusa – Certosa, etc.). From the plateau, the unsealed carriage road continues between tall conifers to the Cascate del Saut ford. The former military road 194 has been restored and the road bed is in excellent condition. The wide, easy route continues through a scenic fir-wood, then from Gias degli Arpi starts to wind through the rugged Alpine valley of the same name, with more open terrain and long, evenly spaced hairpin bends. Leaving behind the meadows of Colle del Prel, following a narrower crossing and a little ramp where you’ll need to get off your bike and push it, you’ll reach the narrow mountain pass known as the Passo del Duca, marked by several striking pinnacles. From here on the road has been restored but the surface has been left in its natural state and is thus more challenging. A wild and very scenic stretch, with some gentle ascents and descents among limestone rocks and dwarf mountain pines, leads to Gias delle Ortiche.
Here the former military road gradually climbs through the spectacular Carsene region, hugging the rugged terrain, past fields of karst rock formations, loose stones and sinkholes, between Cima della Fascia and the Marguareis Group. You will eventually reach the Morgantini caving hut, from where the road crosses the French border, with two possible routes down. On the left, a grassy service track leads to the nearby unsealed route of the Alta Via del Sale, in the direction of the Don Barbera mountain hut (itinerary 2). If you prefer to continue on the other side towards Limone Piemonte, then take the original route of the former military road on the right, which is narrower and has a few exposed stretches, to emerge near Colle della Boaria.