The hiking route develops in Alta Valle Tanaro, along a strategic path that allows the crossing of the two sides, through the practice of an easy trekking, alternating with fairly challenging sections, placed at higher altitudes, able to intercept differentiated targets of users for skills and interests.
Stage 1 – km 16,8
Garessio Rifugio Pian dell’Arma
From the village of Garessio (Borgo Maggiore), you reach the Pilone di Sant’Anna through woods of broad-leaved woods between dirt roads and ancient mule tracks. On a dirt road we continue to the ridge of the Truc Prato del Poco (1,312 m) to continue between wooded ridges and grassy ridges towards Mount Galero (1,708 m). From here we continue towards the Colle del Priore and passing through the territory of Caprauna, we reach the Pian dell’Arma Refuge, along a stretch of the Via Alpina.
Stage 2 – km 15
Rifugio Pian dell’Arma Ormea – Chionea
From the Pian dell’Arma hut, follow the Caprauna-Fraz path for a short distance. Ruora (A49), climbing up to the Fontana Fraja, to continue towards the Alpisella, and intercept the Path A47 (Ormea-Bivio S.P. 28) that leads to the S. Giuseppe Bridge and the village of Ormea. From the center of the village continue towards S. Mauro, then follow the path that leads to the Valdarmella valley up to the Colla di Chionea. Along the ridge, particularly panoramic, we reach the village of Chionea (1.091 m) and the homonymous refuge.
Stage 3 – km 7,7
Rifugio Chionea – Quarzina
From the hamlet of Chionea, where there is the homonymous shelter, we follow a wide mule track that leads to Porcirette Sottane and cross a chestnut wood, towards the Case Rian. After passing an ancient bridge you reach the hamlet of Chioraira. Once past the ruins of the Colletto hamlet you reach the wide pastureland of the Piano della Colma (1.520 m), where the church of S. Giovanni is located. From here the view can range from the peaks to the Ligurian sea below. We then go down towards the hamlet of Quarzina at an altitude of 1,347, half of the third stage, where the homonymous shelter is located.
Stage 4 – km 13,8
Quarzina – Rifugio Mongioie
From the oldest hamlet of the Municipality of Ormea, Quarzina, the only inhabited center of the area (where there is also the Refuge that bears the same name) from which you can see the sea, climb towards the Case Biranco, to reach the township Merea and Case Fasce. From the Cresta del Monte Baraccone (altitude of 1,380 m), from which you can admire an enchanting landscape, you go into thick woods of Scotch pine, skirting the peat bog of Pian della Madonna and the clearing of Celle Pian del Fo. After a beech forest that flanks the Rio Re Bianco and the larch forest near Pian dell’Arma (altitude 1,480 m), you reach Pian Rosso, surrounded by the walls of the Mongioie. The stage ends near the homonymous shelter located at 1,550 m.
Stage 5 – km 10,8
Rifugio Mongioie – Carnino Rifugio Don Barbera
From the Rifugio Mongioie, at an altitude of 1,550 m, follow a grassy plateau towards the hamlet of Carnino (Municipality of Briga Alta) and follow an evocative Tibetan bridge from which you can admire the karstic spring of the Veins, continuing through the thick wood of Sylvan pine. to the panoramic Colla di Carnino, then descend towards the village of Carnino Inferiore. In this area, the Rifugio Ciarlo Bossi and the guest quarters of the park offer bars, refreshments and overnight stays. Then you go up to the Chiusetta Gorge and from here through wide plateaus you reach the Vallone dei Maestri where there is an ancient bog and the Church of S. Erim (altitude 1,904 m). You then climb up to 2,107 towards the Colle dei Signori near which there is the Don Barbera Refuge (altitude 2,980 m), along the Alta Via del Sale.
Stage 6 – km.14,4
Rifugio Don Barbera – Tenda
From the Colle dei Signori, continue along the path up to the fork to descend to the left until you reach the Vacherie de Malabergue, and continue past the small village of Réfrei (altitude 1,444 m) to Castel Tournou (altitude 1,320 m). You then go down towards the Granges de la Pia and continue along the path that runs alongside the Refrei stream, passing the Lago de Pia, until you reach the parking lot of the Tenda Municipality station.
GEOGRAPHICAL AREA INTERESTED
The itinerary is cross-border, starting from the center of Garessio, leading up to Tenda crossing the Alta Via del Sale and reaching the Don Barbera Refuge at Colle dei Signori. It is designed in such a way as to favor access to the numerous refuges located along its six stages; you meet a refuge on average every three hours of walking (Rifugio Pian dell’Arma, Rifugio Chionea, Rifugio Quarzina, Rifugio Mongioie, Foresteria di Carnino, Rifugio Ciarlo Bossi, Rifugio Don Barbera). Throughout its development it allows both to appreciate the valuable landscape component of the Valleys, and to visit the centers of the three municipalities of the Alta Valle Tanaro: Garessio, Ormea and Brig Alta, as well as the French municipality of Tenda. We pass through some very suggestive historic villages such as Carnino, Viozene, Quarzina, Chionea, Chioraira, with the welcome accompaniment of the excellence of the table and local gastronomy, supported by the presence of typical and traditional quality products.
Total length: 90 km, passable in about 6 days. The itinerary is subdivided into 6 main stages, but offers the possibility of constructing shorter stages (in favor of a typical family user) or changes to the most demanding itinerary in terms of length, height difference and difficulty, in favor of users. more experienced sportsmen.
Difficulty and distance: The route is medium-easy, practicable by everyone; it is more challenging as regards the stage “Rifugio Don Barbera-Carnino-Rifugio Mongioie” and the initial “Garessio-Rifugio Pian dell’Arma”. The itinerary allows a fruition that goes from spring to autumn. In fact, the season of hiking and outdoor sports in the Ligurian Alps generally begins very early, as early as April, thanks to the more favorable exposure compared to the other Valleys of the Province of Cuneo.