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c - SNOW TREK - n.11: Alta Valle Antrona Nature Park - CIMALLEGRA-LAKE ANTRONA

A hike through the woods of the Alta Valle Antrona Nature Park, passing from one alp to the next until reaching the shores of Lake Antrona

Place of departure: Antronapiana, Alpe Cimallegra (1014 m.)
Place of arrival: Antrona Lake (1073 m.)
Maximum altitude: 1165 m.
Height difference: +146 m. -87 m. one way
Distance: 1.65 km one way
Travel time net of stops: 1 hour one way
Signage: pink diamond signs with snowshoe symbol and white/red signs
How to get there: 16 km from Villadossola. From Villadossola follow the signs for Valle Antrona, Strada provinciale 67. Once in Antronapiana, follow the road signs "Cimallegra".

The itinerary:

Leaving the beautiful stone huts of Cimallegra to your right, at a hairpin bend you will come to Baita Cimallegra on the left. The route begins a little further on the right, marked with pink diamond snowshoe signs and white/red "Alpe Fornalei" "Alpe Ronco" signs.
Please note: If parking here is difficult, you can set off directly from Antronapiana, opposite the picnic area, along a beautiful mule track and following the white/red "Cimallegra" signs (in which case, it is an extra twenty minutes' walk). The trail climbs quite steeply, following what in summer is a beautiful mule track that leads to a small bridge and then to a second one just before the first houses of the pleasant stone hamlet of Cimallegra (1014 m). When you reach a fountain near the Bismarck Hut, pay attention because you might find a well camouflaged goat... or is it a monkey? Look for it, perhaps you might see another animal again!
From the fountain, continue straight ahead, rejoining the start of the snowshoe trail.
Follow the red/white "Alpe Fornalei" and "Alpe Ronco" signs, passing downhill from an isolated hut to the next pink diamond sign.
Ignore the white/red signpost that would indicate a right for Fornalei and continue straight ahead along the obvious treeless track that climbs steadily and gradually along the course of the stream to a fountain downstream from Alpe Fornalei. Ascend diagonally across a beautiful snowy meadow to reach the beautiful huts of Alpe Fornalei (1094 m). The route now becomes a little steeper, climbing up behind the huts. Follow a first white/red sign "Forcola" and with a couple of hairpin bends you reach the next white/red sign indicating on the left "Alpe Ronco" "Lago di Antrona" and the pink diuamond sign. The trail now leads along the side of the mountain, with an alternating course, through a white birch forest to a beautiful larch and fir forest. Leave a large felled larch tree to your right and turn left slightly uphill before turning right to reach a beautiful wooden bridge and an aqueduct outlet.
In the event of heavy snowfall, once you have reached the fountain downstream from Alpe Fornalei, ford the stream to your left and, after passing the blue waterworks marker, follow the wide uphill track to the right through the fir and larch woods, leading to the large felled larch and shortly afterwards to the small wooden bridge and the aqueduct outlet.
From here on, the road widens out and, descending gradually, a votive shrine dedicated to Sant’Antonio da Padova can be seen on the right. Passing in front of the votive pillar, the next pink diamond sign and white/red signs indicate "Alpe Ronco" on the left and descending through the woods you quickly reach the beautiful Alpe Ronco (1115 m.) near a fountain and a small "Casera".
Crossing the well-ordered stone huts of Alpe Ronco to the right, the frozen surface of the Antrona Lake (1073 m) appears below.
A nice wooden sign indicates the way: a path descends steeply and plunges back into the wood with short bends and, guided by the numerous white/red signs, you reach the shores of the lake. Continue to the left for a short, flat stretch. Here you can have fun and build a giant snowman! And admire the imposing peaks of the Alta Valle Antrona Nature Park surrounding the enchanting Antrona Lake.

The return journey is by the same route as the outward journey.

Tips for baby snowshoers
This is an easy hike, with some fairly steep but short climbs, and the passage between the beautiful mountain huts will distract young hikers from their efforts. If they are too tired, it is possible to interrupt the excursion at Alpe Ronco, in search of cute little animals made of both wood and stone and taking advantage of the possibility of letting the little ones sit on the steps of the houses, cleared of snow.
ATTENTION: Do not damage or soil anything!

Via Santa Maria, 3 - 28841 Antrona Schieranco (VB)
Tel. +39 0324.51805

Path makers: Franco Voglino, Annalisa Porporato e Nora Voglino
Authors of text: Franco Voglino, Annalisa Porporato