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c - SNOW TREK - n.5: Formazza Valley - RIFUGIO MARIA LUISA AND LAKE TOGGIA

High-altitude hike in the snow-covered world of the Riale basin, to reach a delightful lodge and a lake immersed in the frost of high-altitude winter.

Place of departure: Formazza, Fraz. Riale (1730 m.)
Place of arrival: Lake Toggia (2191 m.)
Height difference: +470 m one way
Distance: 6 km one way
Travel time net of stops: 3 hours one way
Signage: white/red signs
How to get there: 47 km from Domodossola. Strada Statale 33 del Sempione, Crodo exit. Follow the signs Crodo - Baceno - Val Formazza. When you reach the municipality of Formazza, continue to Fraz. Riale.

The itinerary:

There are two possible car parks for Riale. From the first, the larger one, follow the asphalt road slightly uphill until reaching the second car park, located close to the first houses of Riale di Sotto. From this point, the route is no longer cleared of snow, leaving the entire basin available to skiers and snowshoers.
Continue on to a bridge, after which you come to a fork in the road. Continue straight ahead (signpost "G00 Rifugio Maria Luisa") on the obvious snowmobile track that climbs gradually, crossing the cross-country ski track twice (please be careful and do not damage the ski rails). The track begins to climb with a long traverse to the right, following what is a dirt road in summer.
A hairpin bend leads to another long traverse, this time to the left. At the following hairpin bend, one of the most beautiful views of Riale opens up, with the magnificent St. Anne's Church perched on a small rise and the Morasco Dam in the background under the steep walls of Mount Immel (2807 m) and the Punta di Morasco (2831 m).
The road continues to climb with wide hairpin bends that get closer together as you gain height, always very scenic especially at the bends that turn to the right.
Almost at the height of a pylon, which is already visible from below, the road softens and pleasantly enters a plateau with a grandiose view behind it.
At an isolated building, the road bends towards the Toggia dam, while the hut is not visible at all. Turn left over a bridge and, after passing an isolated building, you find the beautiful refuge.
The dam is easily reached by following the road that starts in front of the lodge and passes under the service building to look out over the Toggia basin, which is often completely frozen.

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

Tips for baby snowshoers
The hike is technically very easy and well-marked, but the length in kilometres will be felt especially on the way back, something to be taken into account. Suitable for grown-up children or children who are well used to walking. Keep in mind the altitude: above 2000 metres, sun cream is absolutely essential!
Caution: Avalanches can occur at some points along the road in certain conditions: always enquire before setting off at the Centro Fondo Riale.

CONTACTS FOR TOURIST INFORMATION
CENTRO FONDO RIALE
Fraz. Riale - 28863 Formazza (VB)
Tel. +39 380 3100773
Email:

www.centrofondoriale.com

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

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