Mountain Hike recommended route Multi-stage route

Via Alta Vallemaggia

Mountain Hike
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  • Via Alta Vallemaggia
    Via Alta Vallemaggia
    Photo: Ascona-Locarno Tourism
Step by step the horizon widens.

Featuring grassy ridges, scree slopes, Alpine lakes, small snowfields, wildflower meadows, rocky ridges, larch woods and passages equipped with chains, the Via Alta Vallemaggia offers a unique trekking experience for hikers seeking a ridgeway adventure in the Vallemaggia region.

difficult
Distance 168.6 km
85:00 h
14,140 m
15,530 m
2,774 m
254 m
The route traverses pre-Alpine landscapes with views across Lake Maggiore and decidedly Alpine landscapes including the Basodino glacier, with two variants to the north. It covers 200 km divided into 19 sections and alternates between red-and-white trails and blue-and-white Alpine tracks, including sections with difficulty ratings of up to T5–. Given the length of this multi-stage trail, it can be completed in various stages according to your preferences.

Source: Associazione Via Alta Vallemaggia

Author’s recommendation

BOOK ONLINE

Check the availability of beds in the huts of Via Alta Vallemaggia indicating the day of departure, the number of participants and the direction chosen.

Reservations must be made individually for each hut. Clicking on the number of available beds will open the reservation page for the relevant hut.

GUIDES

Would you like to experience an adventure along the Via Alta Vallemaggia? If you wish, you can rely on a trained guide who will know how to lead you in complete safety along an itinerary that will allow you to discover extraordinary alpine landscapes.

Profile picture of Mariano Berri
Author
Mariano Berri 
Update: March 27, 2023
Difficulty
difficult
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
2,774 m
Lowest point
254 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Track types

Asphalt 2.99%Forested/wild trail 4.44%Path 70.61%Road 0.59%Traces of trail 13.74%Unknown 7.60%
Asphalt
5 km
Forested/wild trail
7.5 km
Path
119 km
Road
1 km
Traces of trail
23.2 km
Unknown
12.8 km
Show elevation profile

Rest stops

Capanna Cimetta
Mountain hut Nimi
Mountain hut Alpe Masnee
Mountain hut Alpe Spluga
Capanna Tomeo
Mountain hut Barone
Mountain hut Soveltra

Safety information

The Via Alta Vallemaggia alternates between mountain trails (T3) and Alpine routes (T4-T5–) and includes short exposed stretches (risk of falling) and climbing sections. The trickier sections are often equipped with chains or staples.

Difficulty scale SAC

Some huts open as early as June, when the connecting sections are usually still covered in snow. Generally, the best season for trekking is between July and September/October. However, even in the height of summer, you are advised to contact the guardians to check the state of the route. Overnight stays must be booked in advance in order to avoid unpleasant surprises and find oneself without accommodation.

The following are therefore required:

  • Good experience in the alpine environment
  • Good physical condition
  • Detailed planning (current conditions, weather forecast etc.)
  • Sure-footedness off the marked trails and a head for heights

Not to be underestimated:

  • High elevation
  • Sudden weather changes
  • Presence of snow at the beginning of the season
  • Trekking time (particularly when hiking in large groups)
  • Often no mobile coverage

Lack of drinking water sources along some sections

Swiss REGA air ambulance service: 1414

Generaly emergencies (international): 112

When you call 112, your call is automatically transferred to the relevant emergency unit (ambulance, police and fire brigade). 112 can be called via the GSM network even if your SIM card or mobile phone are blocked. In virtually all countries, 112 works on a GSM network. Outside Switzerland, it also works without a SIM card.

In an emergency:

  • Keep calm
  • Protect injured persons and people in difficulty from further danger, the cold and bad weather
  • Lend first aid
  • Call for help and start rescue operations; never leave injured persons alone
  • Think about your own safety, too

Start

Cimetta
Coordinates:
SwissGrid
2'704'258E 1'117'517N
DD
46.201040, 8.789390
DMS
46°12'03.7"N 8°47'21.8"E
UTM
32T 483751 5116406
w3w 

Destination

Ponte Brolla

Coordinates

SwissGrid
2'704'258E 1'117'517N
DD
46.201040, 8.789390
DMS
46°12'03.7"N 8°47'21.8"E
UTM
32T 483751 5116406
w3w 
Get there by train, car, bike, or on foot!

Equipment

  • Good hiking boots
  • Suitable clothing
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Map with a scale of 1:25,000, altimeter, compass, and, if possible, GPS
  • Travel pharmacy and emergency thermal blanket
  • Sufficient food and drink
  • Identity card and cash (francs and euros)

Similar routes nearby

  • Via Alta della Verzasca
 These suggestions were generated by our system
Difficulty
difficult
Distance
168.6 km
Duration
85:00 h
Ascent
14,140 m
Descent
15,530 m
Highest point
2,774 m
Lowest point
254 m
Multi-stage route Scenic Refreshment stops available Geological highlights Flora Fauna Insider tip

Weather at the route's trailhead

Statistics

  • Content
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Features
Maps and trails
  • 16 Stages
Mountain Hike · Ascona-Locarno
Via Alta Vallemaggia - Stage 1: Cimetta-Capanna Alpe Nimi
recommended route Difficulty difficult Stage 1
Distance 10.3 km
Duration 5:30 h
Ascent 1,170 m
Descent 1,090 m

The first stage of Via Alta Vallemaggia goes from Cimetta (1673 m.a.s.l.) to Alpe Nimi mountain hut (1718 m.a.s.l.). 

from Mariano Berri,   Ascona-Locarno Tourism
Mountain Hike · Ascona-Locarno
Via Alta Vallemaggia - Stage 2: Capanna Alpe Nimi-Rifugio Alpe Masnee
recommended route Difficulty difficult Stage 2
Distance 4.7 km
Duration 3:30 h
Ascent 720 m
Descent 370 m

The second stage of the Via Alta Vallemaggia goes from Alpe Nimi mountain hut (1718 m/a/s/l) to Masnee alp (2063 m/a/s/l) and takes 3-and-a-half to ...

from Mariano Berri,   Ascona-Locarno Tourism
Mountain Hike · Ascona-Locarno
Via Alta Vallemaggia - Stage 3: Rifugio Alpe Masnee-Capanna Alpe Spluga
recommended route Difficulty difficult Stage 3
Distance 10.3 km
Duration 5:45 h
Ascent 990 m
Descent 1,220 m

The third stage of Via Alta Vallemaggia goes from Masnee alp (2063 m/a/s/l) to Spluga alp (1838 m/a/s/l). 

from Mariano Berri,   Ascona-Locarno Tourism
Mountain Hike · Ascona-Locarno
Via Alta Vallemaggia - Stage 4: Capanna Alpe Spluga-Capanna Tomeo
recommended route Difficulty difficult Stage 4
Distance 8.6 km
Duration 6:00 h
Ascent 1,020 m
Descent 1,120 m

The fourth stage of Via Alta Vallemaggia takes about six hours and goes from Spluga alp (1838 m/a/s/l) to Capanna Tomeo mountain hut (1739 m/a/s/l).

from Mariano Berri,   Ascona-Locarno Tourism
Mountain Hike · Ascona-Locarno
Via Alta Vallemaggia - Stage 5E: Capanna Tomeo-Capanna Barone
recommended route Difficulty difficult Stage 5
Distance 10.1 km
Duration 6:00 h
Ascent 1,530 m
Descent 1,100 m

from Mariano Berri,   Ascona-Locarno Tourism
Mountain Hike · Ascona-Locarno
Via Alta Vallemaggia - Stage 6E: Capanna Barone-Fusio
recommended route Difficulty difficult Stage 6
Distance 13.9 km
Duration 7:30 h
Ascent 1,210 m
Descent 2,090 m

Sometimes it can be fun to go back over your own tracks, at least for a bit. We do so by climbing up to the Bocchetta della Campala.

from Mariano Berri,   Ascona-Locarno Tourism
Mountain Hike · Ascona-Locarno
Via Alta Vallemaggia - Stage 7N: Fusio-Capanna Cristallina
recommended route Difficulty difficult Stage 7
Distance 18.8 km
Duration 8:45 h
Ascent 2,180 m
Descent 900 m

The northern route of the seventh stage leads in almost 9 hours from Fusio (1289 m.a.s.l.) to the Capanna Cristallina (2566 m.a.s.l.).

Ascona-Locarno Tourism
Mountain Hike · Ascona-Locarno
Via Alta Vallemaggia- Stage 8N: Capanna Cristallina-Rifugio Maria Luisa
recommended route Difficulty difficult Stage 8
Distance 14.8 km
Duration 5:30 h
Ascent 810 m
Descent 1,220 m

The eighth stage via the northern route leads into neighbouring Piedmont in 5.5 hours. From the Capanna Cristallina (2566 m.a.s.l.) to the Rifugio ...

Ascona-Locarno Tourism
Mountain Hike · Ascona-Locarno
Via Alta Vallemaggia - Stage 9: Rifugio Maria Luisa-Capanna Piano delle Creste
recommended route Difficulty difficult Stage 9
Distance 11.6 km
Duration 4:00 h
Ascent 840 m
Descent 890 m

From Piedmont, the ninth stage takes you back to Switzerland. In 5 hours from the Rifugio Maria Luisa (2160 m.a.s.l.) to the Capanna Piano delle ...

from Mariano Berri,   Ascona-Locarno Tourism
Mountain Hike · Ascona-Locarno
Via Alta Vallemaggia - Stage 10: Capanna Piano delle Creste-Capanna Grossalp
recommended route Difficulty difficult Stage 10
Distance 11.4 km
Duration 6:30 h
Ascent 1,010 m
Descent 1,200 m

The tenth stage is a long one: 6.5 hours. From the Piano delle Creste (2107 m.a.s.l.), the route leads over fascinating rocky slopes to the ...

from Mariano Berri,   Ascona-Locarno Tourism
Mountain Hike · Ascona-Locarno
Via Alta Vallemaggia - Stage 11: Capanna Grossalp-Cimalmotto
recommended route Difficulty moderate Stage 11
Distance 7.3 km
Duration 3:00 h
Ascent 390 m
Descent 900 m

A short and technically less demanding stage makes up the eleventh stage. From the Capanna Grossalp (1885 m.a.s.l.) down to Cimalmotto (1402 m.a.s ...

from Mariano Berri,   Ascona-Locarno Tourism
Mountain Hike · Ascona-Locarno
Via Alta Vallemaggia - Stage 12: Cimalmotto-Capanna Ribia
recommended route Difficulty difficult Stage 12
Distance 12 km
Duration 6:45 h
Ascent 1,490 m
Descent 900 m

The twelfth stage leads in just under 7 hours from Cimalmotto (1402 m.a.s.l.) in the Vallemaggia to Capanna Ribia (1996 m.a.s.l.) in the Onsernone ...

from Mariano Berri,   Ascona-Locarno Tourism
Mountain Hike · Ascona-Locarno
Via Alta Vallemaggia - Stage 13: Capanna Ribia-Capanna Alzasca
recommended route Difficulty moderate Stage 13
Distance 7.9 km
Duration 3:30 h
Ascent 540 m
Descent 800 m

The thirteenth stage, from Capanna Ribia (1996 m.a.s.l.) to Capanna Alzasca (1733 m.a.s.l.), is short but mostly without trails. 3.5 hours in the ...

from Mariano Berri,   Ascona-Locarno Tourism
Mountain Hike · Ascona-Locarno
Via Alta Vallemaggia - Stage 14: Capanna Alzasca-Capanna Alpe Canaa
recommended route Difficulty moderate Stage 14
Distance 6.6 km
Duration 3:45 h
Ascent 710 m
Descent 610 m

A ridge hike of almost 4 hours from the Capanna Alzasca (1733 m.a.s.l.) to the Capanna Alpe Canaa (1842 m.a.s.l.).

from Mariano Berri,   Ascona-Locarno Tourism
Mountain Hike · Ascona-Locarno
Via Alta Vallemaggia - Stage 15: Capanna Alpe Canaa-Salmone
recommended route Difficulty difficult Stage 15
Distance 10.5 km
Duration 5:00 h
Ascent 840 m
Descent 1,130 m

The fifteenth stage is technically minimally less demanding. The waling time from Capanna Alpe Canaa (1842 m.a.s.l.) to Salmone (1559 m.a.s.l.) is ...

from Mariano Berri,   Ascona-Locarno Tourism
Mountain Hike · Ascona-Locarno
Via Alta Vallemaggia - Stage 16: Salmone-Ponte Brolla
recommended route Difficulty moderate Stage 16 closed
Distance 10.4 km
Duration 4:00 h
Ascent 300 m
Descent 1,600 m

The sixteenth and last stage leads in 4 hours from Salmone (1559 m.a.s.l.) to Ponte Brolla (254 m.a.s.l.).  

from Mariano Berri,   Ascona-Locarno Tourism
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