The completion of the fifth hut – la Cornavòsa – in 2010 marked the restoration of all the bases on the Via Alta della Verzasca (high Verzasca trail). The Via Alta follows the majestic crest of the ridge between Verzasca, Riviera and Leventina, providing experienced mountaineers with a 4/5 day hike through an unspoilt and contrasting landscape. You will pass through the striking low lying areas at the bottom of the valley to the open spaces of the peaks with stunning panoramas, which are home to wild and fascinating flora and fauna. You can also discover some of Ticino’s most beautiful summits, for example Pizzo di Vogorno, balcone del Verbano, Poncione Rosso, majestic and unmistakeable, or Pizzo Barone, Verzasca's highest peak.
The Via Alta progresses along the ridge of smaller valleys – small and precious like forgotten jewels – such as Val della Porta, Val Carecchio, Val Pincascia, Val d’Agro, Val d’Efra and Val Vegornèss. The route (signposted white and blue) does have some aids (steel cables etc.) to help with some of the most difficult parts. That makes it easier, although you should still have good basic mountaineering knowledge, be surefooted, in good physical shape and familiar with alpine weather. The Via Alta della Verzasca has been rated as the first white/blue alpine route with a high level of difficulty in the Alps and is known as one of the most beautiful summit hikes in Switzerland.
The Via Alta starts from the plain (Gordola, Tenero or Cugnasco) or from Vogorno the first village in Verzasca. The two paths take you on quite a climb: 1700 m up from Gordola and 1500 m from Vogorno. When you reach the Borgna mountain hut, where the trek actually starts, you won't have to climb so much (800-1000 m) but each stage still lasts quite long (6-10 hours on average). You can also do the hike from the other end (from Sonogno), although it won't make much difference in terms of time.
Section 1: Gordola - Borgna hut (14,6 km / 6 h)
Section 2: Borgna hut - Cornavosa hut (8,5 km / 7 h)
Section 3: Cornavosa hut - Efra hut (13,2 km / 8 h 30 min)
Section 4: Efra hut - Cognora hut (8,2 km / 9 h)
Section 5: Cognora hut - Barone hut (7,3 km / 4 h)
Please note: in the event of unforeseen, violent storms the valley streams near the refuges in Borgna, Efra and Cognora can swell very quickly and may be hard to cross; so be on your guard. You may want to wait a few hours in such an event or even turn back.
Level of difficulty
The SEV Società Escursionistica Verzaschese (Verzasca outdoor association) specifies that it is an alpine crossing and not simply a hike: we therefore recommend good training and some experience to negotiate the hardest parts. Via Alta is rated from T4 to T6 in the new classification of the grades of difficulty published by the SAC (Swiss Alpine Club).
- T6 - Includes ridges which are very exposed in parts, use of hands required (II° grade maximum).
- T5 - Expert hikes with some exposed places.
- T4 - Challenging hike.
- Waterproof clothing, light and warm
- Hiking boots
- Gloves, sun cap, change of clothes
- Backpack maximum 5-8 kg
- First aid kit with penknife
- Sleeping bag for overnight in alpine hut
- Torch, sunglasses, sun cream, water-bottle
- Hiking map/topographic map
- Raincover for backpacks
- Identity card, cash money
The Lake Maggiore and Valleys Tourist Organisation declines all responsibility and relies on the decision of each individual.