19 March 2011

Hiking in Lucomagno, Ticino CH

July 2008

I add some old stuff into my blog, starting by some easy hiking routes in Ticino (Tessin auf Deutsch) canton of Switzerland which I've hiked. This is the first one:

Passo del Lucomagno - Passo dell'Uomo - Capanna Cadagno - Passo del Colombe - Passo del Lucomagno

This is a one day hiking route that I've done several times during the past 20 years. It is a high altitude route (sentiero alto) but fairly easy as it stays on level from 1900m  to 2400m (several up and downs). As it is in about 2000m above sea, it is also treeless (and breathtaking!).

In such an altitude in the Alps, risk of rapidly changing weather conditions should be taken into account, even in summer time. Although I've done it always during Jun-Aug, one time I was hit by a heavy snowstorm, bringing about 30cm new snow in July. About maps; I use 1:25000 scale of Swisstopo maps.

Here's the route:

Basically the route can be started from two places which can be reached by car/bus; from a Lucomagno Pass (Valle di Blenio) or from Ambri-Piotta taking first a funicular up to mountain (Valle Leventina). I've always started from Lucomagno Pass (or Passo del Lucomagno to me), reached by car.

Hospezi Santa Maria on Passo del Lucomagno

Starting (1915m above sea level) the route from the parking lot (they've added park meters there!), the first two km is on a sand road, following the south side of the artificial lake. The first goal is to climb slowly via hiking path full of stones to Passo dell'Uomo (2218m). Pizzo dell'Uomo (2662m), the top, is on the left hand side. Better to have good hiking boots for not to twist your ankles on those stones/rocks. After the pass, the path starts to go down slowly.

Hiking route from the artificial lake to Passo dell'Uomo

After some 1km the route splits into two, the left hand goes to Passo delle Colombe (2381m)/Passo del Sole (2376m), and the right hand path continues all the way through Val Piora towards Lago Ritom (1850m) and Lago Cadagno (1921m), two very nice alpine lakes. I've usually hiked until a small hut, Capanna Cadagno (1964m), near the lakes (another good picture showing its location).

A small waterfall in Val Piora

The path from the split until the hut follows very near the river. Cow bells and marmots are the only ones whose sound one can hear there. Once reaching the Capanna Cadagno, it is time to have a lunch break. Polenta, country cheese and salami, all home made, with some local red wine (Merlot), are all good choices (another good view from the place).
Circling both lakes would increase distance and time quite a lot, so following the same path back has mostly been my choice. Also, if there's time and power, climbing to Lago di Dentro (2298m) is worth of doing (about 500m ascending vertically).

Val Piora towards San Gottardo 

Then to return following the same hiking path in Val Piora back to the point where the path from Passo dell'Uomo split. Here to take the path towards Passo del Colombe. The path goes gently uphill towards the pass (from 2174m to 2381m in about 2-3km distance).

Pizzo Colombe

If the wind is not too strong, Passo del Colombe (2381m) is a good place to rest awhile before starting descent. There's some bench and a table for enjoying some food.

Time estimates are valuable information

Descend from Passo del Colombe is first quite steep, at this point of the hike you'll notice it in your legs. Then the path comes to quite flat part. This is really nice area, called Piano dei Canali. You can see big snow top mountains towards Greina (east direction).

Piano dei Canali

Pizzo Colombe from Piano dei Canali

After the flat route comes a tricky part to descend to the valley. Lots of stones and rocks. After rocky section starts the green area. The path goes down near Brenno river. However, the river goes like in a canyon, thus staying off from it in some distance is a good idea. Very soon you can see Passo del Lucomagno on your left hand side (about 2-3km to go).

Brenno river down in the canyon. The road towards Lucomagno

The rest of the route is to follow close to the Brenno river back to Lucomagno.

Artificial lake at Lucomagno

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