u) ITINERARY 19 - From Ossola to Binntal through the Via dell'Arbola (from Domodossola to Ernen)
Excursions and trekking
Path Length km
Difference in mt.
more than 10 hours
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The itinerary extends along the eastern shore of the Toce River - starting from Domodossola and passing through the villages of the Antigorio Valley - and continues along the ancient "Via dell'Arbola" - a road that takes its name from the mountain pass at 2400 metres of elevation at the foot of the mountain of the same name. For many centuries, it was the main commercial route between the Duchy of Milan and the Valais. Our destination is Ernen, in the district of Goms.
Arbola - the lowest and most convenient mountain pass in the Lepontine Alps - was one of the most important for the history of alpine transit. The fact that travellers used this road in antiquity is proven by the amazing discovery of a Bronze Age dagger (1600-1300 B.C. ).
The itinerary involves easy trails through the mountains of Baceno, Binntal and Goms Valley: much of the path consists of ancient cobblestone mule tracks, which were used in the past by herdsman moving animals toward the summer pastures, soldiers and partigiani.
After leaving Domodossola behind us, and the Colle Mattarella with the Special Nature Reserve of Sacro Monte Calvario - we start our itinerary along the eastern bank of the river Toce, alternating between dirt roads and paths. After the town of Masera, we cross the Isorno at Cresta and, continuing to Pontetto, we arrive at Roldo - an important hamlet of Montecrestese - where a Gallo-Roman temple was built in an elevated position, a unique building like no other in existence.
After coming to Montecrestese, the journey continues towards Pontemaglio - the last hamlet north of Crevaladossola - and from here, the Antigorio Valley opens up.
We continue on dirt roads and paths, along the eastern shore of the Toce, and then move on the western slope at the height of Salecchio: here, the trail continues on an asphalt road until we reach Crodo.
We resume the path as it rises in elevation to reach Smeglio and Mozzio: from the latter hamlet, we continue on the secondary road to reach Viceno.
Then, after resuming our itinerary towards Cravegna, we pass through Crino and arrive in Baceno: from the Parish Church of San Gaudenzio, a national monument, we can make a small detour to the east, which leads to the discovery of the "Orridi of Uriezzo", a system of canyons and rock formations. We go back to our main route, and start the first part of the historic Via dell'Arbola.
The itinerary winds along beautiful cobblestone mule tracks toward Graglia, Uresso, Croveo - where the Devero Creek reveals fascinating examples of "marmitte dei giganti" (pothole rock formations) - Osso, Goglio - the location of a small museum dedicated to the Resistance - and Alpe Devero.
Along a beautiful trail - in which we can see the remains of the medieval mule track - walking amid the larch trees in the forest, we reaches Crampiolo and the "Witches' Lake" (Lago delle Streghe).
We continues towards the eastern shore of Lake Devero and reach Alpe Forno Superiore. From here, we climb to Bocchetta d’Arbola (Albrunpass). Then we go down in elevation on Swiss soil on the Valais side of the mountain to get to Binntalhütte - a stone chalet built between large boulders at the foot of the western slope of Punta d'Arbola - and we continue going around the peat bogs of Oxefeld and Blatt, protected areas for their great naturalistic value. Finally, we reach the summer pastures of Freichi. Continuing on the trail, we descend towards the villages of Walser in Fald and Binn.
From Binn, the mineralogical capital of Valais, we can finally reach Ernen, in the Upper Goms Valley.
POINTS OF INTEREST
Sacro Monte Calvario
Santuario della Madonna della Neve
Palazzo di Città
Civico Museo di Palazzo Silva
Museo di Scienze Naturali “Mellerio Rosmini”
Biblioteca civica “Gianfranco Contini”
Monumento alla Resistenza Ossolana
Monumento a Geo Chavez
Chiesa Parrocchiale di San Martino
Oratorio di Sant’Abbondio
Tempietto gallo-romano (frazione Roldo)
Resti di strutture megalitiche (frazione Castelluccio)
Chiesa di San Giulio (frazione di Cravegna)
Torchio (fraz. Cravegna)
Muro del Diavolo (frazione Arvenolo)
Casa Museo della Montagna (Viceno)
Chiesa parrocchiale di San Gaudenzio
Orridi di Uriezzo
Chiesa Parrocchiale di Croveo
Antico Torchio di croveo
Marmitte di Croveo
Parco Naturale Veglia-Devero
Lago delle Streghe
Lago di Devero
LEGS: the journey is recommended in 5 legs, from Domodossola to Crodo (km 13), from Crodo to Baceno (km 9), from Baceno to Alpe Crampiolo (km 13), from Alpe Crampiolo to Binn (km 18), and from Binn to Ernen (km 6)
TYPE OF PATH: Excursion - MAINLY DIRT ROADS
DIFFERENCE IN ELEVATION: lowest altitude of the itinerary, 200 m a.s.l.; highest, 2415 m a.s.l. See the map
Distretto Turistico dei Laghi, Monti e Valli d'Ossola -
tel. +39 032330416/fax 0323934335