Attention, please, web site updated at 31/12/2015.

Tour of the Marguareis

Dolomite landscape with sea view

Around the Marguareis, there is a total length of 53 kilometers. The route is signposted and marked with a special plaque with the logo of the Giro and can be approached on foot from well-trained hikers and mountain bikers. The hikers can join the second and third stages, thus completing the trek in four days. The ideal months to grapple with the Tour of Marguareis are June and September


  • Number stages: 5
  • Difficulty: for average hikers
  • Difference or level +2.503 / -2.208 m
  • Signposting: white-red notches
  • (+39) 0171 734021
  • http://www.parcomarguareis.it
Description of the stages

Around the Marguareis, the location enables hikers to make a loop around the most famous mountain in the Ligurian Alps, the Marguareis. Strongly supported by the Park with the same name, the Tour of the Marguareis is a trek into five stages from hut to hut, whose main strength is the wide variety of environments and atmospheres. It starts from the initial Pesio valley and the forests of the amazing Natural Park, to go then on up to the wide pastures of the Alta Valle Ellero; once you complete that stage, you will arrive in val Corsaglia, where there are two magnificent lakes, the lakes of Raschera and Brignole. So you will be arriving in Alta Val Tanaro, from where you can admire the east coast, before returning in the Pesio valley, by skirting the valley Roja and passing through the karst plateau of the Basin of Carsene. There are therefore four valleys involved in the Tour of Marguareis: the valley of the Pesio, the valley of the Ellero, Val Corsaglia and Alta Val Tanaro. The Marguareis, with its 2,651 meters, making it the highest peak in the Ligurian Alps, is the highlight top of a huge rampart of limestone on the north wall crossed by steep gullies, while the south side, easier and less inclined, evokes profiles and dolomite karsts. The normal ascent route is traced right on the south side. The first ascent of which we know certainly, dates back to 21 August 1832, and was carried out by the Ligurian geologist Lorenzo Pareto who, having reached the summit, made also some barometric observations. Around the place, the Marguareis is also known as the Tour of Limestone for the massive presence of limestone, which give the mountain a particular aspect, that consists of long streaks, furrowed fields, extensive fractures more or less deep, and also the famous caves.

Map to the itinerary
Stages of the itinerary
Pian delle Gorre / Refuge Garelli

Travel time: 4h
Difference or level: 1.000 m
Take the road to the left of the shelter Pian delle Gorre (1.032m) and turn left to the Pian del Creus. With a steep climb through the forest of fir called Buscaiè, you will reach the delicious Pian del Creus (1.269m). After passing the fresh source of Mantras, you will arrive to the Gias Madonna (1.653m). Here you will be turning right and will be coming through a long traverse and then, once passed the Gias della costa, you will come to the Gias soprano Sestrera (1.842m). From here in just over half an hour, you will reach the Pian del Lupo and then the Garelli refuge (1.970m), where it is recommended to visit the alpine station of botany Bicknell-Burnat, created by the Park with the aim of preserving from extinction various endemic plants of the Maritime and Ligurian Alps. Among the species present, one may remember the endemic / / Senecio persoonii / /, / / Silene cordifolia / /, / / Saxifraga florulenta / / and / / Veronica Allioni / /.

Of note at the pond Marguareis, is the presence of the botanical station Danilo Re, which preserves the most significant rare plant species of the Ligurian and Maritime Alps, including paleoendemismi Phyteuma cordatum and Berardia subacaulis, but also glacial relicts rare as the Carex bicolor, Carex and Juncus microglochin arcticus.

Refuge Garelli / Refuge Havis De Giorgio-Mondovi

Travel time: 2h 30’
Difference or level: 300 m
From Pian del Lupo climb up to the Col de Port Sestrera (2.225m), along the Rastelli Marguareis, towers the siliceous sharp, dotted with pine trees. On the pass that gives access to the large karst plateau, you have to continue until the next crossroad that leaves the shelter Havis-De Giorgio Mondovi and the valley of Biecai. It falls on the gentle slopes to the basin of the ephemeral lake Biecai with the spectacular backdrop of the top of the tip of the Saline and Havis De Giorgio. The trail continues up to the collar Biecai door and then descend steeply to the valley below, where the hillside stands, and where you will be reaching the refuge Havis-De Giorgio Mondovi (1.761m), located in the beautiful valley of Pian Marchisa. In the immediate vicinity is clearly visible the Pis d'Ellero: in spring time gushes out from the cavity wall, a spectacular water jet.

Refuge Havis De Giorgio-Mondovi / Refuge Mongioie

Travel time: 5h
Difference or level: 300 m
From the refuge Havis De Giorgio Mondovi go up the valley of the Ellero, along the dirt road up to the pasture Gias Gruppetto (1.890m). From here, take the path that goes off to the right and leads to Passo delle Saline (2.174m). Descend the steep gorge of Saline that, after a gias, becomes narrow and heavily engraved and, after the retreat Ciarlo-Bossi, at the next junction, you will have toturn left. After about half an hour climb, you will reach the glue Carnino (1.597m), from which the view extends over the upper Val Tanaro, the veins of the Pian Rosso. From here, proceed on a path along the hillside and on a rope bridge above a designated Vene Cave, one of the many points of interest along the way. Two bulletin boards, in the shelter of a Mongioie, inform on the peculiarities of the karst area. Shortly after you take the left path uphill towards Pian Rosso to arrive at the shelter Mongioie.

Variant of the Bocchino delle scaglie

From the refuge Mondovi you reach the step of Saline and here, instead of down in the Valley of Salt, follow the ridge reported to the Pian Municipality. From here you will have to continue along the ridge of the mountain in the large calcareous grassland Mongioie, ignoring the turn to the right to Passo del Cavallo and you will get up to the signpost that points the mouthpiece of the flakes. From here you descend steep, exploiting the stony rocks formed by fine and you will reach the plateau Pian Rosso and then the Mongioie Refuge.

Affiliated Stage places

  • Refuge Mongioie: tel. +39 0174 390196 Mobile. +39 335 5745001 e-mail: {silvoda@tiscalinet.it
  • Hotel " La Tramontana" tel. +39 0174 390110

Variant of the lakes 900 m of altitude

/ / Alternative for well-trained hikers / /

By Gias Gruppetto, you will have to go left on a path, which is not always apparent to the collar of the Brignole (2.330m). From here, go down and then pass around the lake Brignole, then back to the mouthpiece of the Brignole. You have to follow the notches in the meadows until you run alongside the lake Raschera, on the left side, in high val Corsaglia. Here you take the path that leads to the mouthpiece dell'Aseo (2.292m), from where the mountain hikers can take a short detour to reach the top of Mongioie (2.630m). Back at the Mouthpiece dell'Aseo, go down to the Pian Rosso and to the shelter Mongioie (1.550m).

Refuge Mongioie / Refuge Don Barbera

Travel time: 5h
Difference or level: 750 m
From the refuge Mongioie you will have to follow in the opposite direction, for those who have not opted for the variant of the lakes and the Bocchino delle scaglie, the route to the Le Vene. Once you've crossed the glue Carnino, you come to the fork on the road to Passo delle Saline (1,500 m). Here you turn left and along the path that crosses the road, you gain through the village of Carnino Inferiore, and then, from the town square, turning right uphill over the river Saline, flanking the cemetery, you will be reaching Carnino Superiore (1.397m) . It is worthwhile to take a short break in this ancient village, whose first houses date back to the tenth century. The roof made of rye straw is the most characteristic feature of these old stone houses: the eardrums exceed the coverage forming two curb stones, useful to create a bank of straw and allow access to the roof, causing the typical structure of the enclosed roof. From Carnino you climb into the valley of Chiusetta up to the Sella di Carnino beyond which you can find the valley, who becames wider, and is named "dei Maestri". You cross Pian Sottano and Pian Soprano of the Chiusetta, picturesque alpine meadows, in order to reach the Colle dei Signori and the refuge Don Barbera (2.070m), opened in 2006. From here you can reach the summit of Mount Marguareis, which takes about 2 ½ hours round trip.

Refuge Don Barbera / Pian delle Gorre

Travel time: 5h 30’
Difference or level: 300 m
From the refuge Don Barbera take the alternative road to the military road up to the pasture of Pian Ambrogi, along one of the karst plateaus of the most impressive high-altitude that could be covered in this area. At Pian Ambrogi you leave the road and take the path on the right until the glue Plain Malaberga (2.219m), close to the refuge hut caving Morgantini, fundamental point of reference for those involved in working and for caving enthusiasts. From here you descend along the old military road, proceeding in the Basin of Carsene until the Gias dell'Ortica (1.855m). You then have to go back on the right towards the Passo del Duca, leaving to the left the road through the Pass of Baban. From the Passo del Duca begins a long descent on the old military road that leads to the wide curves of Gias Arpi (1.460m). In the shadow of the majestic fir trees of the forest of Prel earns Saut, a town whose name derives from the majestic leaps that perform the nearby waterfalls, which have the same name. In short then you reach the Pian delle Gorre (1,000 m).

Accommodation and rest stops

The route takes you along mountain paths in the high valley; the indicated receptivity is the only available path.

Parco Naturale del Marguareis
Place Chiusa di Pesio, via Sant’Anna 34
Info (+39) 0171 734021; parcomarguareis@ruparpiemonte.it
Place Chiusa di Pesio, loc. Certosa, Pian delle Gorre
Info (+39) 0171 738077; (+39) 333 2700314 piandellegorre@libero.it
Place Chiusa di Pesio, loc. Pian del Lupo
Info (+39) 0171 738078; (+39) 339 7709937; mccoulomb@tiscalinet.it
Place Roccaforte Mondovì, loc. Sella del Pis
Info (+39) 0174 65555; (+39) 335 5475807; www.rifugiomondovi.com; mariolinobri@libero.it
Place Ormea, fraz. Viozene, loc. Pian Rosso
Info (+39) 0174 390196; (+39) 335 5745001; (+39) 347 8817137; www.rifugio-mongioie.com; silvoda@tiscalinet.it
Place Briga Alta, fraz. Upega, loc. colle dei Signori
Info (+39) 0174 542802;
www.rifugiodonbarbera.eu; info@rifugiodonbarbera.eu