The Ligurian Mountains Trail is a "boundary" route that separates the Mediterranean coast from the wilderness hinterland, between sea and sky, Alps and Apennines. As a green highway it crosses all over Liguria, for a total of 440 km along sunny ridges, grassy meadows and shady woods.
Those who venture on the Trail can enjoy fascinating panoramic landscapes, from where the view can range up to Corsica, Monviso mount and Monte Rosa. Noteworthy is also the historical and cultural heritage, between ancient fortification lines and nice villages that deserve to be visited. The presence along the route of many accommodation facilities belonging to the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri Accommodation Association (www.ospitalitaaltavia.it) consent to sleep, eat, get shelter in case of bad weather and adjust the legs of the itinerary according to different needs and skills.
It is possible to cycle along the Trail following the guide from www.altaviainfoh24.com; our presentation of the route consists in a subdivision in stages that are shorter than the sections indicated in the guide, adapting it to more touristic fruition of the itinerary, suitable also to less trained people.
In this MTB route there are some variations compared to the trekking one, marked by a red-white-red sign: we preferred to turn aside on other paths or roads in order to be able to present a fully cycling route, of a total length of 543 km. The paved roads along the route are always on secondary roads with low traffic density (except when leaving Ventimiglia) and there are no technical sections, making the Alta Via suitable for everyone. Besides, the route is perfect for e-bikes, which can be charged at the speicific stations at the accommodation facilities.
A h.24 service is available at +39 3381629347. At www.altaviainfoh24.com (gpx track credits) you can buy the official route guide
STAGE #6 (Section 2): Rifugio Pian dell’Arma - Garessio (27 km) – Stage #3 of section 2 on the online guide www.altaviainfoh24.com
From Pian dell’Arma Hut you will have to go back to the Country Road 216, then leave it and after 400 mt – the next crossroads – turn left. From here climb the dirt track leading to Saint Bartholomew Hill (1439 Mt) enjoying the amazing views on Pennavaire Valley. In the clearest days you can also see Tuscany, the Apuan Alps and Corsica. The path, then, goes down on the opposite ridge, finding the river Tanaro flowing near the small city of Ormea, which characteristic centre is heart-shaped.
The last 10 km of this stage are quite light, flanking the flat course of the river Tanaro, until reaching Garessio, one of the most beautiful Italian medieval villages, which territory unwinds among plains and climbs.
It is one of the main towns of the Upper Tanaro Valley, located in a valley in the heart of the Ligurian Alps dominated by high peaks including the nearby Mount Armetta (1,739 m). The village has an unusual heart-shaped perimeter and the historic centre is characterized by an intricate labyrinth of alleys, (trevi, in the local dialect), with beautiful views of old houses and timeless squares. Indeed, worth a visit is Piazza Nuova with its cobblestone surface, the Church of San Martino with its bell tower, and the Church of the Madonna degli Angeli. Moreover, statues and fountains in local black marble are scattered throughout the town, setting it apart from other, while all around visitors can find a pristine natural environment. Another thing travellers should not miss is the Balcony of Ormea, a 40-km trail that runs at an average altitude of 1,200 metres connecting the 17 boroughs that have kept their original structure intact over time.
City of departure: Caprauna
Departure: Rifugio Pian dell'Arma
City of arrival: Garessio
Length (Km): 27
Type of Itinerary: Half Day
Difference in height (m): 604
Difference in downhill (m): 1356
Highest point (m): 1462
Lowest point (m): 583
Duration (h.): 3