• Tour of the Torgnon mountain pastures

Tour of the Torgnon mountain pastures

Resorts: Torgnon

Technical Information

Route

Technical difficulty: medium/difficult
Physical difficulty: medium
Bike-friendly: 100%
Type of route: mixed asphalt, dirt, path

Follow the A5 Torino-Aosta motorway , taking the “Châtillon-Saint Vincent” exit. Continue along the regional road no. 46 for around 7km until you reach Antey-Saint-André where you take the regional road no. 9. After around 6km you reaches the major town of Torgnon. Afterwards, you arrive at the centre of the town and follow the signs to the Plan Prorion sports and picnic area.

This route is not particularly demanding but allows you to enter the mountain pastures area located upstream of Torgnon, experiencing the characteristic atmosphere of rural farming culture, pastures that alternate with larch woods, with wide views over a few of the most beautiful peaks of the Aosta Valley (it is worth pausing for a moment in Gilliarey to admire Monte Cervino, the Plateau Rosa glacier with the Breithorn and in Valtournenche).
Moreover, from a geological point of view, it is worth noting that the first stage of the route involves crossing the Mesozoic rocks of the metamorphic calcareous schists complex with green stones that were once part of the old lost ocean and form the area of Mount Meabé to the west of the route. Once at Mount Miracolo you can see the Arollo Gneiss rocks that were part of the old African continent while the Cima Bianca is covered by sediments made mainly of marble. The presence of chalky rock can be noted from a hydrogeological point of view. The area of lake Tsan is made up of karst while the marshy area of Loditor has an important system of wet zones. From a fauna point of view, you can catch sight of lots of marmots along the proposed route, particularly between the waterlogged basin of Loditor and the area of the Gilliarey mountain pastures. In the red fir and larch woods upstream of Champtorné and Loditor, you can glimpse the occasional squirrel, hare and deer or use a telescope to look at the mountain goats and chamois in the sparse woods and pastures at high altitude overlooking Monte Meabé and beneath the Punta Tsan. You can easily spot different types of bird in the sky such as partridges and various species of birds of prey including the eagle. From a botanical point of view, the wood is made up of patches of red fir and larch while the undergrowth is characterised by the presence of fern, blueberry, dog rose and blackberry bushes.

Starting on a stretch of asphalt around 700 metres long that goes uphill towards the Champtorné cable car facilities until reaching the first mountain huts where you leave the road and continue to the right along the stretch of the cross-country ski slope. Continuing via the dirt road you reach the Alp Chavannes, Arpeille followed by Alp Brusoney and Alp Bedsoloz. Next you come to a crossroads with an asphalt road. Instead of taking this road, go straight on to a slope with a grassy bottom that becomes gradually narrower. Continue into the shade of the larches and firs, following a stretch with manmade wooden walkways created to prevent damage when passing over the marshy areas below. After having crossed over a wooden bridge in an area that allows you to admire the beauty of the rocky Punta Tsan, there is a brief uphill stretch allowing you to reach the wetlands of Loditor (1950 metres above sea level). From Loditor, going uphill on the right via the dirt road takes you to Gilliarey, at 9.250 km and 2180 metres altitude. This represents the first leg of our trip but you should also stop to admire the panoramic views over Cervino, the Plateau Rosa glacier and Valtournenche. If you wish, continue along the dirt road for around another 7km and reach the Lake of Cignana and the Barmasse mountain hut (refreshment point). Returning to the “Tour of the alpine pastures with views over Cervino” you should trace back along the road taken for the outward journey and descend until you reach Alp Tellinod (at 11.350 km) where you turn right to continue along the dirt road and go beyond Alp Palud until you reach Alp Château. There remains of the Chavacour Hospice can be found on this pasture, located on the road that connects the area of Torgnon to nearby Vallese, crossing the hills of Chavacour, For, Collomb and Théodule. These roads were used for trading cattle and the Muscat wine from Chambave. Continuing the journey, turn left along the large and flat dirt road that partly retraces the course of the Chavacour irrigation canal, and important manmade construction that allows the cultivation of crops and the raising of livestock in some of the municipalities located on the “adret” (left side of the river), such as Verrayes, Saint-Denis, Chambave. You continue past the mountain huts of Cortod and Tronchaney, from this very panoramic point we can admire almost the entire basin of the Torgnon pastures and the wetlands of Loditor from below. Continuing our journey between woods of firs and larches, after a slight descent you arrive at the area of Chantorné where the ski slopes are located. Going beyond these, you come to a short and steep downhill stretch (around 150 m) with an uneven, stony path which should be undertaken on foot. Back in the saddle, you go down a slightly sloping path again that follows the cross-country ski slope. This is extremely scenic because looking backwards over the tops of the trees you are able to make out Monte Cervino and a few peaks of the Monte Rosa range. Then continue to the Col des Bornes (at 28.800 km) a panoramic view over the central valley of the Valle d’Aosta where the vegetation changes, making way for Scots pine given the drier environment caused by exposure to the south.

Turning right while still on cross-country ski slope, continue along an alternating flat stretch with a slight climb (around 2km) until you reach a crossroads where you should turn left and follow a steep descent (around 1.5km) that leads to the picnic area of Champlong (at 31.450 km). This marks the second leg of our trip where a refreshment point can be found. Moreover, in Champlong you can also visit a pasture where, between June and September, milk is worked on a daily basis to produce typical dairy products (fontina, butter, ricotta etc.) which can be tasted on site. From Champlong (1625 metres above sea level) you gain altitude again until reaching Col des Bornes (1770 metres above sea level), following the road taken on the outwards journey for the first leg of the stretch before veering off to the right on a less demanding path until you reach to hill. From Col des Bornes, continue for around a kilometre on the road taken on the outwards journey and at the second crossroads, take a right in order to descend towards the Plan Prorion picnic area where the tour ends.

Length

36 Km

Recommended times

from 01/05 to 31/10

Difficulties

Averagely Difficult

Difference in level

630 m

See also

Note - this information is not directly connected to the Cammino Balteo path but it is part of the Aosta Valley tourist offer.