Circular hike from the beautiful village of Sambuco in the Valle Stura, Provence of Cuneo. The high point is Monte Bersaio directly above the village. The majority of the walk is through high alpine meadows. If done in late June or early July there will be a profusion of wildflowers and the final meadows, just below the summit of Monte Bersaio, are full of Edelweiss.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D/A) Starting in the main square by the town hall and the hotel Albergo Della Pace, take the road east for about a hundred metres. Then, branch left up a small paved lane signposted P34 Gias Murè, Grangia Bastieri and Colle Valcavera.
(1) The lane leaves the village and soon turns to a gravel track. After about 500 metres, the path branches right and crosses the river.
(2) Continue to follow the signs for Colle Valcavera and climb steeply on the east side of the river. Much of the path has tree cover and before 10 am is sheltered from the sun by the steep slopes above. After about one hour, and above a large waterfall, the path becomes less steep and closely follows the river. Just below a small farmhouse, turn left off the Colle Valcavera route on a path signposted to Monte Bersaio.
(3) Cross the river on a small wooden bridge, then, winds upwards across steep alpine meadows. After about another hour, reach the northern ridge of Monte Bersaio.
(4) Turn left and walk about 500 metres to the summit (5)
(5) The view is stunning especially south toward the French border and south-east to the Mercantour / Parco Alpi Maritime. Retrace your steps northward down the ridge passing the path on your right that you ascended (4) After about 400 metres, turn left downhill following a faint path that heads northwest. After just over a kilometre, you reach some abandoned farm buildings at Gias la secchia, which is at the end of a track coming from the north.
(6) Follow this track for about 100 metres, then, branch left downhill heading towards the river. There is no path on this section so we just zigzagged down to where a small stream joins the main river. There is, or was, a wooden bridge across the river but it is broken and half of it is underwater.
(7) Cross the river by using stones. After crossing the Rio Bandia, climb the west bank to reach a north-south path and follow it left. It curves around the steep hillside with beautiful views back to Monte Bersaio. In a few places, there are exposed sections with a steep drop left but the worst of these have steel railings. After about 2km, you join a gravel track which you follow downhill for a few hundred metres to where a path signposted to Sambuco branches off left (or straight on), where the track takes a sharp right-hand turn.
(8) The path descends steeply through pine forest and crosses the gravel track in two places to eventually reach a small church at Moriglione San Lorenzo.
(9) There is water just to the right but take the track left via the deserted village of Moriglione di Fondo.
(10) From the church, back to Sambuco takes about an hour following the well-signposted path.(D/A)
D/A : km 0 - alt. 1184m
1 : km 0.15 - alt. 1177m - Sambuco P34 path
2 : km 0.97 - alt. 1238m - River crossing
3 : km 4.18 - alt. 1805m - Path to Monte Bersaio
4 : km 6.6 - alt. 2314m - North ridge of Monte Bersaio
5 : km 7 - alt. 2371m - Monte Bersaio
6 : km 8.97 - alt. 2019m - Gias la secchia
7 : km 9.48 - alt. 1880m - Crossing of Rio Bandia
8 : km 11.4 - alt. 1907m - Path to Sambuco
9 : km 13.44 - alt. 1434m - Church at Moriglione San Lorenzo
10 : km 14.09 - alt. 1432m - Moriglione di Fondo
D/A : km 16.74 - alt. 1185m - Sambuco main square - Sambuco
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
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