komoot
  • Discover
  • Route planner
  • Features
Discover

Alta Via dei Re – a fairytale crossing in Italy’s Maritime Alps

Marika Abbà

Alta Via dei Re – a fairytale crossing in Italy’s Maritime Alps

Hiking Collection by Marika Abbà

5-11

days

3-6 h

/ day

44.1 mi

17,450 ft

16,725 ft

The Alta Via dei Re (Highway of the Kings) leads through the Maritime Alps, following the footsteps of the House of Savoy dynasty. This route runs the length and breadth of the Alpi Marittime Nature Park, a regional park created in 1995 by merging the Argentera Nature Park with the Palanfré Woods and Lakes Reserve. The territory spans the Gesso, Stura and Vermenagna valleys and stretches from Colle della Maddalena to Colle di Tenda. It shares 35 kilometres (21.8 mi) of its border with the Mercantour National Park, its twin since 1987.

Before setting off on this long trek, it’s worth taking a step back in time to understand what links the House of Savoy to the Gesso Valley. It all began in August 1855 when Victor Emmanuel II of Savoy visited Entracque and fell in love with the beautiful area and the abundance of chamois and ibex for hunting. In 1857, he established the Royal Hunting Reserve of Valdieri and Entracque. Buildings, shelters and mule tracks sprung up throughout the Gesso Valley to help the Savoy family travel and stay in the area. These places were for entertainment and also health thanks to the thermal waters at Terme di Valdieri.

The arrival of the House of Savoy enriched the pockets of the valley's municipalities and gave work to many of the valley’s inhabitants. The latter helped construct and maintain the hunting lodges and trails and worked as servants. The area was a hive of activity.

At the start of the Second World War, the relationship between the family and the valley ceased along with the Republic after the 1946 referendum. It wasn’t until 1980 that the Argentera Regional Nature Park was established on the former territories of the Royal Hunting Reserve, an initiative to protect chamois and reintroduce ibexes.

The Alta Via dei Re (Kings' High Road) starts in Sant'Anna di Valdieri and ends in San Giacomo di Entracque. It is good to keep in mind that this expert trek takes leads through high 3,000 metre (9,850 ft) peaks and alpine lakes. It’s important to plan your adventure between mid-July and mid-September as snow covers the highest passes well into summer. Check the weather forecast regularly as setting off in bad conditions could be very dangerous.

All stages end at managed huts where you can stay half-board and, on request, get a packed lunch for the next day. Always book overnight stays in advance, as places are limited. Remember to bring your sleeping bag or liner, a towel and all your personal hygiene needs. The refuges have blankets just in case.

You can reach Sant'Anna di Valdieri from Cuneo with bus line 82. All information on timetables and fares can be found here: grandabus.it/orari-per-codice-linea. Cuneo is just over an hour by train from Turin and the line is operated by Trenitalia.

The park offers a shuttle service between the trek’s start and end points: parcoalpimarittime.it/visita/info-pratiche/la-navetta-del-parco. You can wild camp in the park for a maximum of 48 hours, pitching your tent one hour before sunset and taking it down one hour after sunrise at the latest.

On The Map

loading
loading

Do it yourself

Ready to get going? Create and customize your own version of this adventure using the full Tour below as a template.

Alta Via dei Re

43.5 mi

17,475 ft

16,650 ft

Last updated: March 10, 2022

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

Learn More
komoot premium logo

Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Sant'Anna di Valdieri to Livio Bianco Refuge – Alta Via dei Re

    Difficult
    03:35
    4.58 mi
    1.3 mph
    2,950 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The Alta Via dei Re starts from the paved road that runs alongside the Locanda Balma Meris in Sant’Anna di Valdieri, a few steps from the bus stop. Sant'Anna di Valdieri is a village reborn thanks to five women who wanted to save this small hamlet of Valdieri from abandonment by opening a refuge, a grocery

    translated byView Original

    by Marika Abbà

    View
  • Difficult
    07:07
    9.21 mi
    1.3 mph
    3,400 ft
    3,775 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The second day begins at the first light of the morning with a nice breakfast in front of the window overlooking the Sottano della Sella Lake. Around you there are busy mountaineers, intent on preparing all the material to face the peaks of Monte Matto.

    

    Leave the refuge behind you, cross the bridge again

    translated byView Original

    by Marika Abbà

    View
  • Sign Up To Discover Places Like This

    Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.

  • Difficult
    07:06
    9.03 mi
    1.3 mph
    4,475 ft
    2,200 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Waking up at the Valasco Refuge means being immersed in absolute tranquility: a melody given by the cowbells, the impetuous flow of the stream and the distant echo of the waterfalls. With your backpack fastened, take the mule track that flanks the right side of the refuge and which, with a gentle slope

    translated byView Original

    by Marika Abbà

    View
  • Difficult
    03:16
    3.14 mi
    1.0 mph
    1,275 ft
    2,900 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    In the dormitories, before dawn comes, silent mountaineers with plush steps prepare everything necessary for the ascent to the southern peak of the Argentera, but you can still enjoy the warmth of the sleeping bag for a little while, before a hearty breakfast. .

    Outside the refuge, ibex lying on the rocks

    translated byView Original

    by Marika Abbà

    View
  • Difficult
    03:46
    5.12 mi
    1.4 mph
    1,650 ft
    2,200 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    The fifth stage of this wonderful crossing begins by skirting the Chiotas Lake for a short distance. When you reach the crossroads, leave the path that goes down towards Entracque and take the one for Colle delle Fenestrelle. Cross the grassy hollow and begin the series of hairpin bends that make you

    translated byView Original

    by Marika Abbà

    View
  • Difficult
    05:31
    5.92 mi
    1.1 mph
    3,675 ft
    1,325 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    The sixth, as well as the penultimate stage of the trek, is very demanding and requires good preparation in facing it, so, if you do not consider yourself an expert hiker who knows how to juggle alpine environments made of ledges and rocks, I recommend that you close the traverse by reaching su easy

    translated byView Original

    by Marika Abbà

    View
  • Intermediate
    04:14
    7.12 mi
    1.7 mph
    25 ft
    4,350 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    If you want to start the last day in the best possible way, I recommend that you get up early, when it is still dark outside, go out and wait for the dawn that slowly illuminates, indeed, inflames, the vertical walls of the Maledia. A vision that will warm you and will help you face the seventh stage

    translated byView Original

    by Marika Abbà

    View

Like this Collection?

Comments

    loading

Collection Stats

  • Tours
    7
  • Distance
    44.1 mi
  • Duration
    34:35 h
  • Elevation
    17,450 ft16,725 ft

You Might Also Like

Epic sunset spots in Western Europe

Hiking Collection by komoot

Holy mountains and their stories

Hiking Collection by komoot

Berlin's sensational swimming lakes

Bike Touring Collection by komoot

From the Dentelles de Montmirail to the Ventoux - seven hikes in Vaucluse

Hiking Collection by Vincent Reboul