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High peaks and beautiful valleys in Italy – Aosta Valley’s Alta Via Trail 2

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High peaks and beautiful valleys in Italy – Aosta Valley’s Alta Via Trail 2

Hiking Collection by Marika Abbà

12-27

days

3-6 h

/ day

111 mi

38,475 ft

41,375 ft

The Aosta Valley's Alta Via Trail 2 starts in Courmayeur and ends in Donnas. This route is often known as the nature trail as it touches incredible landscapes where you can see unique and surprising biodiversity.

The route leads 177 kilometres (109 mi) through two very important areas: the Gran Paradiso National Park and the Monte Avic Regional Park. The former was established way back in 1922, after King Victor Emmanuel III ceded the territory to the State, hoping that a park would be created to protect the region’s ibex. The animals were on the verge of extinction due to hunting. However, it was his predecessor, King Victor Emmanuel II, who first worried about the disappearance of ibex. In fact, in 1856, he established the 'Royal Hunting Reserve', where only the royal family could hunt. The most important peak in this area, between Piedmont and Valle d'Aosta, is the Gran Paradiso. At 4,061 metres (13,323 ft), it fascinates mountaineers and hikers alike.

The second park, on the other hand, was established in 1989 and encompasses important landscapes and geology. The area is characterised by forests of mountain pine, Scots pine, larch and beech. Its lakes and wetlands are home to great biodiversity, while the rocks tell the story of places that were covered by imposing glaciers in the past.

The best time to walk the Alta Via Trail 2 is definitely summer, from the end of June to mid-September. Bear in mind that at higher altitudes, such as the Col du Loson at 3,299 metres (10,823 ft), you may still come across snow in the early summer months.

You should pack clothing that’s suitable for high mountains: both warm and summer clothes as the weather can change quickly at high altitudes. Stock up on energy bars and water; you won’t always find huts or small villages along the route where you can get refreshments. In general, each stage ends at the bottom of the valley, where there are some services, hotels or small family-run accommodation.

Wild camping and bivouacking are prohibited throughout the Gran Paradiso National Park, except in specially designated areas. You can find more information, here: pngp.it/en/faq. You can’t camp below 2,500 metres (8,202 ft) in the rest of the Aosta Valley territory. However, there are campsites along the entire route; you can find them here: lovevda.it/en/accommodation/accommodation-in-the-aosta-valley.

To reach Courmayeur, take the train from Turin or Milan to Aosta and travel by bus to the starting point of Alta Via 2 from there. Donnas, on the other hand, lies on the line that connects the regional capital with the main cities of Piedmont and Lombardy, so all you have to do is get to the station and you're done.

All that remains is to prepare everything you need to fully savour the atmosphere and cuisine of the Aosta Valley. Enjoy your journey!

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Alta Via 2 della Valle d’Aosta

110 mi

38,375 ft

41,300 ft

Last updated: October 28, 2022

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Courmayeur to Elisabetta Soldini Refuge – Aosta Valley’s Alta Via Trail 2

    Difficult
    06:59
    9.43 mi
    1.3 mph
    4,650 ft
    1,500 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Alta Via 2 of the Aosta Valley starts from the center of Courmayeur, at the arrival point of the buses, climbs towards the Dolonne hamlet and arrives at the Maison Vieille Refuge, at 1,955 meters above sea level. In this enchanting place you cannot miss a coffee break with a view of the Mont Blanc massif

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  • Difficult
    06:38
    11.0 mi
    1.7 mph
    1,525 ft
    3,850 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    You leave from the Elisabetta Soldini Refuge, take the dirt road that descends towards the river, cross the bridge and follow the path that runs along the stream and climbs the grassy slope.

    

    I recommend that you stop for a few seconds every now and then, turn around and contemplate the incredible view

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  • Difficult
    04:19
    5.82 mi
    1.4 mph
    3,400 ft
    100 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Leave La Thuile behind you and set off on the paved road that climbs gradually towards the hamlet of Pierre Carrée and from here take the dirt road that will intersect the hairpin bends of the one you have just left.

    

    Now the track passes through wide meadows, crosses the Rutor stream, enters the woods

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  • Difficult
    08:39
    9.83 mi
    1.1 mph
    3,375 ft
    6,400 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Leave the Deffeyes Refuge behind you and set out on the path that climbs to the Passo Alto through grassy areas and stony ground.

    

    The colorful Tibetan flags sway in the wind: they welcome you at an altitude of 2,860 meters. The panorama enjoyed in this place is stunning. Mountains as far as the eye can

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  • Difficult
    04:50
    7.60 mi
    1.6 mph
    3,150 ft
    400 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    From Planaval, take the paved road and go down to the village of Revers; here a flat dirt road takes you into the heart of Prariond.

    

    Some Rascards dating back to the 14th century are still visible along the way. The Rascard is a building in pine or larch wood, which rests on small pillars which in turn

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  • Difficult
    04:00
    4.74 mi
    1.2 mph
    1,425 ft
    3,600 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Having said goodbye to the Chalet de l'Epée Refuge, set out on the path that climbs the grassy slope until you reach a plateau. Skirt the river and start the climb to Col Fenêtre. Pay close attention to where you put your feet, because as you gain altitude, the bottom becomes more and more rocky.

    

    Col

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  • Difficult
    08:36
    9.80 mi
    1.1 mph
    4,225 ft
    4,425 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Leave the center of Rhêmes-Notre-Dame and take the path that climbs steeply through the coniferous forest towards Entrelor. You are once again inside the Gran Paradiso National Park.

    

    Skip the detour to the Marmotte Refuge (Entrelor) and continue towards the Plan de Feye mountain pasture. From here on

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  • Difficult
    08:24
    10.7 mi
    1.3 mph
    5,250 ft
    2,225 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Cross the bridge over the Savara stream, follow the path that runs along the fields, finally, take the one on the left that climbs up the slope and enters the woods.

    

    Hairpin after hairpin the altitude increases and after about two and a half hours from Eaux-Rousse, you are on the plateau of Levionaz Inferiore

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  • Intermediate
    03:11
    5.10 mi
    1.6 mph
    0 ft
    3,375 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    We could define today's stage as “plaisir”. It does not foresee a positive difference in height, but only a negative one. You don't have many hours of walking ahead of you, so enjoy your breakfast in peace, prepare yourself calmly and hit the road.

    

    The path runs parallel along the Grand Loson stream

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    by Marika Abbà

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  • Difficult
    05:26
    8.64 mi
    1.6 mph
    3,275 ft
    50 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Drive along a stretch of paved road towards Lillaz, then take the dirt road on the right that runs along the banks of the Urtier stream and reaches Champlong.

    

    Continue your walk on the sidewalk in the direction of Lillaz, a fraction of Cogne, famous for its wonderful waterfalls.

    

    Now the path climbs into

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  • Difficult
    05:30
    9.21 mi
    1.7 mph
    875 ft
    4,600 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    From the Sogno di Berdzé Refuge, go up to the Fenêtre de Champorcher hill, at 2,827 meters above sea level, following the trail that climbs up the stony ground with a series of hairpin bends.

    

    The view from the Fenêtre de Champorcher is majestic: in front of you is the Gran Paradiso again. Furthermore

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  • Difficult
    08:19
    9.67 mi
    1.2 mph
    4,075 ft
    4,950 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Leave Champorcher, cross the bridge over the Ayasse stream and take the panoramic path that leads to the small hamlet of Porte, now abandoned.

    

    Go up the Vallone de la Leigne crossing pastures, mountain pastures and woods, then take the path leading to Colle della Fricolla (2,540 m). The stretch that precedes

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  • Difficult
    08:00
    9.51 mi
    1.2 mph
    3,275 ft
    5,925 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Here you are in front of the last stage of Alta Via 2 of the Aosta Valley; put your backpack back together and set off.

    

    Leave Crest, cross the Brenve stream and descend the steep stone staircase that guides you in the direction of Rettempo. In this small alpine village there is an important sanctuary

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    13
  • Distance
    111 mi
  • Duration
    82:51 h
  • Elevation
    38,475 ft41,375 ft

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