Il Piano del Praiet hike
Il Piano del Praiet, at the foot of Mount Gelas, has been a well-known hiking destination in the Alpi Marittime throughout history. On the northern slopes of the Gelas is one of the last glaciers in the Alpes-Marittime fading quickly due to climate change. From there, you can reach the Colle di Finestra, and walk down into France on an old salt-smugglers’ trail.
When you arrive in Valdieri, go straight and after 1.2mi go left to Entracque. Then go right to San Giacomo after 3.7mi. You can park the car here. To reach the path, pass the bridge on the left.
|When to do|
May to end of October
Yes, on site, or in San Giacomo
Yes, At San Giacomo
Out and back
Il Piano del Praiet
Route Description for Il Piano del Praiet
From San Giacomo you take the road that starts between the Rifugios and continues into the beech trees next to the river.
After some bends through the woods, the track opens up to the valley, but the path always follows along the river, making it hard to get lost.
You’ll walk past some pastures up to the Piazzale dei Cannoni. From here you take the track that climbs up. You’ll continue to the Peirastretta canyon and onto the pastures of the Conca del Praiet. Above you sits the Gelas, (10312ft), and the Cougourda, (9583ft). For the local climbers, these mountains have an almost “mythic lore” about them.
The Rifugio Soria (6037ft) is the end-point of this walk. This Rifugio is one of the most popular Rifugios in the park. It lays atop some rocks on the left of the Praiet.
After a stop at the Rifugio, you’ll return the way you came to get back to your car.
From the Praiet you can reach two passes: the Passo di Fenestrelle, to the north-west, and the Colle della Finestra, to the south. The Rifugio Soria is also a basecamp when climbing the Gelas, as well as a basecamp for skiers.
We recommend checking out the Rifugio San Giacomo. They are famous for their stone-milled polenta.
Sotto il Fagio is a great camping option in the area. If you have your own sleeping bag or blankets you can rent tents and air mattresses from them.
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