hikes in Gran Paradiso National Park
Nestled in the heart of the Italian Alps, Gran Paradiso National Park is the jewel of Piedmont and Aosta, and one of the finest hiking destinations in Italy. The park itself covers 700 square kilometers of magnificent territory, boasting classic alpine terrain, dramatic views, and endless hiking trails that will keep even the most enthusiastic adventurers happy! It’s time to start exploring this magical region.
Flanked by France’s Vanoise National Park, the Gran Paradiso National Park really lives up to its name. This place is heaven for hikers, with over 435.0mi of hiking trails in some of the most majestic scenery the Alps have to offer. The landscape is dotted with picturesque rifugios, which offer a bed and a hearty meal to weary hikers, and which are often situated in truly gorgeous landscapes. There’s really nothing better than spending a few days or a week hiking from hut to hut in this beautiful terrain.
Like the neighboring Alpi Marittime Natural Park, Gran Paradiso is home to some rare and remarkable wildlife. In addition to the ibex and chamois that roam the slopes, you may catch a glimpse of cute and furry little marmots, or even (if you’re very lucky) majestic golden eagles, soaring high above the peaks. A trip here is a golden opportunity to immerse yourself in nature, get back to basics, and appreciate the stark beauty of these expansive natural spaces.
The Gran Paradiso National Park is a stellar hiking destination, and we think it deserves your attention! Here’s our pick of the best hikes on offer in Gran Paradiso National Park.
Top 10 Hikes In Gran Paradiso National Park
Gran Paradiso National Park is a true paradise for lovers of the great outdoors, with plenty of challenging, strenuous trails to suit experienced hikers. With epic peaks, lush valleys, and dramatic mountains strewn with glaciers, this is the perfect place to test your fitness and gain a little hiking experience. However, you don’t need to be an expert to enjoy this magnificent region. With plenty of lower-level, easy trails perfect for families, as well as moderate routes with varied scenery, you won’t want to leave this remarkable corner of Italy.
- Alpe Money Hike: This magnificent trail is one of the best hikes in Gran Paradiso National Park, offering splendid views of some of the tallest mountains and peaks in the region. Expect a stiff, challenging climb, but you’ll enjoy phenomenal views all along the way, especially of the stone village of Money surrounded by a backdrop of snow-capped peaks. With gushing waterfalls, stunning glaciers and epic peaks, this trail has everything you’d want for a classic hike in the Italian Alps.
- Rifugio Vittorio Sella Hike: The hike to Rifugio Vittorio Sella is one of the most beautiful hikes in Gran Paradiso National Park. The trail begins by ascending through the forest in a series of gentle switchbacks, crossing fields and meadows, and the views just keep getting better and better the higher you get. Keep your eyes open for golden eagles flying high above the peaks, and herds of ibex grazing on the mountain slopes. The rifugio offers fantastic desserts and is a great place to stop for a rest and admire the view.
- Valnontey River Trail Hike: Looking for an easy trail in Gran Paradiso National Park? This short easy route follows the river to a series of breathtaking ice falls, waterfalls that run down the face of the glacier. Along the way you’ll enjoy waterfalls, craggy peaks and stunning glacier views, all for very little effort. This is a hike where you’ll want to take your time and savor the remarkable vista along the way.
- Lago di Loie Hike: This beautiful hike takes you all the way to the serene, picturesque Lake Loie, with crystal waters that perfectly reflect the surrounding snow-capped peaks. The big-name attraction of this trail is the magnificent view of Mont Blanc, but we think the scenery at Lake Loie itself is second-to-none. This is a challenging hike, but could still be suitable for families with older kids, who will relish the steep switchbacks and magnificent views.
- Col de Saint-Marcel Hike: If you’re looking for a challenging hike in the heart of the Gran Paradiso National Park, this route to the Col de Saint Marcel is a great option. You’ll pass through the beautiful Grauson Valley, with breathtaking views of the Gran Paradiso range along the way. The views extend all the way to the Matterhorn and the Swiss Alps, and the varied scenery means that you’ll soon forget your weary legs!
- Col Tsasèche Hike: This strenuous hike in Gran Paradiso National Park is perfect for experienced hikers looking for a satisfying challenge. Beginning in the village of Gilmillan, the route passes through a fragrant pine forest before ascending a steep slope to take in some of the most incredible views in Gran Paradiso National Park. You’ll gaze upon the peaks of Gran Paradiso, Mount Grivola, the Aosta Valley and the iconic Mont Blanc. Plan to undertake this hike on a clear day to make the most of the remarkable scenery.
- Tsaplana Peak Hike: This stunning hike begins in the village of Gilmillan, ascending steeply through the pine forest before the trail opens up to a meadow. The peak offers a remarkable view over Month Blanc, the Valnontey Valley and the surrounding mountains. This trail can be somewhat exposed, so make sure to pack your sunscreen!
- Lago Pellaud via the Grand Rû Ring Hike: This relatively easy hike passes through the beautiful village of Rhêmes-Notre-Dame, with its beautiful villages and waterfalls. You can expect to encounter wild ibex and chamois on the route, as you pass alongside the river all the way to the Lago Pellaud. This is an easy hike, suitable for families, and makes a wonderful afternoon out in the splendor of Gran Paradiso National Park.
- Colle della Rossa Hike: This magnificent hike involves a tough ascent of the pass of Della Rossa, rising steeply along a series of switchbacks to a high valley. The panoramic views over the southern part of the Gran Paradiso National Park are simply staggering, with a vista extending to the Swiss Alps and Monte Rosa. It’s important to come well kitted out for this hike, with warm layers, sturdy footwear and ideally, a pair of trekking poles. Nevertheless, this is without doubt one of the best hikes in Gran Paradiso National Park.
- Ghiacciaio Grand Étret Hike: This popular day hike is a wonderful way to spend a day in Gran Paradiso National Park, passing through a stunning valley to see a gorgeous hidden glacier. The route isn’t too difficult apart from the last tough ascent up a loose rockslide. This is one of the best trails in the park for nature spotting, and you’ll have a good chance of seeing herds of wild ibex as you hike.
When Is The Best Time To Hike In Gran Paradiso National Park?
The main hiking season in Gran Paradiso National runs from May to September, although many trails remain accessible into October, depending on when the early snows come. The summer months are typically dry, warm and sunny, and the park comes alive in June and July when the wildflowers coat the alpine trails. September is a particularly beautiful time to visit, when the larch forests turn golden, and create a magnificent natural spectacle in the mountains. Winters are cold, with snow on higher ground, although this creates the possibility for all kinds of winter sports. Some trails remain accessible in winter but you will likely need to hire snowshoes or microspikes.
Other Outdoor Activities In Gran Paradiso National Park
The Alps are a haven for all keen adventurers, and in addition to hiking, there are plenty of other outdoor activities in Gran Paradiso National Park. This is a great place for long-distance backpacking, hiking from hut to hut along one of the region’s epic trails. What’s more, it’s a great place to try your hand at rock climbing, canyoning, mountain biking, rafting, and even caving! If you’re really seeking a thrill or two, you can even take to the air and try a little paragliding! In winter, when the snow cloaks the park in a thick, white blanket, you can enjoy downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and even ice climbing.
How To Plan A Trip To Gran Paradiso National Park
If you’re thinking of putting Gran Paradiso National Park on your hiking bucket list, we’ve got all the information you’ll need. Check out our guide to planning a trip to Gran Paradiso National Park for all of the information you’ll need before you set out. We’ve gathered recommendations of where to go, where to stay, where to eat, and most importantly, insider tips on all the best hiking routes. Happy hiking!
Frequently-Asked-Questions About Gran Paradiso National Park
Is Gran Paradiso difficult to climb?
The towering peak of Gran Paradiso, from which the park gets its name, rises to an elevation of 4061m above sea level. Despite its height, it’s not too challenging to climb although you will need some mountaineering skills and plenty of stamina as it requires a long day.
Why is Gran Paradiso a national park?
Gran Paradiso National Park was created to protect the rare and fragile ecosystems of the region, which support a wide variety of rare flora and fauna. Thanks to the conservations in the Gran Paradiso National Park, the Alpi Marittime Natural Park and the Mercantour National Park, the ibex has been saved from near-extinction and is now flourishing.
The best hikes in Gran Paradiso National Park
Are we missing your favourite hike?
Tell us! If you've got photos, a GPS track and know the hike, we'd love to share your favourite hike with the rest of the 10Adventures community.