Col de Saint-Marcel
- Physical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
- Technical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
The Col de Saint-Marcel hike in Gran Paradiso National Park takes you through the beautiful valley of Grauson to Saint-Marcel Pass. It offers great views of the Gran Paradiso mountain range along the way and rewards you with the breathtaking scene of the Matterhorn and the snow-capped Swiss Alps next to it including the beautiful Monte Rosa massif.
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Route Description for Col de Saint-Marcel
Although this hike is long and has lots of elevation gain, you shouldn’t be too scared by the stats. The trail ascends slowly, bit by bit, with the exception of the last stretch gaining 200m of elevation in a rather short time. The path is not technical and quite easy to walk on.
The Col de Saint-Marcel hike starts from Gimillan. Park your car in one of the free car parks in the village. There is one car park right next to the trailhead, but it fills up very quickly. Walk east through Gimillan village, until you reach a river crossing. Cross the bridge and start following route 8.
Ascend until you reach a fork and turn right. You should see sign number 8 on a rock with a yellow arrow nearby. You will walk to another signpost near a white monument chapel, continue straight from here.
At another signpost go right at the fork, still following route 8. Descend to the Grauson River (Torrente Grauson) and use the wooden bridge to cross to the other side. Ascend onto the right slope, walking against the stream.
There will be another signpost at a fork. Go left, following route 8. After a little bit more walking along the river, you will see one more signpost, take the route 8 that is ascending. Continue hiking along the valley on route 8 following the signs to Grauson Désot.
Enjoy the views of stunning cliffs and streams rushing down the mountain slopes that fall into the Grauson River, which has formed the beautiful Grauson Valley (Vallon du Grauson).
After walking 4.4km you should reach a signpost next to a cross. This is a beautiful place to take a break. After that, continue along route 8 towards Col de Saint-Marcel. Soon you’ll pass Grauson Inferiore (Lower Grauson) – several old houses near the river on your left.
Continue along a beautiful meadow and walk past rushing water streams. Keep an eye out for marmots here.
After walking 5.6km you reach a signpost at the fork in the path. Go left and follow route 8A. You will see a new refuge being built here. In the future, you will have a chance to get some refreshments or even spend the night at this location.
At 6.5km into the hike, you will reach three stone houses and a signpost - Grauson Superiore (Upper Grauson). From here, go right following route 3B. After ascending for another 90m you will see a small lake. Pass it to your left. After you climb on the slope one path will go left. It leads to Lago Corona, which is a beautiful mountain lake. However, at the fork your trail goes right so go back after checking out the lake and continue towards the mountain pass, leaving Lago Corona to your left.
After the last 200 m of switchbacking up, you will finally reach Col de Saint-Marcel. The final and most stunning reward awaits you here - the Matterhorn and the beautiful Monte Rosa Massif next to it. The snowy peaks create a wonderful panoramic view and the Matterhorn, although lacking snow looking from this side, beautifully conquers every other mountain in sight.
After taking a break at Col de Saint-Marcel, go back the same route you came.
Insider Hints for Col de Saint-Marcel
- Take sunscreen, the hike has little shade and can be very sunny.
- There are two trails from both sides along the river leading to Grauson Désot, but we prefer leaving the river on our left as this trail does have some shade.
- There is a Rifugio being built, so in the future, you will be able to enjoy some refreshments and even a roof above your head here.
- This route can get quite muddy after rain, it’s best to have trekking poles.
Getting to the Col de Saint-Marcel Trailhead
Use the SR47 road to drive to Cogne, then take the Village de Cogne road to ascend to Gimillan.
Col de Saint-Marcel Elevation Graph
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Col de Saint-Marcel Reviews
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