Rifugio Vittorio Sella hike
Rifugio Vittorio Sella is one of the most scenic hikes in Gran Paradiso National Park. The trail rewards you with amazing views of snowy mountains and spectacular glaciers. At the end of the hike, you can enjoy traditional food and refreshments from the Rifugio Vittorio Sella mountain chalet in the high valley of Alpe Lauson.
Head to Cogne, and then take the Rue Grand Paradis road to drive to Valnontey village. Park your car at one of the car parks. The trail starts just after the Valnontey village.
|When to do|
End of May - September
Older Children only
Out and back
Rifugio Vittorio Sella
Route Description for Rifugio Vittorio Sella
The Rifugio Vittorio Sella hike starts from Valnontey village. Park your car at one of the paid car parks (1 Euro per hour or 4 Euros for the whole day). Cross the river and go towards the hotels up the hill. You will see a trail signboard. Follow route 18.
Pass the Valnontey botanical garden on your right and continue straight ahead. The trail ascends via switchbacks through a pine forest. You will hear a waterfall cascading down the mountain slope. This place is rich with streams of water rushing down the mountains.
While switchbacking up the pine forest, be ready with your camera, as every corner will offer better views of snowy mountain tops from the trail. You will soon cross a bridge over a stream, itis a good place to have a break.
After the bridge walk past an old damaged stone hut, ascend further, keeping it to your right. Here you will find a water faucet. We are told the water is drinkable, however we didn’t drink from it, we didn’t want to take the chance. We’d suggest filtering the water if you want to drink it.
Soon you will reach a meadow where you will see some old ruins of traditional Italian buildings. Continue through the meadow.
After another water faucet, you will see amazing glaciers, resting on the San Pietro mountains. A lot of hikers take a break here as the views are beautiful and you can just tuck yourself into the grass and relax before the next stage of the hike.
Continue along the trail, where there will be another water faucet and a wooden bridge crossing a stream. After some ascent, the trail will join another path. When it does, turn left and ascend, leaving the mountain slope on your right.
After quite a bit more ascent, you will see the idyllic grey brick farm resting on the slope of a mountain, surrounded by snowy peaks. This is not the Rifugio yet. Continue along the trail. You will soon see another building and an EU flag behind it. Rifugio Vittorio Sella is right by the flag.
Here you can use the restrooms, get some fresh drinking water and grab a bite in the restaurant. You can also arrange to spend a night here if you’re doing a longer hike.
If you’re lucky, you might be able to see herds of ibex on the mountain slopes. This is also a nesting area of golden eagles. Spend some time to rest here as the view of the snowy peaks around you are just breathtaking.
After you take a break, go back the same way you came.
If you want to make the hike longer, consider hiking to Colle Di Rosa, which is a 3,193m peak roughly 1:50 hours more from the Rifugio Vittorio Sella. Inquire at the Rifugio for more information about the route and difficulty.
Try the amazing desserts and great coffee at the bar in Rifugio Vittorio Sella. Bring cash, as there were no card machines when we were there.
When parking, be aware that it currently only accepts coins. If you don't have coins, the nice people in the cafes nearby will be happy to break your notes for you. If you don’t have any cash – the closest ATM is in Cogne (3,5km away).
The hut is open from the end of May to the end of September.
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