Monte Varagna s(u)

On one side this is a mostly paved climb to a refugio in a high alpine meadow. On the other side a variety of unpaved roads and single tracks are available. The refugio is not at the highest point of the profile, but it has much better views, and you can also order food, drink and sleep here.

Most of my time at the refugio was spent gazing out over the scenery, and trying to figure out, just exactly what I was looking at. The views are of small rivers emerging from v shaped canyons. The Adige (Etsch) is just one of them. To the far north the main crest of the alps sets an icy limit to the extend of the world that can be surveyed from here.

1.(80m,00.0km) START-END EAST: Torbole, SS240 leaves rondell near center of town
2.(230m,02.3km) route turns right in Nago
3.(1710m,17.2km) TOP: pint of highest elevation, west of Monte Varagna.
4.(1470m,20.6km) Refugio Maiga Campei
5.(720m,28.9km) Bretonico
6.(230m,36.8km) START-END WEST: jct SS240 - SS3, Mori


From West.
The profile leaves Torbole and climbs the small Passo Giovanni (287m). This pass is mostly a shoulder point. But if you go down the Etsch valley far enough you can come up with the minimum 500ft of elevation gain, that I set as an artificial cut off point for including pages. The climb from Torbole to Passo Giovanni is not only noticable, but also affords some incredible views of Lago di Garda, something you would not expect from a 287 meter vantage point. But the other side to Rovereto hardly descends at all.

There are separate routes for the sometimes incredibly heavy stop and go automobile traffic and the bike path between Torbole and Passo Giovanni. The bike path deviates from the road near the spot where the main road along the coast (coming from south to north) is no longer adjacent to the water. The map follows the road, but the path is a better route.

Back to the top of Passo Giovanni and the town Nago: Here signs point the route to Monte Baldo, wich refers to the entire gigantic ridge along the east side of the lake. Following these signs, the road gets very narrow, passes a Mother Mary statue or two with flowers, and begins to climb through the forest. After passing an especially inviting place to stop and worship, or have a second breakfast, the road uses long steep ramps to work itself up the mountain, adjacent to a large limestone cliff. Now you can see the entire west shore of the lake, with its sweeping cliffs and villages squeezing to the edges.  Once the ridge is climbed the road turns away from the lake and passes a few vacation homes. Even up here people mow lawns and blow away leaves with combustion energy and lots of noise. The road now becomes intermittently non paved on the not ultra steep sections. The distant snow covered Ortler Group becomes more and more the dominant mountain feature in the views. More switchbacks follow, now completely unpaved, but always in the forest. Finally the road crests, and opens a limited view direction Rovereto. This is the highest spot, but the refugio is still a little further.

From East.
(described downwards). On the other side of the summit are three trails. One of them goes higher. Just walking up the first saddle opens up great views on the lake, which is directly below. I included a few pictures from this spot. Another advantage of walking up here a few meters is that you see the dirt road below for which the other two trails from the summit are heading. I took the right one, a smooth short descent across an alpine meadow.

The next dirt road goes in a northerly direction and quickly reaches refugio Maiga Campei. This spot must have been chosen for its overwhelming view to the north, the Ortler Group and an even more snow covered crests to the west.

I think most people continue to climb on single track from here, via the trail behind the refugio, at least when the weather allows this. But I descended on a very steep concrete path to the north. It finally turns to dirt again, once it becomes sufficiently not-so-steep, that dirt still has a chance of staying on the slope and doesn't just slide off. My option for the descent leads into the village Bretonico from above. This attractive village is a world away from the traffic nightmare of the lake and all its tourists circulating around it.

There are several ways to descend on wide smoothly paved roads at high speed from here. The profile picks the option towards the north and Tierno. There is a great bike path between Rovereto and Torbole back up to Passo Giovanni, but that's not part of the profile.

Dayride with this point as highest summit:


Monte Varagna s(u) : Villa Emma, Torbole > Nago > up west side of M Baldo as described > Mt Varagna s(u) > Bretonico > Passo Giovanni(shp) <> grocery shopping trip in Torbole >> back to starting point: 36.9miles with 6884ft of climbing in 5:37hrs (Garmin etrex30 m4:14.6.1)

The last day with different start and end points is on page: Passo Lagostrello




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