Across Three Valleys in Ticino

A long holiday weekend in early June saw us hiking from north to south through 3 valleys in Ticino. Our hike started above the Val di Vergeletto. We could have hiked up from the valley floor, but it was already noon by the time we arrived and we still had a ways to go so we took the cable car up to Alpe Saléi, where we had a bite to eat before heading on. From there, we made our way up to the small lake Lago di Saléi.

The little lake was a beauty and I was ready to end the hike there and just stay for three days. But since that wasn’t possible, we hiked onward and upward all the way to the Italian border. Right as we reached the top of the Pilone, which sits on the Italian-Swiss border, the fog rolled in.

From the Pilone we hiked down, through huge patches of alpine roses, towards Valle Onsernone where we spent the first night above Spruga in Pian Secco. Our after dinner walk saw us walking along the ridge to Mondada and back, enjoy the last of the light.

And what a view to start the day! We donned our hiking boots and were off down to the valley and up the other side, past ant hills almost as tall as me, we heard a rumbling sound in the forest and I caught the sight of a young wild boar and came across a chamoix peering down at us from above. We reached the Alpe Ruscada at noon and the only living beings we saw there were a few sheep trying to stay cool by standing in the shade of the buildings. We pressed on and then finally stopped for lunch on the Cappellone before hiking up to the top of Pizzo Ruscada.

From the top of the Pizzo Ruscada, we were able to look back to the Alpe Ruscada we had passed earlier on. We could also see where we were headed and would spend the next two nights, Monte di Comino. The amazing sunset made up for the elevation gain and loss we hiked that day.

For the next morning we had booked a 3 hour hiking tour with llamas, something I’ve always wanted to do. These intelligent and headstrong creatures are so much fun to be around and I love the way they look at you with big eyes and their turned in ears. The three hours went by in a flash and before long we said goodbye to our furry hiking partners. Afterwards we walked a bit more around the Monte Comino before returning for another delicious dinner.

On our last morning, we took the funicular down to the third valley on our trip, Centovalli. From there, we hiked to Intragna stopping shortly before reaching the small town to swim in the deep and refreshing pools of the river Melezza before taking the train back home.

Where we stayed and ate:

  • Alpe Salèi
  • Casa Gianni
  • Alla Capanna
  • Ristorante Stazione

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