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Fraction Chiesa Bellino – Fraction Castello Pontechianale

Tipologia percorso


Dislivello in salita

800 m

Dislivello in discesa

670 m

Tempo complessivo

4.50 h

In senso inverso

5.00 h

Bellino, borgata Chiesa 1480 m – Grangia Esperià 1924 m – Colletto della Battagliola 2260 m – Pontechianale 1614 m

A short and panoramic section between the two branches of the Val Varaita: the ascent through large pastures that are still very much in use leads to the vicinity of the Monviso, that stands imposingly on the other side on the valley; the descent to Pontechianale crosses beautiful woods.

From the square of Borgata Chiesa, after crossing the bridge over the Varaita stream, you descend for a short stretch along the carriage road at the bottom of the valley and go up the cart track on the left that goes up to the Mas del Bernard houses up to the small bridge over the stream of the same name. Once you have crossed the stream, take a mule track on the left which forks a little further on; continue along the right branch and further on you will come across another well-paved mule track that goes up from the Mas del Bernard. Following it you quickly gain altitude between meadows and wooded patches, go around a first group of houses on the right and reach the grange of the Alpe 1703 m. The mule track continues on more open terrain and, after passing another group of granges, it climbs with a less steep route parallel to the bottom of the valley, up to the Esperia grange 1924 m; 1.30 hours. At this point you come across the dirt military road which, starting from the village | Bals (a couple of km upstream from Borgata Chiesa) reaches the large meadow basin below the Bataiola crest with a few hairpin bends and a wide semicircular route. It is also thanks to this road that some granges have been renovated in this area where every year the herds come up for the summer pasture; the road does not disturb the landscape too much: it is little frequented and built with the expertise typical of military roads. From the Grangia Esperia the Gta route, instead of going directly up the old mule track, prefers to follow the comfortable route of the military road which crosses meadows (the flowering is exceptional at the beginning of summer) and reaches the Grangia Forest 1998 m with a wide turn on the right. From this point the military road makes a few hairpin bends on the left: it is best to take the old mule track along which you come across a fountain (the last water before the hill) and return to the path of the higher carriage road, just before a crossroads at the foot of the Punta del Cavallo, where the remains of ancient fortifications can be seen. At the crossroads, leave the branch that goes east to a secondary pass, to follow the road that continues west, climbing diagonally for about two hundred meters just below the watershed crest, finally reaching the modest depression of the Colletto della Battagliola (Bataiola ) approximately 2,260 m, beyond which the imposing pyramid of Monviso appears, 1.20 hours.

Digression: in good weather it is advisable to go up in a few minutes, directly from the crossroads of the carriage roads, to Punta del Cavallo where there is a memorial monument and from which you can enjoy a magnificent view of Monviso, Lake Pontechianale and the Vallone di Vallanta, you can then descend along the ridge, towards the west, to Colletto della Battagliola. Leaving the military road, which continues up to a barracks, you go to the Pontechianale side, along a path that (almost flat) crosses the eastern side of Punta della Bataiola, covered by a dense alder forest. After a few minutes you come across the Fontana del Pet, beyond which the path continues slightly uphill to a large, very panoramic grassy shoulder (in addition to Monviso and Lake Pontechianale, the middle Val Varaita dominates). Having climbed over this shoulder, the path descends with numerous hairpin bends among the alders in the Cumbal della Villa valley: then move to the right (north) entering a larch and stone pine forest with an undergrowth of rhododendrons. Still in the woods, it descends until it meets a flat path that comes from the left (west, pay attention to this crossroads by following the route in the opposite direction). Follow this path which starts to descend into the woods, passes near a spring and reaches the Cumbal della Villa near the meadows at the bottom of the valley. At this point you cross the Lungolago path which runs alongside Lake Pontechianale, turn right, follow it, pass over the dam and arrive at the hamlet of Castello 1584 m turn right onto the provincial road after the curve above the road you will find the stopover point Refuge Alevè 1579 m 2.00 hours

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