6 Alpine Passes Trail
6 Alpine Passes Trail
6 Alpine Passes Trail
6 Alpine Passes Trail
6 Alpine Passes Trail
6 Alpine Passes Trail

Hiking

etappe-01291

Alpine Passes Trail

Stage 12, Acquacalda–Airolo

Route report
88 photos

WL_006_12_03651_R_F_M.jpg
etappe-01291

Alpine Passes Trail

Ascent to Passo del Sole, the rock changes from sediment to granite. The Val Piora is one of the largest and most peaceful high plateaux in the Swiss Alps. On foot or with one of the world’s steepest funiculars down to the Leventina.
Acquacalda is located on the southern side of the Lucomagno Pass in the Blenio Valley. The landscape around the Lucomagno is protected on account of its geological and botanical riches. This makes the tiny village a perfect setting for the Pro Natura Centre. You will immediately notice the diversity of the scenery: after crossing the Brenno stream, the path plunges into a magical forest of mountain pines, larches and Swiss stone pines, with various wetlands. After a broad stretch of meadowland comes the climb through the Rondadöira area to the Passo del Sole (2,375 m.a.s.l.) As you descend, you have superb views of the Piora Valley. Just like the Lucomagno Pass, this valley is famed for its abundance of flora. This is because of the various types of rock that are present here. Crystalline rocks alternate with dolomites containing calcium carbonate.

In about one and a half hours, you reach Capanna Cadagno (hut), a little way above the idyllic lake and its waterfall. The unusual stratification of the 21-meter deep lake is a natural phenomenon. There are two layers of water above one another here, each with a different composition. The lower layer is free of oxygen but rich in dissolved salts, while the upper layer is rich in oxygen but poor in mineral salts. Phototrophic bacteria develop between the layers, giving the water a reddish tinge. They also form a biological filter that prevents the layers from mixing.

As you continue descending to Lake Ritom, the marmots whistle and the sound of the Murinascia Grande waterfall roars in your ears. Follow the lake shore through the lovely forest of larches and Swiss stone pines to reach the dam. Since its height was increased in 1953, it allows the use of 49 million m3 of water. This is enough for an average annual production of 150 million kWh. In other words: enough power for 10,000 goods trains to run from Bellinzona to Arth-Goldau. From the lake, there is a steep downhill hike to Altanca, and then you mostly walk along the road used by cars. At about the midway point of the descent, you cross the Ritom funicular: with a maximum gradient of 87.8%, this is one of the world's steepest funiculars. Now it is not far to Airolo, the destination of this long and physically demanding stage.
Ascent to Passo del Sole, the rock changes from sediment to granite. The Val Piora is one of the largest and most peaceful high plateaux in the Swiss Alps. On foot or with one of the world’s steepest funiculars down to the Leventina.
Acquacalda is located on the southern side of the Lucomagno Pass in the Blenio Valley. The landscape around the Lucomagno is protected on account of its geological and botanical riches. This makes the tiny village a perfect setting for the Pro Natura Centre. You will immediately notice the diversity of the scenery: after crossing the Brenno stream, the path plunges into a magical forest of mountain pines, larches and Swiss stone pines, with various wetlands. After a broad stretch of meadowland comes the climb through the Rondadöira area to the Passo del Sole (2,375 m.a.s.l.) As you descend, you have superb views of the Piora Valley. Just like the Lucomagno Pass, this valley is famed for its abundance of flora. This is because of the various types of rock that are present here. Crystalline rocks alternate with dolomites containing calcium carbonate.

In about one and a half hours, you reach Capanna Cadagno (hut), a little way above the idyllic lake and its waterfall. The unusual stratification of the 21-meter deep lake is a natural phenomenon. There are two layers of water above one another here, each with a different composition. The lower layer is free of oxygen but rich in dissolved salts, while the upper layer is rich in oxygen but poor in mineral salts. Phototrophic bacteria develop between the layers, giving the water a reddish tinge. They also form a biological filter that prevents the layers from mixing.

As you continue descending to Lake Ritom, the marmots whistle and the sound of the Murinascia Grande waterfall roars in your ears. Follow the lake shore through the lovely forest of larches and Swiss stone pines to reach the dam. Since its height was increased in 1953, it allows the use of 49 million m3 of water. This is enough for an average annual production of 150 million kWh. In other words: enough power for 10,000 goods trains to run from Bellinzona to Arth-Goldau. From the lake, there is a steep downhill hike to Altanca, and then you mostly walk along the road used by cars. At about the midway point of the descent, you cross the Ritom funicular: with a maximum gradient of 87.8%, this is one of the world's steepest funiculars. Now it is not far to Airolo, the destination of this long and physically demanding stage.
26 km
1000 m | 1650 m
8 h 00 min
medium (mountain hiking trail) | difficult

Arrival | return travel

Arrival / return travel Acquacalda
SBB Timetable Show stop and route on map

Season

Season
Beware: snowfields possible into summer months on high-level sections.

More …

Hint
Rail/bus/boat: long section, please note cableway / postbus recommendation No. 393 Piora–Airolo.
Ascent Ritom
393
Ascent Ritom
Rail, bus, boat recommendation
Airolo, Stazione–Piora via Piotta Centrale FPR
or
Piora–Airolo, Stazione via Piotta Centrale FPR
Reason: metres in height saved approx. 780m.
SBB Timetable

Arrival | return travel

Arrival / return travel Airolo
SBB Timetable Show stop and route on map

Contact

Signpost management
Signposting is managed by the cantonal hiking trail organisation on behalf of the canton. Lend a hand by becoming a member in your canton.
Become a member
Ticino Sentieri
Via A. Giovannini 3
6710 Biasca
info@ticinosentieri.ch
www.ticinosentieri.ch

Services

Accommodation

Capanna Cadagno
Capanna Cadagno
Quinto
Capanna Föisc
Capanna Föisc
Quinto
Motel Gottardo Sud
Motel Gottardo Sud
Piotta
Rifugio Lago Ritom – Berghaus
Rifugio Lago Ritom – Berghaus
Piora (Ritom)
B&B Gottardo
B&B Gottardo
Airolo
B&B Motta
B&B Motta
Airolo
Hotel Forni
Hotel Forni
Airolo
Show all

Bookable offers

6 Alpine Passes Trail: Olivone - Ulrichen
6 Alpine Passes Trail: Olivone - Ulrichen
Show all

Places

Acquacalda
Acquacalda
Airolo
Airolo
Show all

Places of interest

The Lukmanier Pass
The Lukmanier Pass
Natural trail Lago Ritom
Natural trail Lago Ritom
Ritom funicular
Ritom funicular
Airolo, Ressiga–Madrano
Airolo, Ressiga–Madrano
Cheese factory Gottardo
Cheese factory Gottardo
Show all

Signalization

Signalization
For hiking, follow the logo indicated on the yellow signposts. Take a printout of our web map on your hike for safety's sake.
Signalization