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Aosta Valley offers numerous possibilities for mountain trekking and climbing, from scaling the highest peaks of the Alps, to multiday trekking journeys and finally simply hiking through the magnificent landscapes of the Alps. The next few paragraphs lists the trails that we think are the most beautiful in the Pila basin and also a few ideas a little further away.

San Grato - This short and easy hike takes you to the beautiful San Grato Chapel along a comfortable flat trail through the middle of the forests of Pila. After around 20 minutes of walking in the shade, you arrive at the small white church, in the middle of a quiet and peaceful clearing with a unique panorama. This hike is appropriate for hikers of all levels and ideal for small children with a bicycle or in a stroller.

Lakes of Chamolé and Arbolle - The lake of Chamolé (2325 meters) is without a doubt one of the most well known and appreciated destinations within the Pila Basin, with its crystal blue waters that reflect the glaciers of the mountain “ Grand Combin”, the presence of trout, frogs and tadpoles, enough space for playing or sun bathing, the general peacefulness, the beautiful view of the whole Alpine chain and the ease of access make it an ideal place for families with children or also for hikers of all levels. You can reach the lake by foot from the center of Pila within 1 hour and 30 minutes or also within around 10 minutes from the top of the Chamolé ski lift. From the Chamolé lake, by foot, you can reach the Arbolle lake (2497 meters) within around 1 hour, in the middle of an attractive high mountain valley. A mountain refuge of the same name is located on the shores of this lake, and serves as an ideal starting point for climbing the Mount Emilius. For those who wish to continue further on, there is another lake called “ lago delle capre”(2695 meters) and is located along the gentle winding path leading to the Mount Emilius, around 40 minutes walk from the Arbolle refuge.

Valley of Comboè - A big green soft rolling mountain valley situated at the foot of the mount “ Becca di Nona”, surrounded by forest and steep mountain terrain, split by a mountain stream and not accessible by car. In my opinion this is without a doubt the most beautiful and attractive hike in the Pila basin. You can reach the valley after around a 2 hour walk from Pila via the pass called “ Col Fenetre”or, for less trained hikers, you can also reach it via the Chamolé lake. A nice circuit starting and ending in Pila, for those able to walk a little longer, would be to the following route: Chamolé lake, Arbolle lake, descend down the valley of Comboè (N.B. the descent is rather steep) and then return to Pila via the “ Col Fenetre”.

Punta della Pierre “ La Pera” - La Punta della Pierre (2653 meters) offers one of the most expansive panoramic views of Aosta Valley, extending 360° across the top of the highest mountains in Europe and presenting a striking view of the Mount Grivola. In the winter, it is one of the destinations most appreciated by Alpine skiers, but “ La Pera”is also a beautiful hike in the summer. It is recommended for well trained hikers. Once you arrive at the peak, it is also possible to reach the nearby peak of the “ Drinc”via the trail along the crest.

Becca di Nona - Beautiful and relatively easy ascent to the top of this peak at 3142 meters, the mountain that majestically reigns over the city of Aosta. The round trip takes around 6-7 hours and the trail and peak offer a wonderful panoramic view of the central valley of Aosta, the Mount Blanc and the north-west crest of the Mount Emilius. Starting from Pila, you reach the Comboè valley at the foot of the Becca di Nona, and from there you begin the long ascent to the peak along the barren slant of the Becca. For the descent, you could also include a visit to the “ bivacco Federigo”and the Carrel pass and then continue back down to the Comboè valley.

Laures lakes - The three Laures lakes (between 2546 and 2787 meters) are located in a spectacular basin at the foot of the Mount Emilius, totally silent and wild. They can be reached from the village of Grand Brissogne via a difficult and steep climb of 4-5 hours through forest and waterfalls. Near the lowest lake of the three, which is also the deepest lake in the region, is the Menabreaz refuge, a well equipped private structure open to the public. Absolutely beautiful and off the beaten path, this is a hike not to miss.

Mount Emilius - Mount Emilius dominates the south side of the city of Aosta and is the “ mountain in your backyard”for the people of Aosta. As a hiking destination, it is also considered by locals as a “ must”. At a height of 3559 meters, the peak of Mount Emilius offers a magnificent 360° panorama of all the principal mountain peaks of the “ Graie”and “ Pennine”Alpine range and also the lakes of Laures. The classic trail, which is rather long and demanding, departs from Pila, passes the lakes of Chamolé, Arbolle and Capre, and then follows a gentle path along the “ lago gelato”. Then, continuing, the path takes you to the final demanding ascent of a gigantic pile of rocks, passing the “ colle dei cappuccini”and ultimately arriving at the peak of Emilius. The return route can be the same as the ascent, or once arriving at the Arbolle refuge, you could pass by the Comboè Valley (in my opinion, it is more interesting, but also longer). Taking into consideration the duration of the hike (8-10 hours), it is a good idea to make a reservation for an overnight stay at the Arbolle refuge.

Via ferrata del Monte Emilius - Recently, a new mountaineering trail has been built to reach the peak of Emilius via the bivacco Federigo, at 2900 meters. It is a trail that has been developed for expert mountain climbers, arduous and long with numerous passages across the mountain crests. It is recommended only for well trained expert mountain climbers. However, it is a very attractive trail with spectacular passages, gorgeous views and a beautiful Tibetan bridge. Given the strenuous long steep ascent, it is recommended to stay overnight at the Arbolle refuge or the Bivacco Federigo. (link to the ferrata brochure).

Falesia di arrampicata - In the vicinity of the Arbolle refuge, a cliff has been equipped for rock climbing, with climbing routes for levels 5a to 6b.

Mount Avic Natural Park - The Mount Avic Natural Park was created in October 1989 in the area of the elevated river valley of Chalamy, an area with few inhabitants, characterized by more than 30 mountain lakes, and a rich and abundant variety of flora and fauna. Among the various possible trekking routes around the park, I recommend the long and beautiful Tour of the Lakes, with an overnight stay in the Barbustel refuge (make sure to reserve in advance). Additional information about the park and hiking trails can be found at the excellent internet site. Mount Avic Natural Park website.

San Grato
Chamolé Lake
Comboè Valley (from Arbolle pass)
Lake and Arbolle refuge
Laures lake
Laures lake

Mountain Biking

Over that last years, Pila has become an avant garde location for mountain biking, whether it be with cross country riding trails or with free ride and downhill riding tracks.

For those who have a passion for downhill and free ride, just near the Chamolé chair lift, the Bike Stadium offers 4 permanent trails on primarily natural ground and an overall descent of almost 600 meters. The trails have varying degrees of difficulty and are adapted to free riders of all levels: two short very difficult trails have been created to professional bikers. Additionally, it’s possible to descend all the way to the city of Aosta, along the trail “ Pila – Aosta”, a trail that is of medium difficulty, around 8 km long and descends 1200 meters, making the total descent around 1800 meters.

Beginners of MBK have the Bike Park at their disposal and is consists of 2 zones, one equipped with a cross and the other with wooden platforms in a small thicket. There is a safe and comfortable moving belt that takes bikers back to the top of the trails.

For those who have a passion for cross country, there is an extensive network of trails leading through the mountain pastures and prairies. In total there are 12 different routes for a total of 185 km of downhill trails, located between 600 and 2300 meters of altitude. The length of the 12 routes varies between 5 and 28 kilometers and represent a difference in altitude of between 500 and 1200 meters. Link to the map For those however, who prefer routes that are a little more flat, we can highly recommend the dedicated bike trail along the river Dora Baltea flowing through the bottom of the central valley of Aosta. From Aosta, you can ride all the way to the village of Fenis in the direction of Piedmont and all the way to the village of Sarre in the other direction of the Mount Blanc. It is an easy path made of cement and/or dirt trails and definitely appropriate for children. An easy point of access (also with a large parking lot) is via the large park in Pollein, at Les Iles.

Other Activities

Not far away from the center of Pila, there is an adventure park "Parco Avventura" for children that allows children and adults to practice their mountaineering skills by moving through a series of suspended activities and obstacle courses through netting in the trees, across a Tibetan bridge, up a suspended staircase and across tree trunks, all with designed safety features included. This obstacle course allows families to familiarize themselves with using mountain climbing ropes and snap links, and to learn the basic maneuvers and safety rules for mountaineering. There are 4 obstacle courses of differing level of difficulty and are adapted even for the smallest children (visit the “ Parco Avventura”website).

An ideal place for children and adults who wish to observe live wild animals most representative of Aosta Valley, the Introd Animal Park "Parc Animalier di Introd" offers a great place to spend the day in contact with nature. The path through the park takes around one hour by foot and is appropriate also for small children, allowing them to see up close live Ibex, chamois, wild boar, deer, hare, marmots and a number of predatory fish and birds. There is also an area within the park equipped with tables and a play area for children where families can enjoy a pick-nick. For additional information, please visit the website: visit the “ Parc Animalier di Introd”website.

Aosta Valley is also an ideal place for white water rafting, along the river Dora Baltea between Courmayeur and Saint Vincent. This exciting sport offers the possibility to explore places that are otherwise inaccessible, including magnificent gorges, white water rapids and luxuriant vegetation in an uncontaminated atmosphere at the foot of the Alps. For those who are interested, the Centro avventure H2O and the Raftingadventure organize rafting, kayaking, hydro speed and canyoning excursions in Aosta Valley.

Hot Air Ballooning - Aosta Valley is a natural and ideal place...for those who are interesting in trying the exhilarating experience of a silent and safe flight and to observe the highest peaks of Europe from a totally unique point of view, reaching altitudes of 2000-3000 meters! (Club Aérostatique Mont Blanc).

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