Starting point: Argegno
Travel time: 4 1 /2 / 5 hours
Highest altitude: 1,575m
Difficulty level: hard
No cyclist who wants to explore Lake Como can do without a ride to Monte di Tremezzo. Just pick a nice day and enjoy the awe-inspiring, one of a kind landscape of the lakes and mountains of the area. The downhill itinerary described here is certainly a valid alternative to the more traditional routes – with few offroad sections – that can be enjoyed in the area. Although this itinerary is not suitable for everyone, particularly those who are afraid of heights, it is never dangerous.
Our itinerary begins in Argegno, in the spacious parking lot in front of the church and the small portico. Leave the parking lot and turn right onto State Road Regina. Keep going until you reach the cableway station that takes you to Pigra. Take the cableway to avoid the 640 m incline as well as various km of paved road. Once you have comfortably reached Pigra (860 m), cross the piazza and turn left towards the outskirts of the town. Here, instead of starting to make your way downhill, turn right onto the paved road that will be your companion up until the highest point of the itinerary. Alpe di Colonno (1,322 m) is just a comfortable, 4.7 km ride away. Then, keep going downhill towards the Boffalora Alpine refuge (1,252 m) and enjoy your first, wonderful views of the western Alps and Bergamo Alps from here. Now, start climbing again towards the Venini Alpine refuge, which is located at an altitude of 1,576 m (ignore the deviations), and keep going down the last 5 km. You can take a break here, before the long trip back down. This itinerary combines a truly unique landscape that features the lakes and rocky peaks of Tremezzo with a challenging and highly satisfactory route. However, it is not suitable for everyone. The first section then continues on a false level dirt road until it takes you to the trenches of the Cadorna Line. From here, continue on your right and make your way slightly downhill on the former military road – which has become a path – that circles around Monte di Tremezzo (1,700 m). The very steep meadows on you right will give you the feeling of cycling over a “drop”. Keep going towards Monte Crocione (1,641 m), “overhanging” the lake. At the end of this first leg (you will have travelled 3 km), follow the trails down the grassy slope on the right, taking their hairpin bends. With a little bit of skill, you will be able to remain on your bike. Now, make your way into the woods as the trail becomes less arduous, even if it may at times be interrupted by plants that may have fallen on the path. A few other tight hairpin bends will take you to a point at an altitude of 1,100 m, where you will have to push your bike over a gravel trail for a brief section. Make your way down on your right, keep going through a dark gallery (you can see from one end to the other), and come out on the other side. You will find yourself in a wild, rocky gorge with a strikingly beautiful, rugged landscape. The path which follows can be travelled by bike - even if it is challenging at times - and will take you to a series of meadows and Alpine houses, where it meets Via dei Monti Lariani. Here, you will find a dirt road which circles around one of the Alpine farmhouses, before becoming paved and continuing through a series of very tight hairpin bends. Once you have reached the end, keep going on the main trail until you find yourself near Bocchetta di Nava (848 m). At this point, you can continue towards Bocchetta and make your way comfortably down to the hamlet of Croce Sopra Menaggio. However, we also have a more technically challenging suggestion: cycling down on the technical trail on the right towards GrianteRogaro. Keep going until you reach a hummock with a panoramic view of both towns.
At this point, take a right, while still on the technical trail. Follow the trail, remaining on your bike as far as you can since the last section that takes you to a country home cannot be cycled. At this point, get back on your bike and take the mule track. One last effort will get you to the town of Cardano (481 m). Instead of taking the paved road, take the old cobbled road with its entertaining steps towards Volesio. From there, you will soon reach a new paved road and the banks of the river. Turn here to return to Argegno, cycling the last 9.3 km of the route along the banks of the lake.
Alternative routes: alternatively, you can change the return leg of the itinerary from the Venini Alpine refuge to the Boffalora Alpine refuge. One hundred meters before this spot, turn right on the paved road and carry on until you reach Ponna (870 m), Laino (676 m) and the uphill climb to San Fedele d’Intelvi (750 m), to finish up in Argegno.