Starting point: Como - Brunate
Ending point: Bellagio
Travel time: 5 hours and an half
Highest altitude: 1,481m
Difficulty level: Epic
The most classic and renown route of the area, it takes you from Como to Bellagio riding along the mountain crest of the Larian Triangle. A transfer to Como will be necessary to begin, unless you’re already staying in the city. We suggest avoiding the first part climb out of Como as it’s entirely on asphalt, and instead taking the cable car up to start! Along this route, we suggest at least one pit stop at one of the many mountain shelters (‘rifugi’) to enjoy a nice hot meal and wonderful scenery. A guide is highly recommended for safety reasons and to facilitate your navigation.
This trail runs along the ridge dividing the two branches of the Lario, cutting through beechwood forests and fields, gifting travellers with breathtaking views of the provinces of Lecco and Como. It ends with an enjoyable downhill ride down to Bellagio, a world-renowned tourist destination.
Your starting point on this route is the cable railway station (660 m) connecting Como to Brunate. The paved road begins with an uphill climb, passes the Volta lighthouse and, after the parking lot – near the C.A.O. cabin (958 m) becomes unpaved. At this point the steepness of the slopes diminishes, with the exception of a few cement-paved parts. Keep riding following the directions for Monte Boletto. After passing the Bondella Alpine refuge (1,070 m) and the Fabrizio refuge (1,150 m) you will come to a very steep ramp. This first part of the road is unpaved and will take you down the south side of the Pizzo Tre Termini, offering you a glimpse of the beautiful views stretching beyond Milan. On passing the San Pietro cabin (1,129 m) the path moves onto the north side of the Monte Boletto, giving you a view of the Lario and the Tincino Alps. The singletrack here is narrow, but beautiful and highly enjoyable, which is why it is also very popular with trekkers, so please take care. At the end of this path – known as the Faggi path – you will find the Bocchetta di Lemna ( 1,169 m). Five minutes away on the opposite side you will also find the Capanna Mara Alpine refuge (1,134 m). From Bocchetta keep riding towards Monte Palanzone, where, after a series of rather steep uphill climbs, you will reach the Riella Alpine refuge (1,124 m) and – if you carry on climbing a bit longer – Braga di Cavallo ( 1,340 m). Here the trail begins sloping steeply downhill and will take you to the Stoppani cabin near the Colma di Sormano (1,124 m). After passing this, the trail continues - alternating uphill and downhill climbs – in the direction of Monte San Primo, and up to Colma del Bosco (1,235 m) where the unpaved road becomes very steep. After a series of sharp hairpin bends you will reach Terra Biotta (1,418 m). The breathtaking view from this point spans the entire ridge until Bellagio and the southern branch of the Lario. Continue riding along unpaved road until you reach path no. 1. Once there, leave the path, turning left in the direction of Monte San Primo and cycle down the ridge from Monte Ponciv to Monte San Primo. You will find a paved road after passing the parking lot for the San Primo ski resorts (1,150 m). Follow this road until its first hairpin bend, then turn left onto the unpaved road leading to the Martina Alpine refuge. On passing the Bonomelli (1,102 m) farm, keep riding until you reach the barrier blocking your passage.
Turn right at this point onto trail number one (not very visible). Follow the trail on your left. Once past the house, you will encounter a highly enjoyable single-track. Once you have left the woods, take the paved downhill road leading the farmhouse (signposted). The trail will once again become unpaved at this point. Turn left onto an initially straight road, which on entering the woods, will once again slope downhill. After a few metres, turn left again onto a narrow ramp full of stairs which will force you to slowdown in order not to turn over. Continuing downhill you will reach a paved road, the SS 583. In only a few minutes this will take you back to Bellagio city centre (200 m).