This Grand Paradiso area was originally the private
hunting reserve of the ruling "House of Savoy". In 1856
King Vittorio Emmanuel 2 declared part of the hunting grounds
as a protected area, so helping to save the ibex which is such
an important animal for the park, and for Italians. About 3,000
of these powerful mountain goats now live in the Park.
Today the park covers 173,000 acres of mountains, lakes, forests
and meadows. Because it was originally a hunting reserve it is the
old 450 miles of trails and mule tracks that form the backbone of
the paths we are able to use today for our hiking and walking holiday.
The walking is graded "B+" and we will
always introduce minor variations that take full account of your
own wishes and personal objectives. We'll walk for an average of
5-6 hours a day with height gains of up to 1,000m (3,300ft). But
we will also (included in the price) make maximum use of lift systems,
where they exist, to avoid those long descents which can be hard
on the knees.
We provide (and you carry !) wonderful big lunches each day:
a range of local meats and cheese, trail bars, fruit and nuts.
Vegetarians are welcome, just let us know in advance.
Hotel breakfast is a continental
breakfast and we'll eat out at night in different local restaurants
to sample the wide range of both local and national Italian cuisine,
and the wine.
| your detailed
||Arrive midday at Geneva Airport, Switzerland.
Transfer to your hotel (3hrs). Sightseeing in this wonderful
mountain village followed by a visit to Valnontey botanical
garden. An evening briefing with wine and traditional food.
From the village of Lillaz at 1,617m (5,305ft) we hike up through
larch forest and rhododendrons to the alpine pasture of Bardoney
(2,232m, 7,323ft) and return by Lake di Loie (2,354m, 7,723ft).
We'll use our hotel's sauna
and swimming pool to ease
those stiff muscles at the end of the first day's hiking ! (6hrs
Col Tsa-Sèche: From the road-head at Gimillan
(1,787m, 5,863ft) we hike up to the Col Tsa-Sèche (2,820m,
9,252ft) with stunning views of the Swiss and Italian Alps,
across to the Matterhorn and Monta Rosa. Descend to Epinel (7hrs
Montzeuc: Walk from
our hotel at 1,534m (5,032ft) to the top of Montzeuc (2,333m,
7,654ft) and a great view of all the Gran Paradiso mountains.
We return by cable car (6 hrs walking).
or a "rest day"
with shopping and icecream in the old Roman city of Aosta,
white-water rafting (afternoon) and wine tasting in the local
Vittorio Sella hut: Our 2-day expedition starts from
our hotel. We walk up through meadows to the Vittorio Sella
mountain hut (2,584m, 8,478ft) to eat a delicious mountain meal,
and spend the night . From the hut, during our afternoon stroll,
we'll photograph Marmots, Ibex and (perhaps) Chamois. (3 hrs
||The Valnontey valley:
From the hut we walk past lakes and traverse past Mt Erban (3,004m,
9,855ft) on a stunning high-level traverse of the whole Valnontey
valley. Then we descend to our hotel for hot showers and a celebratory
meal (6hrs walking).
||Last minute shopping before the late morning transfer
to Geneva airport.
for background information on this wonderful backpacking region of
This wild remote region is in the north-west
corner of Italy, to the east of the busier and better-known
It is easily accessible. The
main motorway from Turin Airport passes Aosta on its way to the
Mt Blanc tunnel and Chamonix, France.
The National Parks of the Gran Paradiso
(in Italy) and the Vanoise (in France) are linked, providing
a huge wildlife paradise.