The last stage will take you back down to the valley floor in permanently inhabited territories, towards Baceno with its many hamlets, and Crodo with its mineral springs and the Veglia-Devero Nature Park visitors’ centre. It is an easy walk along comfortable trails. In the vicinity of villages you will find a new habitat: chestnut woods. For centuries, the chestnut was the main sustenance of Alpine and Apennine populations.
Leave the Alpe Devero by the Ponti, where the Buscagna and La Rossa creeks flow into the Devero stream. By the parking lot at the edge of the village follow the signs to Goglio. At first you will follow a flat trail to Forcola (1628 m). A scenic mule track starts at the edge of the slope and winds all the way down to Goglio (1110 m). The old cable car station to Devero and a partisan fighters memorial bear testimony to the Resistance against Nazism and fascism and the self-proclaimed Partisan Republic of the Ossola Valley (Autumn 1944).
Walk from Goglio, where the best spruce woods of the whole Antigorio valley can be found, walk downwards on 500 metres of bitumen. To the left is the carriage way to Esigo. After a couple of kilometres through the woods you will get to the Esigo clearing, with biodiversity-rich mown meadows and the traditional stone cottages. Before the big bend the trail to Osso branches off. By the big cross you will have a scenic view of the Antigorio valley; the trail leads down to Osso, through chestnut, with many hairpin bends.
Stay on the right bank of the Devero stream, pass by Croveo – where you can pay a short visit to the local church – and reach Baceno (684 m) through beech, chestnut and sparse clearings. The church in Baceno is an imposing building built on a rock and dedicated to San Gaudenzio. It is a national landmark. Visit the church with a dramatic fresco depicting Saint Christopher. The old mule track to the church’s left leads down to Verampio. Halfway down a sign points to the Uriezzo gorges, that are definitely worth a detour. The gorges were excavated by a glacial stream during the Ice Ages. Verampio is particularly interesting to geologists: here the “layer zero” of the Alps can be found, the Verampio gneiss. If you are interested in studying this mineral element double-back for a couple of hundred metres along the Verampio road where you will be able to study the rock from a little footbridge or in the smooth outcroppings. The road leads directly to the electrical plant on the Toce’s left bank. Cross the stream, walk by a villa, and cross the plant’s outflow. Do not continue on the road and choose to follow the unmarked trail on the duct’s left bank instead. The track gets better rapidly as it crosses a shrub area. The duct falls into the Toce widening into an artificial basin surrounded by reed beds. The electrical plant, without a dam, is located at the far end of the basin. Cross the main road and enter the elongated village. Find the main road again at the far end of the village. The Veglia-Devero Nature Park’s visitors centre is located at the opposite side, by the Parco delle Terme’s entrance. The centre houses a permanent exhibition (with information, among other things, on the black grouse habitat) and two museums, on minerals and mineral water, respectively.
Trail description: Andreas Weissen
Landscape, NATURA2000, protected areas
Landscape and nature
Mostly the trail runs through wooded areas; spruce, fir, beech, and chestnut. In Forcola and by Esigo two scenic points exist with wide views of the Valle Antigorio. Around the settlements are biodiversity-rich mown meadows, the most attractive being near Esigo.
Protected areas, proposed Emerald sites, Natura 2000sites
• Alpe Veglia e Devero Nature Park
• Alpi Veglia e Devero - Monte Giove, Natura 2000 site
Wildlife, Natura2000 species / along the trail
Birds: Dryocopus martius (ca), Cinclus cinclus (ca / S)
Other species of interest
Cypripedium calceolus (RL CH / § / S), Lilium bulbiferum (RL CH / §), Paradisea liliastrum (RL CH / §),
Tulipa australis (RL CH / §), Lilium martagon (RL CH / §), Saxifraga cotyledon (RL CH), Orchis ustulata (RL CH / §), Danthus carthusianorum (ca), Epilobium angustifolium (ca)
RL CH: Switzerland’s Red List of threatened species
§: Species enjoying national protection
E: Endemic species
ca: Typical species
Wildlife, Natura2000 species (not necessarily on the trail)
Insects and crustaceans: Erebia christi, Euphydryas aurinia, Parnassius apollo, Parnassius mnemosyne, Maculinea arion.
Birds: Aquila chrysaetos, Falco peregrinus, Bonasa bonasia, Lagopus mutus helveticus, Tetrao tetrix tetrix, Alectoris graeca saxatilis, Bubo bubo, Glaucidium passerinum, Aegolius funereus, Dryocopus martius, Lanius collurio, Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax. Pernis apivorus, Milvus migrans, Milvus milvus, Gypaetus barbatus, Circus aeruginosus, Circus cyaneus, Circus pygargus, Tringa glareola, Alcedo atthis, Lullula arborea, Anthus campestris, Emberiza hortulana.
Mammals: Lynx lynx, Plecotus auritus
More information on plants and animals
Habitats in the area: beech, chestnut, mown meadows, extensive pastures, rich meadows and hay fields, woods, riverine flora, spruce.
”Alpe Veglia e Alpe Devero: conservation of high mountain meadows and bogs”, Dr. Nat. Paolo Pirocchi, Dr. Nat. Giovanna Ianner, Parco Naturale Alpe Veglia e Alpe Devero, 2003.
WWF’s tips for hikers
Plan each stage carefully, purchase a 1:25000 map, use light but sturdy equipment (hiking boots, rain cape, binoculars…). Be sure to carry a small supply of water and food. We suggest you taste local food (possibly organic) at resting places and restaurants.
Do not litter, do not pick up flowers or rocks and in no way disturb the local fauna. It is unsafe for inexperienced hikers to leave the marked trails and it may cause disturbance to wildlife.
History and culture
Old people still speak “Walser Titsch” (Walser German); for everyday use however Italian predominates.
Stage before: Emerald Trail Wallis-Piedmont: Stage 9