Yay, hike number eleven! This one was on my wish list for a long time. Although we have already been to Lago Ritom area a few times we have never reached the region from the east. This time our plan was to hike up to Passo delle Colombe from Alpe Casaccia and then head down to Lago Ritom. This T2 route is a little over 15 km long with about 850 m of total elevation gain.
Route: Alpe Casaccia 1809 m – Passo delle Colombe 2381 m – Lago Cadagno 1921 m – Lago Ritom 1860 m – Piora 1851 m – Stazione Piora 1794 m
Access to starting point: bus 131 from Biasca train station to Olivone, then bus 136 to Alpe Casaccia
Access to end point: funicular to Piotta, then bus 117 to Airolo train station or bus 191 to Faido train station.
At first it seemed that getting to the place by public transportation could be tricky, but everything goes smooth and around 10:15 am we arrive at Alpe Casccia. The weather looks like it might play along and despite the low clouds summits at the west side of the valley seem fairly clear. The initial climb to the Passo delle Colombe is only 560 meters but at the moment it looks like it’s going to take ages to get up there.
The trail starts right across the road from the Alpe Casaccia bus stop at 1810m. We follow the path toward Lucomagno for a few meters and then turn off to the west and continue on a nearly flat dirt road that leads to a couple of old stone houses in Alpe Gana.
From here our first ascent starts. A steep trail goes first through the forest and then along a grassy hill before we reach the vast meadow – Piano dei Canali at about 2100 m. Here the two impressive mountains Pizzo del Sole and Pizzo Colombe are laid in front of us. It gets surprisingly chilly and blustery. We put our windbreakers on and take a few bites to restore the energy before continuing the climb. Leaving the Piano die Canali behind, we hike up another 200 meters of steep trail to Passo dell Colombe.
We are at the pass by 12:45. Getting up here took a little longer than planned, but well, I did too many stops for making photos. At this vantage we can see the entire Val Piora and Lago Cadagno at it’s west end. What a great view!
The sun comes in and we stop for a lunch break before taking off to the lakes on a very easy gradual downhill path. At about 2250 m elevation the trail splits into two sections contouring the opposite sides of Val Piora and both leading to Lago Cadagno. We turn off to the left thinking that this side of the valley will offer better opportunities for picture taking but after a few meters all of a sudden the trail turns into a gravel road. This upsets me a bit, but the views are great, so I have nothing to complain about.
Just a few meters until you get to Capana Cadagno trail splits again with one section running to the right up towards Passo Forca and Lago Ritom and the another one goes straight to the Capanna and Lago Cadagno. We opt for the later and continue straight on the road. Eventually trail goes off the road and leads down to Lago Ritom. What a joy to be back on trail! After a much-delayed break and a few snacks we walk around the lake towards Piora and arrive at the Piora Funicular station right on time for 17:00 departure.
This was a great hike, very beautiful and not difficult at all. I am really looking forward to exploring other trails in the area and planing at least one backpacking trip up there this summer.