Alto Tanaro Tour, stage 7: from Colle di Nava to Rifugio Pian dell'Arma
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Alto Tanaro Tour, stage 7: from Colle di Nava to Rifugio Pian dell'Arma

7. Alto Tanaro Tour, stage 7: from Colle di Nava to Rifugio Pian dell'Arma

Archeology and history
Architecture
Fauna
Flora
Geology
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Roads, tracks, mule tracks and some stretches on paths, a part the many junctions, almost all well signed, this stage is not complicated, be prepared for a number of unforgiving undulations, often with considerable gradients both rising and falling.
A short walk in Liguria. This could be the title of this stage, not because it is geographically accurate (the route crosses the border to and fro) but for the landscape, long stretches on ridges overlooking rounded hills covered with dense woodland that fade down to the sea.

1 point of interest
Mountain pass

Migration over the Bocchino di Semola

Migratory birds make long journeys between nesting sites and wintering sites. Many migratories reach Europe from Africa in March, some using the position of the sun and the mountain ranges as a reference (diurnal migration), and some the moon and stars (nocturnal migration). The return journey takes place in the months of September and October. The Bocchino di Semola is an important passage in the migratory routes that cross the border between Liguria and Piedmont.
[On-site information panel, text by Fabiano Sartirana]

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Description

At the bottom of the Forte Centrale car park at Colle di Nava (939 m), take the small tarmac road that passes alongside the sports facilities.
At the first fork keep to the left, a little further on at the second, take a surfaced road to the right that goes up to a riding school. Continue to the right on a path that climbs into the woods and comes out onto the asphalt road to the Colla San Bernardo.
Go right until the first hairpin bend, where you take the dirt road that goes straight ahead. The ascent through the woods is long and with moderate gradients: when you reach the second clearing take a path that in a few minutes takes you onto Monte Ariolo (1221 m, 1:15 hours from the Colle di Nava). A short descent leads back to the dirt road, where it ends. Continue east on the ridge, first rising and falling, then descending steeply to the Bocchino di Semola (1102 m, 0.20 mins from Monte Ariolo). Ignoring the roads that cross the pass, stay on the ridge path.
The path rises fairly steeply up to the nearby peak of Bric Castagnino (1215 m), then descends to the pass below and resumes the tiring climb up to the next high point. Pick up a grassy track here: following it to the right you arrive at the Passo di Prale (1267 m approximately, 0:55 mins from the Bocchino di Semolina).
Once again you ignore the various dirt roads that converge here and stay on the path, climbing to the nearby tarmac road to the Colle di Caprauna.
Cross it and take the path that enters the larch wood. Just above you find the asphalt road again, which you follow to the left until after a hairpin, where you take the path on the left. The path leads onto a dirt track and goes left. At this point there are two junctions close to each other: at the first go to the right, at the second turn left.
A sort of mule-track rises steeply and joins the easier grassy mule track coming from Colle di Caprauna. Follow it to the left to a nearby junction, where you turn right. After a short descent the mule track narrows to a path and, ignoring various branches off to the side, you come to the back of the Pian dell'Arma Refuge (1339 m, 0:45 mins from the Passo di Prale).

At the bottom of the Forte Centrale car park at Colle di Nava (939 m), take the small tarmac road that passes alongside the sports facilities.
At the first fork keep to the left, a little further on at the second, take a surfaced road to the right that goes up to a riding school. Continue to the right on a path that climbs into the woods and comes out onto the asphalt road to the Colla San Bernardo.
Go right until the first hairpin bend, where you take the dirt road that goes straight ahead. The ascent through the woods is long and with moderate gradients: when you reach the second clearing take a path that in a few minutes takes you onto Monte Ariolo (1221 m, 1:15 hours from the Colle di Nava). A short descent leads back to the dirt road, where it ends. Continue east on the ridge, first rising and falling, then descending steeply to the Bocchino di Semola (1102 m, 0.20 mins from Monte Ariolo). Ignoring the roads that cross the pass, stay on the ridge path.
The path rises fairly steeply up to the nearby peak of Bric Castagnino (1215 m), then descends to the pass below and resumes the tiring climb up to the next high point. Pick up a grassy track here: following it to the right you arrive at the Passo di Prale (1267 m approximately, 0:55 mins from the Bocchino di Semolina).
Once again you ignore the various dirt roads that converge here and stay on the path, climbing to the nearby tarmac road to the Colle di Caprauna.
Cross it and take the path that enters the larch wood. Just above you find the asphalt road again, which you follow to the left until after a hairpin, where you take the path on the left. The path leads onto a dirt track and goes left. At this point there are two junctions close to each other: at the first go to the right, at the second turn left.
A sort of mule-track rises steeply and joins the easier grassy mule track coming from Colle di Caprauna. Follow it to the left to a nearby junction, where you turn right. After a short descent the mule track narrows to a path and, ignoring various branches off to the side, you come to the back of the Pian dell'Arma Refuge (1339 m, 0:45 mins from the Passo di Prale).

Departure : Colle di Nava (939 m)
Arrival : Rifugio Pian dell'Arma (1339 m)
Towns crossed : Ormea

Altimetric profile


Access and parking

From Ceva go up the Tanaro valley, passing Garessio and Ormea, following signs for Imperia to Colle de Nava. There is ample parking just before the pass, by the Forte Centrale.

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