A challenging day of hiking from Rifugio Prarayer, beside the turquoise Lago de Place Moulin, over two mountain passes at 3075 m and 2445 m before descending to Perreres to catch the bus to Breuil-Cervinia or walking all the way into Breuil-Cervinia town at the base of the Matterhorn.
Leave the comfort of Rifugio Prarayer behind and ascend the forested slopes into the rocky pass leading to the Col di Valcournera at 3075m. This mountain pass is not on any of the other trails, which adds to its wild and moody atmosphere. A steep scree descent brings you to Rifugio Peruccah Vuillermoz. From here the terrain brightens up and waterfalls and lakes dot the surrounding landscape. Make a short, and comparatively easy, ascent to the Finestra di Cignana at 2445 m, the second and final col of the day. Soon after the col, on the descent the Matterhorn makes a reappearance. Descend on a forest path to the valley floor and catch a bus to Breuil-Cervinia from Perreres, or follow the river the entire way into the town.
This is a very rewarding hike, although challenging, so make sure to take lots of breaks for photographing your surrounds.
Today’s walk reaches a high point of 3075 m so we advise that you don’t do the route after snow as this will make the high pass difficult to cross. In the early season (end of June early July) at Col Valcournera where the ground is steep on either side it could retain winter snow – this will likely be soft and easy to cross if you are used to the terrain. If the snow patches are unavoidable or hard (i.e. requiring winter equipment; ice axes and crampons) we advise that you do not do the route if you don’t have the relevant experience or equipment. Retrace your steps to the Rifugio and take a taxi/bus to Aosta and then to Breuil Cervinia.
There some sections of path with metal steps coming out of the rocky outcrop, with supporting rope handrails, and areas of the trail with steep drop offs. Make use of these when you can, and if they are secure.
This is a serious mountain hike including altitudes just over 3000 m so please bring appropriate clothing – even if it’s a sunny morning the weather can change to rain or thunderstorms in the afternoon. Bring plenty of food and water (at least 2 litres) for the day’s walk, along with waterproofs, warm layers and comfortable sturdy walking boots/shoes. You may also wish to bring poles to help with balance, and the ascents and descents.
Points of Interest
The refuge was built in 1990 to and named to commemorate Piergiorgio e Corrado who fell to his death with 4 friends from the Liskamm mountain in September of 1985. The refuge is cared for by the family who live there and given its remote location is supplied with fresh produce by helicopter - you'll walk passed the helipad on this route.
Bus from Perreres to Breuil-Cervinia
At the end of today’s walk you have the option of taking the bus from the roadside in the small village of Perrere about 15 km along the trail (please see the timetable link below). Alternatively, you can walk another 4 km into Breuil-Cervinia, this is relatively flat after a small initial ascent.
Food & Drink
There is nowhere to get food along the trail so ask for a sandwich/packed lunch at the Rifugio and supplement with snacks from behind the bar. The Rifuggio Perucca is encountered along the route but isn’t always able to provide lunches for passing hikers. Take plenty of water (at least 2 litres) and food for the day to see you down into Breuil-Cervinia where there are plenty of restaurants and cafes, and shops to buy food.
This tour is available on the following itineraries: WSTOTM, WSTOTMS