Take the asphalt road towards "Colle" passing next to the hospital and a restaurant bar but, just after a few steps, keep right, passing next to the fence of the hospital structure up to a barrier (signs say "Gallerie Monte Morissolo 0h45"). After the barrier, continue on a pleasant and large military mule track that goes uphill though it seems to be almost flat and leads towards Mount Morissolo passing, initially, through a beautiful beech wood.
Attention: the road is very wide but without protection, and since the beech grove is on an accentuated slope, be sure to keep an eye on lively little walkers.
The path is easy, because the wide mule track slopes gently (ignore all junctions that you meet leading away from the trail) passing from the pleasant beech grove to wide openings with spectacular views of Lake Maggiore, until you get to a small hill where there is a pool of water (not fit for drinking). Just beyond the pool, you will see a small rock station, but to see the interesting part, you must follow the road on the right that still continues flat for a short stretch, passes a bottleneck between the rocks and leads to the first of the tunnels. From this point, you will pass through tunnels dug into the rock alternated with open balconies on the lake, all with gates that must be carefully closed after passing through, to prevent them from becoming shelter for numerous goats that graze in this area. The third tunnel in which you enter is the end, and it winds like a labyrinth with different branches, but have no fear: all of the tracks lead to rooms (the cannon rooms) so you cannot get lost. You will not need flash lights or torches, because the lighting system allows you to visit the station safely, and even if the light should go out suddenly (this is a timed system), you only need a smart phone to light your way to one of the numerous switches.
The so-called "Cadorna Line" was a system of fortifications built along the northern border during the First World War (1915-18). It was never used, also because neighbouring Switzerland remained neutral, but it was built in the event of an attack by the Austro-Hungarian Empire through Swiss territory. This stretch of Mount Morissolo covered the Lombard shore of Lake Maggiore up to Locarno, and its cannons would have been able to launch heavy projectiles weighing 80 kg as far as 14 km.
The first tunnel on the right leads to a gate that, if you open it and go through, you will come out towards the lake. A steep stairway leads easily to an observatory situated in a panoramic position, with numerous slits to cover the territory more effectively.
Note: pay attention to where you put your feet inside of the observatory, which is not cleaned everyday...
Along this stairway, you will notice an arrow with the word "vetta" indicating a trail shortly before the observatory: this trail leads to the summit of Morissolo, but we do not recommend this track there are some exposed passages. You can reach the summit on an easier trail. After visiting the stations in the tunnel, back to the hill where you the fountain is located. From here you can climb to the summit of Morissolo on a steep trail (sign for "Monte Morissolo cima 0h15").
Warning: this trail has difficult steep stretches because of the numerous roots and the slippery sandy terrain. We advise you to undertake with it only with children who are skilled at hiking and with good weather.
At the top of the mountain, you will find a bench to enjoy the panorama and two panels that list the names of the peaks and the localities in view. The panorama is really great: stretching from Locarno to almost the entire Lake Maggiore on one side, while on the opposite side, it opens toward the Vigezzo Valley and the peaks of the Val Grande National Park. In this position, there used to be an open space for a small cannon that complemented the guns placed in batteries in the rock. A little further down, you will find a sub peak with three metal crosses (steep narrow trail). When you go to the usual hill, it is time to start the rest of the path that winds along a wonderful beech grove, shady and cool, the perfect place to go in the hot season, and a wonder for the eyes during the autumn.
Note: the tour proposed is circular, and comprises a stretch of about 2.5 km of asphalt road. If you do not intend to use that road, it is better to go back on the road you took at the start.
From the hill, now take the path (sign for "Colle 0h45") which runs flat a bit more to the right of the military road. The beautiful trail winds flat for a bit and then descends a little, and then climbs while always remaining inside the thick beech grove until you reach Colle (1238 m - fountain).
At Colle, you are at the edge of the Val Grande National Park and from here, there is a path that leads to Mount Spalavera (1534 m), along another portion of the Cadorna Line with some of the trenches.
From this point, follow the asphalt road towards the right. It is very scenic, and you will come back to your starting point (watch for cars).
Book recommendations for this region:
Basic Equipment for Hiking
- Sturdy, comfortable and waterproof hiking boots or approach shoes
- Layered, moisture wicking clothing
- Hiking socks
- Rucksack (with rain cover)
- Protection against sun, rain and wind (hat, sunscreen, water- and windproof jacket and suitable legwear)
- Hiking poles
- Ample supply of drinking water and snacks
- First aid kit
- Kit para bolhas
- Bivy / survival bag
- Survival blanket
- Pocket knife
- Cell phone
- Navigation equipment / map and compass
- Emergency contact details
- The 'basic' and 'technical' equipment lists are generated based on the selected activity. They are not exhaustive and only serve as suggestions for what you should consider packing.
- For your safety, you should carefully read all instructions on how to properly use and maintain your equipment.
- Please ensure that the equipment you bring complies with local laws and does not include restricted items.