Some parts of today’s trail and rocky and loose, so take care where you are placing your feet and don’t rush, enjoy the views! Take a picnic, as there are many scenic spots to sit and eat.
No specialist equipment is required for this walk, but sturdy footwear is recommended for negotiating the rocky path (it would be easy to turn an ankle on the descent route) and walking poles to aid balance.
Points of Interest
Lago di Loie
The blue waters of the Lago di Loie nestle in a corrie (glacial basin) overlooked by the grey peaks of Punta de Loie. The name, also spelt Loye, comes from “lex” a word used locally to refer to the large slabs of rock used for roofing houses. This style of roofing is to be found through the Aosta area. The banks of the Lago di Loie are covered in beautiful alpine flowers: purple asters and black vanilla orchids. Look out for the frogs (red and green) that live in the lake and if you are early/late in the day, you may also see chamois close to the lake shore.
As the path descends into the Vallon de Bardoney, be sure to keep a look out amongst the rocks for marmots. Marmots (Marmota Marmota) are a member of the squirrel family. They measure 50-60cm in length, with a furry tail about 15cm long. Weighing 3-6 kg, they are sturdy creatures and have very dense brown-grey fur. Ground-dwellers, they have forelegs that are perfectly adapted to digging holes. The young are born in June and July and after just 40 days they leave the den to become self-sufficient. Marmots hibernate through the winter in their burrows. Their preferred habitat are sunny Alpine slopes covered in grass, rock and boulders. Marmots are very social animals, and as they are not overly shy you are very likely to seem them on this walk and in other parts of the Gran Paradiso National Park. Listen for the distinctive chirping and whistling sounds from rocky outcrops.
Alta Via 2
After descending from the Vallon de Bardoney, you will join the Alta Via 2 trail for the return leg of the walk to Lillaz. The AV2 is a long-distance route that crosses the rugged southern part of the Aosta Valley and the Gran Paradiso National Park. The Aosta Valley runs from Mt Blanc in the west to Aosta in the east, and the Gran Paradiso national park sits south of the main valley. Heading due south from the main valley a succession of ravine-like valleys (including Valsavarenche and the Cogne Valley) bisect the Gran Paradiso National Park and the AV2 route traverses the mountainous areas and the valleys. Usually walked in 12 – 14 days, the full route passes through the heart of the area with Mt Blanc (Monte Bianco to the Italians) at the finale. Macs Adventure offers the best section, starting in Cogne and finishing in Courmayeur.
Food & Drink
After leaving Lillaz, there are no places to buy food or drinks (and no places to fill water bottles) so be sure to take supplies with you. There are plenty of great picnic spots on the route today; choose a panoramic viewpoint or a flower-strewn seat beside the Lago de Loie or the Urtier River