Our run of the month ends with an idyllic swimming spot in the turquoise pools of the Valle Verzasca in Ticino Switzerland. The end destination is sublimely beautiful, but the technical trail that winds through the woods up the valley is spectacular as well, especially when it crosses through villages such as Corippo. Enjoy the unique architectures of these small quiet villages with stone-slated roofs. The long and narrow terracing in the front and backs of houses are supported by dry-laid walls and stone architecture.
The singletrack, shaded trail runs for 14.5 miles up the valley, but the popular swimming pools (and bridge jump) are found at Lavertezzo 6 miles in. Check out the route on FATMAP.
The best part? you can reach the start of the run and return anywhere from the valley by free public transportation. All tourists to Ticino Switzerland can receive a Ticino Ticket, which gives you discounts and free public transit on local trains and buses!
Travel: What's it like to stay at an Italian Rifugio in the Dolomites?
Picture this: you're several miles into a trail run in the Dolomite mountains. Other than a few sheep, a marmot, and a trekker here and there, it's just the sound of your feet on the trail. As you climb up towards 10,000 feet, views unfold of neighboring valleys, the famous Marmolada, and the Cinque Torri. You reach the summit, and instead of snapping a photo and heading back down, you sit down at a sun deck and order a beer or cappuccino with an insalata mista or pasta or pastry. After reuniting with your luggage that's been transported for a shower and sauna, you're free to enjoy the sun, passing storms, and sunset from comfort and warmth of the rifugio.
We love rifugio life in the Dolomites precisely for this reason. But what is it like to stay in a rifugio? We've included some tips for what to expect for first-timers below.
Prepare to eat well! The meals at rifugios are often multi-course with plenty of food. Expect a starter, such as pasta or dumplings, a main which is often some sort of meat and side or vegetables, potatoes, or grains (or cheesy polenta for vegetarians), and dessert. The breakfasts in the morning are just as filling! Expect espresso, coffee, tea, pastries, muesli, granola, eggs, meats, cheeses, breads, and more.
Prepare to share space with others. It's a remote mountain lodge, after all! Part of the charm of rifugio life is the communal nature of meals and sleeping quarters. Dormitory rooms and shared bathrooms are the norm. Some rifugios are more rustic than others, so do your research or be prepared for a variety of rifugio experiences (we curate special rifugios for our Dolomites Runcation). For those wanting more space with private rooms and ensuite bathrooms, it might be a better option to stay in larger hotels in the towns and do day trips.
Respect the resources! Most of the supplies have to reach the rifugios through a combination of helicopters, chair lifts, and mules. As always, don't waste water!
Recommended items to bring: currency, a towel, and a sleeping liner. With food and bedding taken care of, you don't need to bring much! We recommend currency for easy purchases of a glass of wine or apple strudel. While there is warm bedding, we recommend a lightweight sleeping bag liner as well.
Take lots of pictures and enjoy the experience! It's not often that you get to spend evenings and mornings in such remote and beautiful places with a full restaurant and hot showers. Enjoy it!
We just got back from a weekend of running in the Sierra where we overlapped with the Tahoe 200 Endurance Run, where participants have 100 hours to run the Tahoe Rim Trail circling Lake Tahoe. That's 205 miles with 40,200 feet of ascent and 40,200 feet of descent! If you haven't watched the video of UTMB-winner Courtney Dauwalter's 2018 Tahoe 200 race where she finished 1st overall, we highly recommend checking out this short Salomon release or the longer documentary.
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