Highlights and tour details
This itinerary is only feasible by mountain bikes, climbing the Valle Antigorio Formazza through residential areas and near the main road (SS659). The numerous accommodation and dining options along the valley allow you to choose the length of the stages depending on your level of preparation.
The route begins at the parking lot near the freeway exit for Crevoladossola and Montecrestese. The car park can be reached from Domodossola following the route "By bike between the rivers".
Following the arrows of Via del Gries (trail code G00a) take the nature trail of Lago Tana along the embankment until arriving under the elevated highway, turn slightly right and then take the flat asphalted road to Roledo. Before the uphill to the houses of Roledo, a dirt road detaches to the left and passes under the viaduct of the highway to the bridge over the Toce that leads to the Frazione Canova di Oira. Following the signs for Arzaloo - Pontemaglio it goes back under the highway (a short steep downhill section) and goes along the Toce River along the path up to the characteristic and imposing Pontemaglio stone bridge.
Go through the village downhill towards the road bridge and just before the bridge turn right and follow the dirt track with some ups and downs running parallel to the river. After a while the track becomes narrower until it turns into a path that runs along the river to the hamlet of Gianzana. From here continue on a paved road but always staying on the left bank until the village Alpiano Viceno. Following the directions of Via del Gries, go through the hamlet and go downhill to cross the river Toce on the iron bridge.
Immediately after the bridge, follow the trail on the embankment that goes around the Terme di Crodo park and the Veglia Devero Park Visitor Center. At the end of the park, following the directions for Via del Gries (trail sign G00), its best to take the state road for a short distance and then turn left going towards the center of Crodo. Alternatively it is possible to continue along the path of the embankment which then enters a small wood, crossing the T. Alfenza (ford) and continues through meadows until intersecting the asphalt road just before the road bridge over the Toce of the road to Maglioggio.
From the center of Crodo instead continue by passing in front of the agricultural school and then go downhill to take the road to Maglioggio which you follow up to the junction for Maglioggio. Turn left and continue along a flat pleasant road of the plains which crosses beautiful meadows to the old ENEL power plant of Verampio where you cross the Toce River over the bridge arriving at the Trattoria della Campagna. From Verampio, following the signs for Orridi di Uriezzo, take the dirt track that first crosses the Torrero Devero ford and then gradually climbs uphill.
First you reach the Maiesso Bridge with the beautiful ‘potholes of the giants’ hollowed out of the white rock and continue on the track (do not cross the bridge) until you reach the mouth of the Orrido Sud, there are deep rock engravings which can be visited by metal ladders. After the visit to the ravine, continue along the trail to the ‘Oratorio di Santa Lucia’ where the road is once again asphalted. Follow the road up to Balmafredda with an impressive gorge carved into the rock, which is also equipped for rock- climbing. At the junction for Crego continue to Premia until the road intersects the main road to Formazza.
Follow the road downhill for 150 meters (pay attention to traffic!) and near a chapel (Cappella dal Self) take the steep mule-track that descends until you cross the River Toce and then goes even steeper uphill to the Cagiogno. This stretch is not suitable for cycling. Alternatively, to avoid carrying the bike you can continue on the main road up to Piedilago and take the asphalted road to Cagiogno. From Cagiogno stay on the asphalted road up to just before the bridge over the river Toce, turn right and follow the hiking trail arrows with trail sign G00, taking a trail that skirts along the artificial lake of Piedilago. From the end of the lake you return and continue along the flat asphalted road passing below the hamlet of Cristo and go along the river. Further on, the track changes into a dirtroad and becomes beautiful among well-kept meadows until you reach the bridge right in front of the Terme di Premia. Instead of going towards the bridge follow the signs of the Via del Gries and continue along the meadows along the Toce for a long flat stretch until you get to Casa Cini. After crossing the hamlet, continue on the cattle track that runs along the river until it intersects a quarry trail.
Cross the Toce river at the ford (in case of water use the bridge at Case Cini) and arrive on the main road up to Chioso. Just after the village, opposite the starting point of the Alpe Vova trail, turn right and take a quarry trail that crosses the Toce and then continues until reaching the quarry area (warning ; this is a is a private road with vehicles in maneuver!). The track continues until you get back on the main road at the road bridge. If you want to avoid this stretch on private roads, from Chioso continue straight along the main road, passing Foppiano and arriving at the road bridge where the quarry track ends. From there you continue along the main road but instead of entering the tunnel take the right and follow the old hairpin bends of the Casse which is now no longer used by cars until you reach the village Fondovalle. Cross the bridge over the Toce and take the farm road, a long flat road up the valley on the left bank (follow the signs Via Gries) leading up to Valdo. Crossing over the Toce again and go uphill in the direction of the departure of the chair lift but just before arriving, continue straight up to the Centrale ENEL di Ponte. From here starts an uphill climb on a wide trail which above Brendo becomes a trail that continues up to the height of Grovella. The trail becomes steeper from this point and to get to Canza you have to go up a ridge, (the Cree)which is not cycable.
Once you get to Canza, do not cross the river but continue along a trail which runs along the river, after a while it becomes steeper and non-cycable going further uphill until you reach Sottofrua. From here you can continue straight on a wide path that leads to the bridge right to the foot of the beautiful Cascata del Toce. Or you can immediately cross the wooden bridge and enter the main road with the artificial tunnel up to the top of the waterfall. We advise against the climb from the trail that runs along the waterfall: it is very steep, stepped, not ridable, sometimes exposed and very popular with walkers. Once you reach the top of the waterfall, continue until you reach Riale following the asphalted road or the old mule track (trail sign G00). On reaching Centro del Fondo di Riale cross over the Toce river on the bridge and follow the entire road of the Passo San Giacomo, built in the 20s to service the construction of the Toggia and Castel dams. It is a true masterpiece, with slight slope and hairpin bends with perfect contours. At the end of the uphill section is the Rifugio Maria Luisa, thus Diga del Lago Toggia. From here the road continues straight to a very tenuous slope along the whole lake. Ignoring the junction for Alpe Regina continue straight until arriving at the Passo San Giacomo where you can see the underlying Valle Bedretto.
From the pass it is possible to descend into Val Bedretto to Airolo along the route "Strada degli Alpi", promoted by Ticino Turismo, which reaches the Alps of Formazzora, Valleggia, Folera, Stabiello, Cristallina and Pescium.
NOLEGGIO BICI – Bicycle rentals
Centro Fondo Riale c/o Albergo Aalts Dorf
Loc. Riale - 28863 Formazza VB
Tel. 0324 634355
Terme Premia s.r.l.
Località Cadarese n. 46 28866 Premia (VB)
Tel. +39 0324 617210
Loc. Valdo – 28863 Formazza VB
Tel. mob. +39 333 9168986
Points of interest
For descriptive reasons we have divided the route from Crevoladossola to Passo San Giacomo into three separate excursions:
Crevoladossola Lake Tana - Premia
Difference in altitude: 600 m uphill, 125 m downhill
Maximum altitude reached: 780 m above sea level (Premia)
Length: 18.0 km (one way)
Note: you cycle the hairpin bends of the Casse which, with the opening of the Fondovalle tunnel, are almost never travelled by car
Points of interest: Natural area of Lake Tana, stone architecture in Oira and Pontemaglio, Visitor Center of the Veglia Devero Park in Crodo, ‘Marmitte dei giganti’ of Maiesso, Orridi di Uriezzo
Premia - Bridge (Formazza)
Difference in altitude: 600 m uphill, 85 m downhill
Maximum altitude reached: 1286 m above sea level (Bridge)
Length: 18.0 km (one way)
Points of interest: Traditional stone architecture, Terme di Premia, Walser culture in Formazza, Casa Forte di Ponte
Bridge (Formazza) - San Giacomo Pass
Difference in altitude: 1060 m uphill, 35 m downhill
Maximum altitude reached: 2313 m above sea level (Passo San Giacomo)
Length: 16.2 km (one way)
Points of interest: Toce Waterfall, Walser Culture in Formazza, Casa Forte di Ponte, Val Formazza Lakes
Departure, arrival and municipalities crossed
Pay attention to the traffic conditions on the state/provincial road. Pay attention to the unpaved road at high altitude, which can only be partially cycled.