Mountain lake magic and hiking in Val Piora

The impressive alpine landscape is due to its geology and extraordinary mineralogical wealth.  Mountain hikes to the Cadlima hut (overnight stay) and on to the Oberalp Pass, over the Passo dell'Uomo to the Lukmanier Pass or the classic tour over the Passo del Sole to Acquacalda in the Valle Santa Maria (Blenio) are popular with visitors. But the three mountain restaurants with Ticino specialities, a Brasato e Polenta or a piece of Piora cheese, for example, are also well-known. Partly there are also tourist camps here.

Built in 1917 by the SBB for the Ritom reservoir and power station construction project, the small red train has been transporting 100 people per hour to the recreation area around the mountain lakes in Val Piora since 1921. The single-cabin winch lift with a maximum gradient of 87.8% is one of the steepest funiculars in the world open to the public. The valley station is located at Piotta Centrale, next to the airport; bus connection from Airolo. The Ritom Lake is only 20 minutes from the top station on a small road with no great difference in altitude.

In addition to the longer tours mentioned above, circular walks around the lake and, for example, the "culinary three-lakes tour" are highly recommended. One first walks along the northern shore of Lago Ritom and then follows the turnoff towards Lago di Tom. It takes about half an hour uphill until you reach the small lake, which is picturesquely embedded in a valley basin. From the ridge we are rewarded with a fabulous view of Lago Cadagno. Then the hike leads downhill again to Alpe Piora. Here the famous Piora cheese is produced, in the alpine cheese dairy you can buy it, but also fresh butter and curd. A well-deserved break we then take at the Cadagno Hut, which is located a little further up in a prominent position. We return on the opposite "nature trail" to the dam of Lago Ritom with another culinary stop at the mountain house Lago Ritom.

Realised by Roland Baumgartner

Pictures: Switzerland Tourism


In summer post bus from Airolo station to the valley station of the red cable car (Piotta, Funicolare). 800m up with the single-track winch cable car to Piora. Parking spaces at the Ambrì airfield.

Another tip:
Small cable car from Rodi steeply up to the circular Lago Tremorgio, which looks like a volcanic crater - but is not one.