Explore the Ligurian Apennines with snowshoes

In the heart of winter, in Liguria, the snowy blanket typically covers the highest areas of the Apennines; for those who love hiking, don’t miss the opportunity to take a pleasant snowshoe hike.

So, let’s go! With the proper equipment and clothing, off we go to the Val d’Aveto, where you can reach the highest altitudes in the Genoese region to the part where a ski resort has been operating since 2008.

Just a few steps and you’re walking on the snow, perhaps following a cross-country ski trail (be careful not to damage the tracks!). The environment is that of the silent and unspoiled Apennine beech forest: the light filtering through the bare trees, the traces of animals, and the chilly temperatures that are no less than those in the Alpine valleys.

It’s undoubtedly an escape from the cities: the Apennines in winter are quiet and the snow blankets the surrounding environment. Only our footsteps and our breath dominate our thoughts. If we’re lucky enough to go on the hike right after a snowfall, then it’s the snow on the trees, especially the spruces, just like in a Christmas postcard from Alpine resorts, that captures our attention.

Following the ridges, occasionally, a treeless clearing gives us a view towards the Val di Taro and towards S. Stefano d’Aveto and its hamlets. Those who wish, making the necessary considerations about visibility conditions, can reach the summits that emerge from the wooded areas, such as the peak of Monte Aiona. The summit area consists of an extensive plateau along which you must not lose your orientation but which offers us a vast panorama: behind us, the imposing mass of Monte Penna, one of the most frequented peaks in Liguria and another possible destination with snowshoes and then the Alps, the surrounding Apennine peaks, from Monte Antola to Monte Gottero, and, quite visible and bright… the sea!

The Apennine environment, rich in forests, meadows, and moderately sloping slopes, is particularly suitable for snowshoe hikes: the Alta Val d’Aveto stands out precisely for its extensive forested areas, thus combining suitable weather and a “playground.” There are two areas that offer the best routes: the mountains above S. Stefano d’Aveto, where, in addition to the previously mentioned ski resort (two chairlifts can facilitate reaching the higher altitudes; www.montebue.com), the Prato della Cipolla and Monte Bue lodges are useful points of support for hikers and skiers, and the Monte PennaMonte Aiona ridge, in the territory of the Aveto Regional Nature Park.

The asphalt road that branches off to the right in the locality of Gramizza along SP 586, which, from the Riviera di Levante, enters the Val d’Aveto after passing the Forcella Pass (875m), takes us to the slopes of Monte Penna (1735m). In winter, from the parking lot at the end of the access road, you can follow various snow-covered trails. From here, you can also start for Monte Aiona (1701m). Accessibility is guaranteed, as the road leads to a small refreshment point and the starting point for some cross-country skiing trails.