Point of interestVeglia-Devero and high Antrona Valley Natural Park
The Veglia-Devero Natural Park, a complex of high valleys enclosed by the Antigorio, Divedro and Formazza Valleys, is one of the loveliest places in this area and in the whole of the Alps. It has a wealth of fascination and is perfect for hikers who want to experience Alpine nature at its most splendid.
Veglia (4,120 hectares) and Devero (6,674 hectares) are both wide glacial cirques surrounded by the peaks of the Lepontine Alps, in particular Monte Leone (3,355 m). Both areas have characteristic high mountain scenery, with woods of larch, mountain pine and Norway spruce growing to an altitude of over 2,000 m. The forest floor is thickly carpeted with rhododendrons and blueberries.
Invariably present in the landscape are the extensive cattle pastures (grazed mostly by Alpine Brown cows) of the ancient rural civilization. The whole area is rich in streams, rivers and Alpine tarns. Bird and animal life abounds: you can hear the whistles of marmots (and may be lucky enough to see some) and see a Golden Eagle wheeling in the sky, and you may catch a glimpse of ibex, chamois, mountain hares, stoats, badgers and squirrels. The rare black grouse is found all over the area, as is the rock ptarmigan, the common frog and the Alpine newt.
There is a vast network of marked trails, including straightforward hiking trails and others aimed at expert climbers. Three nature trails have been laid out in Alpe Veglia and one in the protected zone of Devero; these are easy paths punctuated by observation areas with illustrated panels giving information about the environment and its geology, morphology, flora and fauna.
In 2010 also the high Antrona Valley became a regional protected area as a result of the creation of the namesake High Antrona Valley Natural Park: the area of the park extends from the Village of Antrona Schieranco to that of Viganella, between 500 meters above sea level (valley bottom) and the 3,656 meters on the Pizzo Andolla in the high Val Loranco.
First the galcier and then the water have shaped the fascinating morphology of the valley: the deep gorge through which the river Ovesca flows, but also the sweet and green flanks dotted with villages. Moraines, erratic rocks, striations on the bare sheepbacks are other traces of the work of ancient glaciers now almost completely extinct.
The lakes (natural circus, bordered by moraine deposits) and artificial (reservoirs for hydroelectric power) adorn the rustic beauty of the place. Of great importance is the natural basin of Lake Antrona, originated by landslide activity in 1642, one of the few natural barrage lakes of the Alps.
Remarkable is the presence of gold and iron in the subsoil of the Valley: known as the "valley of iron," Antrona Valley is dotted with iron veins - mostly concentrated in the mountain of Ogaggia - so that its mines have contributed, in the nineteenth century, to give life to the iron center of Villadossola.
The varied topography of the area allows you to make countless trips, with trails for every type of taste, need and preparation, from the almost level path to the alpine climb. Of particular beauty is the promenade that runs along the 18 natural lakes at high altitude (2.000 m) and the expanses of crushed rocks that surround them.
Since September 2013 the Veglia Devero and High Antrona Valley Park has been awarded with the ETSC (European Charter for Sustainable Tourism) and with the EMAS environmental Certification.
How to get there
A8 toll motorway from Milan and A26 toll motorway from Turin and Genoa going in the direction of Gravellona Toce. Then take the Ossola clearway from Gravellona Toce to Sempione
Alpe Veglia: from May to October
Devero: all the year
Antrona Valley: all the year