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Explore the Gran Paradiso region with a Cicerone guidebook

Cover of Gran Paradiso
Available as eBook
11 Jun 2013
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.6cm
1st Published
11 Mar 2008
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Gran Paradiso

The Alta Via 2 Trek and Day Walks

by Gillian Price
Book published by Cicerone Press

This guidebook describes 28 day walks in the Gran Paradiso national park in the Italian Alps south of Mont Blanc, and the 12-day Alta Via 2 trek. The Alta Via trek covers over 140km of rugged mountains and valleys between Chardonnay to Courmayeur. The walks vary from 2 to 33km and range from easy paths to routes for the experienced alpine walker.

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A guidebook to walking in the the Gran Paradiso national park, Italy, describing the 12-stage Alta Via 2 trek, and a range of 28 walks that range from 2 to 33km, as well a suggestions for combining routes into long-distance hikes. The Gran Paradiso sits in the Valle d'Aosta, in northwestern Italy, a region of grand mountains and rugged desolate valleys, verging on pristine wilderness. Views of Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn ranges can be seen from the many passes and lookouts visited during this guide.

The Alta Via 2 is a superb long-distance trek that leads over 140km from Chardonnay to Courmayeur, passing through the region and beneath the foot of Mont Blanc. The routes is described in 12 stages that are split equally between high altitude huts and valley hotels to suit everyone. The day stages in the 12-day Alta Via 2 route vary in length from 5.8 to 18.4km and in total the route covers an ascent of 9420m and a descent of 9639m.

Despite its attractions, the park is relatively undiscovered. Walkers can often enjoy unforgettable days on excellent trails through spectacular valleys all to themselves, even at the height of the summer season. The itineraries explore highlights and special places to whet walking appetites. With a map and a sense of adventure, you will be able to concoct scores of other delightful walks. 

The guidebook also provides plenty of practical information on getting to and around the Gran Paradiso, as well as advice on accommodation, language, equipment, planning and how to make the most out of any adventure in one of Italy's most spectacular National Parks. A wealth of detail on points of interest walkers can explore, as well as information on wildlife, history, geology and flowers is also included.

  • Seasons
    May to October (high altitude refuges open late June to late September). Accommodation busiest in August.
  • Centres
    Tiny Valnontey, Valsavarenche, Eaux Rousses, Rhêmes-Notre-Dame, Valgrisenche, La Thuile, Ronco Canavese, Ceresole Reale
  • Difficulty
    All routes graded: from paths suitable for all to routes requiring alpine experience, with steep and/or exposed sections. 12-day Alta Via 2 is strenuous but suitable for experienced walkers.
  • Must See
    The walking is wonderful and the alpine wildlife and flowers amongst the best anywhere.

October 2016

AV2 Stage 6 + Walk 14: a new refuge opened in 2016 - Rifugio delle Marmotte (tel 389 3488785 sleeps 12, open mid-June to mid-Sept is at Alpage di Entrelor (2143m). The old farm buildings have been beautifully renovated by volunteers who also run the refuge and proceeds go to the Operazione Mato Grosso project in South America.

May 2016

Thanks to Jim Krupp:
p45 line 5: Walk 13 should be Walk 12
p52 Rifugio Peradze web site is

September 2015

p90 there is a new accommodation structure near Lago Combal.
Cabane du Combal, open June-Sept, sleeps 23 in 3-4 bed rooms with bed linen and en suites. tel 0165 1756421 or mob 339 6938817  email

Thanks to Lennart Agestam

July 2015

Alta Via 2, Stage 10 p80:
Promoud: the bivouac hut is still closed.
B&B La Haut is now called Dortoir Paradis (phone and other details unchanged)

Stages 9 & 10:
p79 + 83 the paths below Col de la Crosatie and leading up to Haut Pas have been improved with steps.

Walks 15 & 17:
p160, 168, 172 Rif Benevolo now has hot showers
(Thanks to Nigel Jones and Wendy Owen)

August 2014

Thanks to Mark Peryer:
p52 Rifugio Peradza is open
p80 the bivacco at Promoud is currently closed to avalanche damage

September 2013

Alta Via 2, Stage 2: Rifugio Péradzà is currently closed, so plan on either staying at Rifugio Miserin or continuing down to Lillaz or Cogne for accommodation.

August 2012

Alta Via 2
Stages 5: there is cable on exposed sections en route to Col Lauson
Stage 9: The path has been improved on north side Col Crosatie with cable
and slab steps.
The bivouac hut at Promoud was reportedly closed.

August 2010

A 2-stage extension was recently added to AV2 (to link it with AV1) so walkers can now begin the trail at Donnas, near Hone-Bard. This link leads to the relevant info for Stages 13 + 14. Note also the new AV2 routing in Valgrisenche Stage 5.

p50: Rifugio Miserin is under new management tel: (mob) 340 9014630 open June to Sept

January 2010

p73: The path after Praz-Londzet was reportedly closed in summer 2009 and AV2 re-routed towards the valley, passing close to the football stadium on the edge of Valgrisenche. Clear waymarking leads through to Frassy whence Revers.

October 2009

p76: Hotel Paramont web site has been changed to:

September 2008

p160, 164 & 172: The telephone number of Rifugio Benevolo has changed to 0165 936143


The Gran Paradiso National Park
Valleys and Bases
When to Go
How to Use this Book
Path Marking
Dos and Don'ts
Mountaineering and Guides
What to Take
Local Traditions
Further Suggestions
Alta Via 2
Stage 1 Chardonney to Rifugio Dondena
Stage 2 Rifugio Dondena to Rifugio Péradzà
Stage 3 Rifugio Péradzà to Cogne
Stage 4 Cogne to Rifugio Vittorio Sella
Stage 5 Rifugio Vittorio Sella to Eaux Rousses
Stage 6 Eaux Rousses to Rhêmes-Notre-Dame
Stage 7 Rhêmes-Notre-Dame to Rifugio Chalet de l'Epée
Stage 8 Rifugio Chalet de l'Epée to Planaval
Stage 9 Planaval to Promoud
Stage 10 Promoud to La Thuile
Stage 11 La Thuile to Rifugio Elisabetta Soldini
Stage 12 Rifugio Elisabetta Soldini to Courmayeur
1 The Lillaz Waterfalls
2 Lago di Loie
3 The Money Glacier Terrace
4 The Casolari dell'Herbetet Traverse
5 Punta Pousset – the local ‘Gornergrat’
6 Beneath the Grivola
7 Passo d'Invergneux and the Mines Circuit
8 Laghi di Lussert
9 Pondel's Roman Bridge
10 The 2205m Mont Blanc
11 At the Foot of the Gran Paradiso
12 Over Gran Collet to Col del Nivolet
13 The King's Path in Valle delle Meyes
14 Vallon di Sort
15 Col Rosset
16 Punta Basei
17 Becca della Traversière
18 Legendary San Grato
19 Becca dei Quattro Denti
20 The Royal Track to Ceresole Reale
21 Sentiero Glaciologico Lago Serrù
22 Beneath the Tre Levanne
23 The Villages of Valle dell'Orco
24 Beyond the Dam in Vallone di Piantonetto
25 Nivolastro to Andorina
26 Frescoes and Fridges en route to Bivacco Davito
27 Sanctuary of San Besso
28 Col Larissa
Appendix 1 Italian-English Glossary
Appendix 2 Route Summary Table
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