Discovering new paths to explore and refuges to reach, we came across this loop tour in the Brescia area, starting from Val Malga, at the foot of Mount Adamello.
The start of the paths is at the parking lot of the bridge of Guat, that can be reached by car in a couple of hours from Milan with the Brebemi, following the eastern shore of the lake Iseo and then the course of the river Oglio.
At the center of Val Camonica, more precisely in Sonico, we take the road to Val Malga, a narrow asphalted forestry road that takes us quickly up to more than 1500 m with some passages at the edge of the mountain.
Alternatively, for those who do not feel safe to drive on mountain roads, we suggest to have a look at the initiative “In the heart of the Park without car“, which proposes a shuttle service operating especially during the “hot” periods, that is when the number of visitors is higher (July-August).
The route we followed is about 15 km long with an elevation gain of 1125 m. The first part is very challenging: after parking, with a short dirt road we reach Rifugio Premassone, the first of the four that we will meet on the way, excellent refreshment point with the sale of cheese and yogurt production.
We decide, however, to keep it good for the end of our tour, instead we follow the signs in the direction of Rifugio Gnutti.
Now comes the most amusing part: after a ramp on cobblestones, we climb for about 500 m of difference in height on the Miller stairs, a series of stone steps – very well maintained – that bring us to the height of the Miller valley.
Here the scenery opens up with stunning views of the area’s mountain ranges.
The environment is warm and comfortable: studded with photographs, newspaper clippings and memorabilia that explain who was the Second Lieutenant Serafino Gnutti (gold medal)
and tell us about sporting feats of the past, such as the record on the Adamello high route set by Dino Melzani in 2009 (48 km in 6 hours and 58 minutes).
We turn the building around and head west following the signs for Lake Baitone.
The path is well maintained with many illustrative panels at regular intervals on the salient facts of the Great War. At the end of this stretch we find ourselves at the Passo del Gatto, an evocative passage carved into the rock, which takes us to the Conca del Baitone.
In the distance we can already see Rifugio Baitone, with its characteristic red-rimmed windows.
At the refuge, we can’t help but take some pictures of the lake with the same name and, undecided if we should have lunch here or go on, we opt to go even higher, following the eastern shore of Baitone Lake until Tonolini Refuge.
Leaving the lake behind us, the last kilometer gets pretty rough, with the trail climbing between rocks.
At the refuge, from which you can enjoy a breathtaking view, we are lucky to happen at the right time. In fact we find some local producers of Silter DOP cheese, wines and salami from Valcamonica who offer us a taste. After this mini aperitif, we continued with an excellent lunch based on typical mountain dishes. Refreshed, we set off towards home, closing our ring. We descend in the basin and we follow the western shore of Baitone Lake, without going back on our steps, also because doing the Miller stairs in the opposite direction doesn’t seem a great idea! The path here becomes monotonous and crosses some woods up to Baitoncello, unfortunately closed, and then rejoins the initial path near Rifugio Premassone. A few hundred meters more and we are back to the bridge of Guat, where we can take the car.
Trail Type: dirt road and mountain trail
Water: at the shelters we will meet along the way