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Stura to Tinèe valley traverse
by Mauro Barra
The upper lake at Vens
The upper lake at Vens - photo Mauro Barra

This two-day trek starts off in the Italian Alps and leads across the border into France’s Tinèe valley and the "Chemin de l'Energie".

At 1000m above the valley floor, the 8 km Chemin de l'Energie leads via tunnels and panoramic viewpoints to Rifugio Rabuons. It runs along a series of lakes of naturalistic interest including the lakes Vens, Barbarottes, Petrus and Rabuons which, at 300,000 sqm, is the largest natural basin in the Maritime Alps.

Rifugio Vens
The Chemin de l'Energie was created between the two world wars to channel water from the numerous lakes in the area. It was used to transport materials and should also have been used for a hydroelectric power station. Fortunately this was never built.

The trek there and back is straightforward and can be completed in three days. Otherwise an alternative route through the Tres Puncias pass makes a round trek. This high altitude alternative is for the expert since it may require the use of ice axe, crampons and possibly a rope .

Rifugio Vens, 1st day - photo Mauro Barra

Alternative route
  The trek

Difficulty: Expert

Height gain: day 1 – 930m, day 2 - 400m, day 3 - 400m
Height loss: day 1 - 310m, day 2 - 250m, day 3 - 1150m
Max altitude: 2683 m (Colle Panieris)
Length: 35 km
Duration: day 1 - 4 hours, day 2 – 4hrs 30min, day 3 – 6hrs 30min
Gear: normal hiking gear for the mountains

Getting there: Val Stura is situated close to the Italian/French border slightly over 100km south of Turin, NE Italy. From Turin take the A6 motorway to Fossano, highway SS231 to Cuneo, then SS20 to Borgo S. Dalmazzo followed by SS21 in Valle Stura. Turn left at Pontebernardo for Vallone di Pontebernardo. Park the car after about 5 km at Rifugio Talarico, in Prati del Vallone.

Rifugio Talarico, unattended, keys from Hotel Le Barricate di Pontebernardo (tel. +390 171/96616).
Rifugio di Vens, attended with hotel service in summer (tel. + 33 04 93378834).
Rifugio Rabuons, attended with hotel service in summer (tel. + 33 04 93230411).


1: 25.000 I.G.N (Institut Geographique National) Haute Tinèe 1 foglio 3639 OT;
1: 50.000 I.G.C.(Istituto Geografico Centrale Torino) Valli Grana Maira Stura foglio 8;
1:150.000 Stradale locale . Cuneo carta della Provincia (L.A.C. Firenze).
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