On the top of Monte Baldo
Walking time 4 hours
Grade: medium, but with a difficult final section
Highest altitude: cima Valdritta 2.218m (7.275 feet)
Lowest altitude: tratto Spin 1.750m (5.740 feet)
From Malcesine take the cable car to Tratto Spino – on the Monte Baldo ridge at 1.750 metres (5.740 feet) – a journey of about 15 minutes which saves several hours of climbing. From the top station – where there are hotels and restaurants – there is a tremendous panorama across the lake and towards the high peaks of the Adamello and the Brenta, as well as of the local tops of MOnte Baldo itself. Looking down to Malcesine the range of vegetation is remarkable. At the lakeside are olive trees, looking like a real section of wood from here. Then comes natural woodland, firstly dark firs, then beech and spurce, all intermingled with alp (pasture) dotted with alpine huts.
Close to the top station are the ski-lifts of Garda’s foremost winter sport area. Go south along the ridge between these, the path passing through flourishing rhododendron bushes and soon reaching the first bare rocks. The first top, Cima delle Pozzette (2.132 metres – 6.993 feet) is reached after about one hour’s walking. This is the north top of Monte Baldo that, from the lakeside, dominates the farmland of Artillone and the Val Angual. It is a good viewpoint: to the north is Altissimo, the extreme end of Baldo chain, the rocky terrace of corna Piana and Brentonico Valley.
Continue along the ridge, passing Cima del Longino (2.180 mtres – 7.150 feet) and Cima di Val Finestra (2.079 metres – 6.819 feet). Ahead now the ridge path goes to the left (east) of the highest point, though the top itself can be reached on a short, but tricky path. Be cautious here, going no further than you feel is safe. Remember that you will have to come back. The compensation is, of course, standing on cima Valdritta, at 2.218 metres (7275 feet) the highest point on the Monte Baldo ridge. The final section of the ridge path towards cima Valdritta, and especially the more sheltered hill sections to the side of the ridge, are carpeted with alpine flowers in Spring and Summer. Here too the lucky walker may see an asp viper. Be cautious if you do: these snakes are a really lucky find and you will be pleased to have seen one, but they are dangerous and should not be approached.
From cima Valdritta the ridge can be followed southward, but the going becomes increasingly difficult. Monte Maggiore, the next big peak, is not at all easy to reach, the extension to it requiring time, as well as some climbing experience.
To return to Malces, reverse the route to the top station or, for a more active variation, take the path that goes down the Val Bona (that is, westward) from the col beyond (that is, to the north of) cima elle Pozzette. The path here extends the view by offering one across the face of the Monte Baldo hig peaks, and creosses more flower- laden ground. It goes steeply down to reach the forest station at the Col di Piombi (at 1.158 metres – 3.798 feet) close to excellent forests of spruce and pale fir. From the Col a mule track leads to the intermediate station of the funivia.