Trekking in Val Brenta, against the backdrop of the Dolomites
Amongst mountain dairies and waterfalls
Val Brenta is one of the access points to the Brenta Dolomites. Although it is less well known, it offers truly spectacular views.
You enter the valley at Sant’Antonio di Mavignola and you must leave your car in a large parking area. The gorge path, which runs along the canyon cut out by the Sarca di Campiglio river flowing down from the Dolomite snowfields, starts here.
In particular, the Sarca di Campiglio river flows here and it will then merge with the Sarca rivers flowing down from the Val Genova and the Val Nambrone, creating the large river which, after its long descent, will feed into Lake Garda and then, changing its name to the river Mincio when exiting the lake, will empty into the Adriatic Sea.
The Sarca carves through this valley, creating waterfalls and pools that are like swimming pools. The water is beautifully clear blue and, if it weren’t for its temperature, it would be lovely to bathe in it. However, it is so cold that it is difficult to stay in it, even only with your bare feet. It takes about half an hour to walk along the canyon path, which is also suitable for children.
On reaching Malga Brenta Bassa, you see the Brenta Dolomites in front of you. From here, the Crozzon peak seems so narrow and high that it looks like another mountain; behind it you see the small snowfield of the highest peak of the Brenta mountain chain: cima Tosa, which, just think, has shrunk a few dozen metres in height because the snow cap that was on its huge, flat peak has melted. Then, turning your gaze to the left, you see all the spires of the Sfulmini chain and finally, in a northward direction, the large Cima Brenta massif!
You can linger in this beautiful meadow and imagine how the mountain group was formed from sedimentary rock, on the sea floor. In fact, here millions of years ago it was like being in the Caribbean. You would never have thought so, right? The history of how our mountains were formed is incredible, just as it is to see them now. It looks as if they have risen from the screes that surround them: this in fact is more or less true! Perhaps you are lucky and there some small clouds in the sky. In this case, during this short break, the famous Campanil Basso, enveloped in the mists that enhance its profile, may be visible!
From here, you can continue walking along the Val Brenta until you reach Malga Brenta Alta, in front of the Crozzon peak: a pleasant place where you can take a break and lie down in a beautiful meadow near a small stream.
If you continue in the direction of the Rifugio Brentei, you reach a crossroad that indicates the flattish sentiero Violi (path), a small stretch of which has a steel cable to help hikers, which leads to the Rifugio Casinei, where a dish of strangolapreti (literally “priest stranglers” – bread and spinach gnocchi) is compulsory! To get here from the parking area, you must climb up slightly more than a thousand metres.
Now you can decide whether to descend via a direct path or follow the longer, more gentle and panoramic one of the of Cascate Alte e di Mezzo (Upper- and Mid-level Waterfalls) to return to the Val Brenta parking area. The waterfalls you see along the path are, to say the least, impressive, showing the sheer power of nature in its waters, which, emerging from the ground all of a sudden, spring out in large volumes, cascading down many metres. You may wonder why this specific territory is so beautiful and stunning. There are many waterfalls, especially in the Val Rendena area, but those in the Brenta valley are unique. Why? Because limestone is permeable, therefore most of the water in these mountain areas flows underground, surfacing only in this specific point, where there are harder, more impermeable rocks. The water is therefore able to pass between two layers, creating a magnificent sight!
Water is obviously a precious asset, but it is even more important in this mountain group, where you rarely hear the noise of water gushing out! The area does not lack water, it is just not visible, except in this wild and wonderful valley that is well worth a visit!