Alta via n°1

Courmayeur, Valle d'Aosta, Italy
SUMMARY: Alta Via Trail 1, known as the Alta Via dei Giganti, or “the giants’ trail”, is a trekking route through incomparable scenery, across the foothills of some of the highest peaks in Europe such as Monte Rosa, the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. This itinerary offers, alongside some superb examples of natural alpine architecture (including the elegant pyramid of the Matterhorn), matchless specimens of rural architecture that are inextricably linked with the life of the alpine pasturelands, such as the traditional Walser buildings in the Gressoney Valley and the upper reaches of the Ayas Valley. Tracing its path through the mountains to the left of the River Dora Baltea, Alta Via Trail 1 can be walked
by anyone since it follows well-marked footpaths, with an average width of 80 cm, that are fully signposted. The trekker who is an experienced mountain walker will be able to walk its whole length, while those who wish to try out its footpaths as a first experience will also be able to walk the short, lower altitude stretches. The route leads from Donnas to Courmayeur, with 17 daily stages that require 3-5 hours walking time each, offering stopping points for all needs: camping sites, huts, refuges, hotels and hostels. The routes descend into the valley at the end of almost every stage, where it is possible to use the services provided by each of the villages or interrupt your journey and return to the central valley by bus.
The route can be walked in the summer months and crosses medium and high altitude mountain areas, through meadows and pasturelands, woodlands and rocky outcrops, maintaining an average altitude of around 2,000 m. and often touching almost 3,000 m (on Col Malatrà the route reaches 2,925 m.). The immense natural beauty of these surroundings that bear witness to the respect and equilibrium of the local farming traditions in the use of territorial resources, and the superb backdrop of the high mountains whose names resound through the annals of history, provide a setting which the trekker can only admire and enjoy.