Hiking Trips and Tips N°5 – RAT VALLEY LOOP

The brew of this track is by Trauzl

The season is starting again and for the occasion we have chosen an exceptional trail: the Valle dei Ratti! The trail is easily accessible by train (or bus at off-peak times), the loop we propose starts and returns to Verceia (Province of Sondrio), but if you wish you can draw a higher (and more challenging) variant that ends in Dubino (the following train station). The route is steep and the altitude difference is quite demanding, but the distance is short. There are two extremely well-equipped bivouacs on the route that will repay your efforts and make it unnecessary to carry anything but a sleeping bag and some food.


You can download the gps data here: https://www.komoot.com/it-it/tour/1075369700


At a Glance

Distance:  25km (15.5mi)

Duration (average):  Two days

Difficulty Level: Challenging but short

Start / Finish: Verceia (SO) / Verceia (SO)

Elevation Gain: 2010m (6594 ft)

Elevation Loss: 2010m (6594 ft)


Yuri, Bico and Miltown in sabbipode position on the old railway tracks. Picture by Sofia Blu©


Getting There & Away:

You can get there comfortably by train via the Colico-Chiavenna line (Trenord regional line R11). There are no other public transport facilities along the route.

Season: This is an easily passable route from spring to autumn. Due to the altitude and location, there is a lot of snow in the winter months and mountaineering equipment is required.

Clelia recharges her energy before the challenge. Picture by Sofia Blu©


Permits: no permits are required

Language: Italian. A basic knowledge of either definitely comes in handy. The Frasnedo refuge (1280 m and slightly off the route) is the only place where you might meet someone, buy food and ask for information. When we went there, however (early April) it was still closed.

Cell/Mobile Phone Coverage: Above 1000 metres the phone stops working.


Lot of youngsters without phones. Picture by Sofia Blu©

Resupply & Water:

Resupply: It is important to buy all the food before arriving in Verceia, there is not much there except a couple of bars, and there are no resupplies of any kind on the trail. There is only the Rifugio Frasnedo just off the trail but which we found closed.

Water: There is water on the entire route and also at the refuges. At low altitudes, however, we recommend using a water filter.

Yuri refills one of his flasks near the Volta Hut. Picture by Bico©

Route / Conditions:

Overview: From the train station you can, via Verceia village, take the path directly. From there, a steep ascent begins, which meets the road several times and lasts approximately four and a half kilometres. It is then necessary to take the restricted access road on the right and follow the old railway line.

The crew passing through the Moledana Dam (909 m). Picture by Sofia Blu©

Following the railway tunnel, you come out at the Moledana dam (909 m), which you have to cross to get to the other side of the Torrente Ratti. Continuing on, you pass through Moledana village and come across some pasture houses and a few ruins. Once past the tree line, the route becomes more arduous and you climb up through a landslide; in winter and early spring there may be several icy sections.

Clelia climbs the path through the landslide to the Capanna Volta (2212m). Picture by Sofia Blu©

If you are the first to arrive at the Capanna Volta (2212m), you must open the gas cylinder at the back, turn on the water (if it is winter, it will probably be frozen) and connect the electricity. The bivouac is practically an unmanaged refuge. There are about 30 beds (with blankets too), emergency food (always remember to bring something to leave), crockery and wood. If you use the bivouac, remember to leave it as you found it and it is a good idea to leave an offering.

Federico is enjoying his beverage inside Capanna Volta (2212m). Picture by Bico©

Alessandro and Andrea needed some cuddles. Picture by Sofia Blu©

Proceeding towards the Bivacco Primalpia (2476m) there is a short stretch on the coast, there is also a small chain (3 metres long) which is a little more challenging in snow, but nothing to worry about. The Primalpia bivouac is also quite large and well equipped, despite being only one large room (there are 18 beds inside, it is heated and cooking is possible).

The pack heading to the Bivacco Primalpia (2476m). Picture by Sofia Blu©

The return path continues into the forest on the other side of the stream and rejoins the first path at the Moledana dam (909 m), to re-divide and continue within the forest to Verceia.

“Hands off the Rat Valley!” Picture by Bico©