From La Brigue (altitude 770 m) enter the Vallon de Galas where a series of hairpin bends face the ascent to the height where the wood becomes denser and where a larger road crosses. This point can also be achieved through two less demanding alternatives. One, further north, passes the beautiful sanctuary of Notre Dame de la Fontaine and climbs more gently towards the summit. The second, further south, runs along the Vallone del Rio Secco and bypasses the hairpin area reaching the intersection mentioned before. From here, through the Col du Loup, proceed towards the Colle di Sanson (altitude 1,685 m). At this point there is a fork which offers the possibility of continuing towards Realdo, losing altitude for about twelve kilometers and reaching the small village bordered by impressive cliffs. Alternatively, you can go to Colle Melosa and the top of Marta keeping up high. The main route, however, from the Basse di Sanson continues towards Passo di Collardente (altitude 1,600 m).
Here, from a further bifurcation it is possible to descend towards Triora or San Bernardo di Mendatica; if you continue on the main path you reach the Passo del Tanarello (altitude 2.042 m) and you come to a crossroad that gives the opportunity to climb towards the majestic Statue of the Redeemer, or continue towards Monesi di Triora and Upega entering the summit of the Tanaro Valley . You then enter the immense wood of the Navette, boundless and fascinating expanse of larch and other conifers and you reach the summit of the Valle d’Upega, near the Colle di Selle Vecchie (altitude 2,098 m.). From here you get to Colle dei Signori (altitude 2.112 m) near which you find the Don Barbera Refuge. Keeping the altitude you pass the Colle della Boaria (altitude 2.102 m.) Possible branch to the Certosa di Pesio, you touch the Colle della Perle (altitude 2.083 m) and you travel to the area of the historic military fortifications traveling on the edge of the Italian border -francese by touching the Cima del Bec (altitude 2,300 m.), the Cima Pépin (altitude 2,344 m) and the Cima del Becco Rosso (altitude 2,214 m).
The Tabourde Fort appears in all its grandeur (altitude 1,982 m); from here it is possible to fall back to the north and reach the Central Fort. To reach this point it is possible a variant towards the Lake of the Pearl and the Campanino Hill. From the Central Fort (altitude 1.950 m) a branch of the military road that descends towards Limone Piemonte starts. Continuing in French territory you reach the Fort of Margheria (altitude 1,842 m) and the path continues until you reach the low of Peyrafique (altitude 2,028 m). Here there are two possibilities: take the branch towards Casterino or go towards the Bassa d’Ourne (altitude 2,040 m) in the direction of Tenda.
From Casterino, starting point for the unparalleled excursions in the Valley of Wonders to the discovery of prehistoric graffiti, the interesting Ring of Fontanalbe also starts: we start from Casterino to the IGN367 pole; from here you have to follow the asphalt road through the village until you reach the IGN395 (dairy) pole and then follow the path that passes next to the Lago des Grenouilles (IGN392 pole). Then continue along the path that makes a wide turn, up to the IGN390 pole and then descend again towards Casterino, crossing the forest of Mélèze up to the pole IGN391 where there is an area equipped for climbing trees.
GEOGRAPHICAL AREA INTERESTED
It starts from La Brigue or from Tende, Saint Dalmas de Tende or Casterino. The area concerned is mainly French but involves a large portion of the cross-border territory, located on the border with Italy and passes through the Municipalities of Tenda, La Brigue, Limone Piemonte, Briga Alta, Triora, Mendatica, Chiusa Pesio.
The route offers a series of variations so as to adapt it to its capabilities and crosses a naturalistic landscape of remarkable beauty, touching the middle valley centers, touching the severe peaks of the rocky ridge, plunging into the woods of the Navette and passing through the evocative Valley of the Marvels, the cradle of an ancient prehistoric pastoral civilization. Noteworthy are also many inhabited centers that can be visited like Tenda and La Brigue, with their historical centers of sure charm as well as the alpine villages that cross each other during the journey.
Total length: 80 km with a total height difference of 2500 meters.
Difficulty and distance: The itinerary is passable with mountain bike or pedal assisted bicycle, mostly on a dirt road and in a small part asphalted. It presents numerous variations and, if you intend to cover it completely, it is suitable for trained cyclists. However, even for the less trained there is the possibility to size their route choosing among the many available variants.