This route is suitable to be driven by motor vehicles, both because it offers a rather long route (about 90 km) and because, in addition to its main route allows those who want to travel, to make trips to visit some places of sure suggestion which will certainly enrich the charm and completeness of the trip. Itinerary of great scenic beauty, runs through the Alta Via del Sale to proceed then, always through roads of sure seduction, to numerous and pleasant inhabited centers.
Taking as a starting point (and therefore arrival, being a ring route) the town of Limone Piemonte, you must first follow the signs that lead to the entrance of the Alta Via del Sale reaching first the Borgata S.Anna and the Catlin Roofs then facing the road that climbs, after passing through the village of Limonetto, until you reach the Colle di Tenda (altitude 1,871 m.). From here you turn towards the Central Fort, still continuing to recover altitude. The forts are austere and impressive military buildings that deserve a stop and a visit before continuing along the road that continues until you reach some modern ski lifts (Pancani and Cabanaira) to reach the Colletto Campanino first and the Colle della Boaria after. Now we are at altitudes above two thousand meters and the landscape takes on the characteristics of the high mountain, while the road continues cutting, amidst limestone rocks, a karst landscape of great beauty that travels on the border line between the two states often trespassing in French territory.
Once you reach the mountain pasture area of Malaberga, the roughness of the landscape is reduced, while you cross the junction leading to the Capanna Morgantini. The route continues touching the rocky spur of Castel Chevolail up to the Colle dei Signori. Here a road slopes down towards the Don Barbera Refuge, while the main route continues until you get round, with a wide hairpin bend, Cima della Pertega (altitude 2.404 m) and reach Colle delle Selle Vecchie (Col de la Celle Vieille – altitude 2,098 m). Soon the landscape will change radically. The rocky area gives way to one of the widest woodland extensions of this area of the park: it enters in fact the Bosco delle Navette, an astonishing coniferous forest that accompanies a less rugged and smoother road. You will soon find yourself at a crossroads: a branch proceeds towards Upega, a small and characteristic alpine village, curled up in a short flat stretch to the bases of the steep slope that climbs towards the rocky peaks of the watershed. From here you can continue on the paved road, through the suggestive rocky gorge of the Passo delle Fascette, up to Ponti di Nava and to Ormea.
The other branch of the crossroads continues along the main path of the Alta Via del Sale until you reach the end of the tolled section, cross the junction for Monesi and continue towards the Tanarello Pass, arriving in sight of the monumental statue of the Redentore , built in 1900 on the ancient Monte Saccarello. This mountain, which is the highest peak of Liguria with its 2,201 meters, is both the meeting point of the Valleys Argentina, Tanaro and Roya as well as the provinces of Imperia and Cuneo and the French department of the Maritime Alps. The Saccarello has two massive slopes that descend towards the Roya Valley to the west and the Argentina Valley to the south, while to the north the slope slopes less steep towards the Tanaro valley.
If you arrive at the junction for Monesi and before continuing, you want to make a digression towards the town, take the road that descends to hairpin bends to get into the woods and come out near the houses. From here you can continue to Mendatica or head south, following the provincial road n. 2 in the direction of the Cima dell’Ortica and then, along Monte Cimonasso and the Rocca Rossa, close the ring again towards Monte Saccarello. Along this digression, near the Passo della Guardia, one meets the Provincial road n. 89 which, traveling on the ridge in the middle of a wooded area, descends to Triora.
But back on the main path and, from the slopes of Saccarello take the road that continues in French territory and, through the Collardente, descend until you reach La Brigue.
Before descending to the bottom of the valley, however, we have the opportunity to make two interesting digressions on the Ligurian side towards the cross-country track of Colla Melosa or reach the hamlet of Realdo di Triora.
Returning to La Brigue, if we still want to continue on an alternative route, we can ignore the comfortable road that leads to Tenda and, after passing Tenda’s Saint Dalmas, we can continue in the direction of Casterino, starting point for excursions in the Valley of Wonders to the discovery of known prehistoric graffiti. From here, going up the narrow road towards the Baisse de Peyrafique, it will be possible to return to the pass of Colle di Tenda in two different ways. You can deviate from the main route down to the Valle Roya and reach the town of Tenda and from here continue on the main road that leads to the tunnel and then to Limone or, alternatively from the Baisse de Peyrafique continue on the dirt road that left the wooded area climbs on the slope that goes up to Colle di Tenda.
GEOGRAPHICAL AREA INTERESTED
The area involved involves the entire cross-border territory, located on the Italian-French border, through the municipalities of Limone Piemonte, Tenda, La Brigue, Briga Alta, Triora.
Total length: 90 Km. Cross-border route: from the main route, different variants branch off to the neighboring inhabited centers such as Tenda, Colla Melosa, Realdo, Triora, Upega and Ormea, which connect various population centers to the network.
Difficulty and distance: The itinerary can be traveled by motorized vehicles, mostly on a partly asphalted dirt road.