On Day 2, we drove from Sega Vecchia to Rifugio Cavone (food-only rifugio) for a hike that includes some of the prettiest stretches of trail that the park has to offer. We hiked to the top of Corno alle Scale, stopped by the Rifugio degli Abruzzi and Lago Scaffaiolo, and ended the day by seeing a four-tiered waterfall, the Cascate del Dardagna. The stretch up CAI 129 to Corno alle Scale was the most stunning stretch of all.
Description: Park at Rifugio Cavone where you will find the trailhead for CAI 337. Follow CAI 337, which brings you through a beautiful valley and then up to a plateau with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
Turn right and follow CAI 129 making your way towards Corno alle Scale. This part is not difficult, but we were warned it’s not the best route for those with vertigo (which could also be a polite way of saying “if you are afraid of heights”). The mountain slopes down on both sides of you as you ascend up a narrow series of sandstone steps. We did a little scrambling to get up this part.
At the top, you reach Punta Sofia, the peak with the illustrious cross. We stopped here and had lunch.
Then continue on 129 a little ways to reach the summit of Corno alle Scale. At Passo dello Strofinato, take CAI 00 towards Lago Scaffaiolo. Next, you reach Lago Scaffaiolo and the Rifugio Duca degli Abruzzi. This was clearly the place-to-be as it was hopping with people of all ages as well as dogs and horses. The Rifugio Duca degli Abruzzi is a CAI rifugio and a “true rifugio” in the sense that you can’t drive there (you can only get there on foot, bike, etc). It’s a good place to grab lunch or also to spend the night on a longer excursion (it was all booked up when we called them).
After passing Lago Scaffaiolo, follow signs for CAI 401 and continue onto CAI 333 towards Cavone/Dardagna. CAI 333 leads down the bottom of a ski slope where you will find a restaurant called Baita del Sole. From here you should continue following 333 until you reach the Dardagna waterfalls. (We somehow missed the return onto the trail and ended up walking on the road almost back to Rifugio Cavone. We were determined to see the falls, so we took CAI 337 from Rifugio Cavone to and from the Dardagna falls). The Cascate del Dardagna is one of the many treasures along this hike and is worth seeing. But it is a grueling way to end the day. In order to see the four levels (at least) of these waterfalls you must go down, down, down, and down. And, what goes down, must come up.
After checking out the falls, hike 333 back the way you came in. Then turn left to take CAI 337 back to Rifugio Cavone. We finished off the day with a beer at Rifugio Cavone.
Time: 5-6 hours
Elevation Gain: 650m
Distance from Bologna: 1.5 – 2h
We enjoyed the entire weekend, but this hike stole the show. You start out in a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains and end with the sights and sounds of waterfalls. There’s not much more you can ask for. Of course, with such beauty, expect to share the trail with others.