The wildest mountain hut in Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy
Over the past two years, I have visited many mountain huts in my region. If at first, I felt the need to lean on huts for my hikes, now I am seeking more tranquility and nature. Which not all mountain huts can offer, Given the love for the mountains that arose thanks to the pandemic. I honestly did not think it was still possible to find such a “wild” mountain hut while I was hiking to Rifugio Grauzaria.
Why should you visit Rifugio Grauzaria?
The Grauzaria mountain hut is located in Val Aupa which, together with the nearby Val Alba, is one of the wildest valleys in Friuli Venezia Giulia. Val Aupa is a passage valley that connects the hamlets of Moggio Udinese and Pontebba. There are few accommodation facilities, it is far from the ski slopes, starred restaurants and the many trails that run along it are not very popular.
Val Aupa is therefore a paradise for those who love to experience nature in almost complete solitude, alternate hikes, and trekkings for expert mountaineers with easier routes and visit (semi) abandoned mountain villages.
Rifugio Grauzaria is the son of the valley in which it is located. It is settled on a rock spur, surrounded by Mount Sernio, Mount Grauzaria, and Mount Gjal. To reach the mountain hut there are no jeep-proof forest roads but only the trail. Rifugio Grauzaria rarely is a destination for Sunday hikes like the one we did, more often it is the starting point for difficult hikes and climbs. As you can imagine, this latter detail filters the people who visit the hut a lot.
In reality, the hiking to Rifugio Grauzaria refuge offers a pleasant walk and a tasty lunch with the typical mountain cuisine of Friuli Venezia Giulia, made of grilled cheese, polenta, venison, and luanjie (sausage). Furthermore, although the trail is short, it intersects different environments that make one feel less guilty for the banquet at the hut.
This is an easy yet satisfying hike within everyone’s reach that offers a panoramic view and the tranquility that can now be enjoyed in a few mountain huts only.
How to reach Rifugio Grauzaria
Since the preparations for our hike, we had decided to do things calmly. The goal is not to climb or run, but simply to visit the mountain hut.
We stop for breakfast at Giada’s pastry shop in Reana del Rojale and from there we begin our trip to the mountains, driving straight north towards Carnia, where we take the interchange for Tarvisio. After a few kilometers, on the left, the road to Moggio Udinese appears. We pass the village and venture into Val Aupa along which we find many directions for Rifugio Grauzaria. Near the bridge over the Rio Fontanaz, we turn left to cover the last kilometer uphill on a paved but sloppy road and arrive at the car park in Case Nanghets. We put on the backpack and start our hike.
How is the trail leading to Rifugio Grauzaria?
Rifugio Grauzaria is connected to the car park by the CAI trail nr. 437. The trail, which elevates 500 meters, does not present any technical difficulty or dangers. It simply takes good legs and a little breath, as with all mountain hikes.
The CAI trail 437 begins as a forest track which, combined with the heat, immediately tests our lungs, making us quickly gain altitude. Luckily, we are protected by the forest that lets only a few rays of sunshine through. After a first fairly steep stretch, the road fades into a pleasant trail that goes even further into the dense beech forest.
Along the hike, we pass the ruins of an old hut and cross the junction with the trail which leads to the Feruglio Hut (this hut is challenging to reach, from what I have read). From the trail marker onwards, the trail that leads to the Grauzaria Mountain hut changes completely. The vegetation lowers and we finally see the landscape that surrounds us. We continue on a trail of white stones, we pass a couple of fords and finally, we spot Rifugio Grauzaria, protected by some trees. We face the last uphill stretch and we keep hiking to Rifugio Grauzaria.
An easy and entertaining trail
I really enjoyed this hike to the Rifugio Grauzaria and it reminded me of the hike to another Refuge in Friuli Venezia Giulia that I love very much (Rifugio Pellarini). If it is true that “my altitude” in the mountains includes woods and pastures, it is also true that I am easily bored. This is why I like trails that manage to offer various landscapes within a few kilometers. The hike to the Grauzaria Mountain Hut fully satisfied my need.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be brave enough to use Rifugio Grauzaria as a base for more difficult hikes. I don’t know if I will ever venture to Monte Sernio, Monte Grauzaria, or Monte Gjal but I know that I will visit the refuge again to reconnect with the mountain environment that I like best. The one that is a little isolated, inhabited, and visited only by people who really love and respect the mountains and nature.
PS. Near the parking lot in Case Nanghets there is a farm that sells local products.
Hike recap to Rifugio Grauzaria
- Starting point: Case Nanghets
- Arrival: Grauzaria Refuge
- Difference in altitude: 500 D +
- Km: 5km A / R
- Difficulty: Tourist
- Approach: From Udine drive north to Carnia. There, follow directions towards Tarvisio and continue for a few kilometers until you reach the crossroads towards Moggio Udinese. Drive past the little town towards Pontebba, you will find directions to Rifugio Grauzaria on the left.
Other hikes in the area
- Bivacco Bianchi
- Moggessa di Qua and Moggessa di Là