Snowshoe Hike in Val Gleris (Pontebba)
An easy walk on the snow in Val Gleris following the footsteps of the Fox and the Bear
For every tourist place in Friuli Venezia Giulia, there is always a lesser-known one that is equally beautiful. This snowshoe hike in Val Gleris has nothing to envy to the nearby Saisera Wild Track but for some reason, it is still little known. I’m talking about Snowshoeing, but in reality, if it hasn’t snowed for a while, like when we visited, the normal mountain boots are more than enough.
If you are interested in a simple walk in the Tarvisio area, this hike is just for you. Read on to find out all the details.
Val Gleris is the valley that connects the area around Tarvisio with the Val Aupa and Carnia. To reach it, starting from the plain, just drive in towards Tarvisio. Reach the town of Pontebba (also with the A23 motorway, Pontebba exit) and continue towards Studena Alta up to the Alle Sette Picche Restaurant. The road to Studena Alta starts exactly from the center of Pontebba.
Where to park
The snowshoe hike in Val Gleris consists of two distinct itineraries: the path of the Fox and the path of the Bear.
- If you decide to do both or only the Path of the Fox, the most convenient parking is that of the Alle Sette Picche Restaurant which is also the base point for the Val Gleris cross-country track.
- If, on the other hand, you are only interested in the Path of the Bear, you can also park near the Biondo Bar. Coming from Pontebba you will find it on the right as soon as you reach the largest group of houses.
Here you will actually find three recaps in one, that of the two distinct paths and the overall one (which is the one we did).
Path of the Fox Recap
Path of the Bear Recap
Total route recap
The Path of the Fox
The hike in Val Gleris starts immediately behind the Sette Picche Restaurant from which the cross-country track also starts. After about 200 meters you will come to a crossroads. On the left is the Bear’s Path and on the right the Fox’s Path, we choose to start with the latter which is the longest.
We follow the cross-country track for a while (I recommend you not to walk on the tracks) and we move away from the starting point in the direction of Sette Picche, which are mountains that embrace the Valley to the west. Unfortunately, when we did the hike the sky was overcast and we didn’t see them. But I’m sure that on a sunny day, the view is priceless.
After about 500 meters we leave the track to go into the woods with a nice wide and beaten path. On the left, there is a manger, but we do not see wild animals as suggested by the sign at the beginning of the route. Too bad, I hope luck is on your side when you visit Val Gleris.
We continue the hike going up the valley and keeping the Sette Picche always in front of us. We arrive at the end of the trail and go back retracing our steps.
The Path of the Bear
We return to the above-mentioned fork and this time we continue along the path of the Bear. Also in this case, the first part of the trail and of the climb develops on the cross-country track. Most of the difference in altitude is in the first half of the walk, then, at a certain point, you will find a detour on the left that takes the path into the woods.
This is perhaps the piece that I liked the most of both walks because I love the snowy woods. After a few minutes, you will arrive at the “Casa nel Bosco“, a pretty little cabin in dark wood and red window frames (yes I imagined myself living here too). From the hut onwards the descent begins, leading back to the asphalted road.
At a small herd of highlander cattle, you can cross the road and continue the path behind the houses. A second crossing takes us back to the cross-country track and then to the starting point.
Do you need snowshoes to do the Fox and the Bear trails?
Obviously, it depends on the climatic conditions that you will find at the time of your visit. In any case, the trails are beaten with the snowmobile so I believe that snowshoes will rarely be needed to beat the path. If in doubt, I still recommend that you have them in the car.
As on the Saisera Wild Track, light crampons could be useful in case the snow surface is frozen.
Why you should do this hike in Val Gleris
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I don’t like overly popular routes. I loved this walk in Val Gleris because although the route is very simple, we did it in almost total solitude.
Perhaps, it was one of the few cases in which I was sorry not to see many people. The enclosed valley, the path that goes over the bed of a stream to an imposing barrier of snow-capped mountains. The low clouds that characterized our walk. The almost total silence. Everything gave the feeling of being in a fantasy setting.
Impossible, as I said at the beginning, not to associate this place with the nearby Val Saisera and its most famous route, the Saisera Wild Track. Every day hundreds of people, perhaps out of laziness, flock to this Saisera track as if it were the only place where to take a simple hike on the snow in the whole of Friuli Venezia Giulia.
I would like people to be able to divide more evenly in order to make the Saisera Wild Track more liveable and give more life to Val Gleris, which has nothing to envy.
Where to eat in Val Gleris
Did you get hungry after the hike? Here’s where you can go to eat:
- Ristobar Alle Sette Picche: this time we make a very little road for the food because the Ristobar Sette Picche, the one located at the beginning of the route, is truly an excellent solution. The cuisine is from Friuli-Marche. If available, I highly recommend trying the fried zucchini and Ascoli olives. They are so good that I think I could also eat them for breakfast, especially the courgettes. The place is small so booking is highly recommended.
- La Vecchia Latteria: a restaurant that is really famous in the area. To reach it you will have to use the car as it is located in Studena Bassa. It is famous for its genuine food with excellent value for money. They are especially strong on first courses. Here too you have to book.