Snowshoeing at the Cocco Village: a walk in the snow around Ugovizza in the ski mountaineering paradise
There are two types of snow lovers: those who want it as smooth as a board to descend the slopes at full speed on skis and those who are looking for still virgin and unexplored snow to imprint their footprints on. We belong to the latter type and this snowshoe hike to the Cocco Village in Ugovizza was truly spectacular.
If you’re looking for an easy but non-trivial hike on the snow in Friuli Venezia Giulia, this is the one for you!
Read on to find out all the details.
The snowshoe hike to the Cocco Village starts near the Gortani Hut in Ugovizza.
To reach it from Udine, drive north towards Tarvisio. If you are using the A23 motorway, the exit is Pontebba.
When you reach Pontebba, continue towards Tarvisio, pass the town of Malborghetto, and the following tunnel. Once in Ugovizza, shortly after the pharmacy, you will find Via Uque on the left and the signs for Rifugio Gortani. Continue until you reach a crossroads at a wide clearing and take the road on the left that will take you to the Val Rauna car park.
Even if the road is cleaned it is necessary to have winter tires to reach the parking area easily.
Hike recap and GPX Download
The hike to the Cocco Village is not technically difficult (not even with snowshoes) and there are no exposed parts. However, I would only recommend it for experienced hikers as there are few landmarks, which diminish with snow.
IMPORTANT: for this hike, the support of GPS is highly recommended. You can download it after the map.
Ugovizza the homeland of ski mountaineers
If you decide to take this walk on the snow in Ugovizza, it will immediately become clear who the undisputed masters of this area of Tarvisio are: the ski-mountaineers.
And it is with them that we begin our snowshoe hike at the Cocco Village.
After about 200 meters, we arrive at a crossroads, in the center of which there is a delightful wooden statue depicting a child playing the piano. We keep to the right and proceed towards the Gortani Hut.
The road, for now, is clear of snow but we keep the snowshoes at hand. The climb is lined with many adorable huts but many others can be seen in the middle of the meadows.
After a few hundred meters, we find the Gortani Hut on the right. With this cold and the scent of polenta coming out of the chimney, the temptation to stop immediately is high but we proceed straight ahead. We will stop by at the end of the tour.
At the last house (in my opinion the prettiest) the work of the snowplow is also completed. It’s time to wear snowshoes.
A snowshoe hike without reference points
It just takes a few steps in the fresh snow and the total absence of CAI signposts to understand that we’ll find very few landmarks on our way to Villaggio Cocco.
We follow with due gratitude the trail left by ski mountaineers who, in addition to opening the way for us by making snowshoeing less tiring, allow us to have a fairly precise indication of where to go.
The trail towards the Cocco Village climbs steadily then faster with tight hairpin bends that make us gain meters in altitude. Around us, the forest is decorated for the holidays, thanks to the recent snowfall. From time to time lets us admire some glimpses of the surrounding landscape.
The last effort up to the Cocco Village
We arrive at a crossroads and finally find a sign: for the Cocco Village go right. The stretch of trail that follows is perhaps the most complicated as we find some fallen trees and narrowings.
Fortunately, the stretch is short and in no time at all, we continue our snowshoe hike to the Cocco Village on a comfortable forest road (always keep to the right) which, with a moderate slope, takes us to the Cocco Village.
Il Villaggio Cocco
Perhaps it would be more accurate to say the former Cocco Village because there is only a single massive stone building left of the hamlet.
Reading online, we discover that this place housed a mining village until the 1960s. Historical documents say that the mining activity was done as early as 1500. The peak, however, certifies the maximum productivity was reached with the Habsburg until the completion of the village in the 40s.
All activities were stopped during the Second World War and were never resumed.
The summer photos of the Cocco Village, show only a few stone walls in the grass in addition to the main building. The snow, unfortunately, takes away even that little foothold for working with imagination. Nature will take it all back. I often tell myself and, comparing the old vintage photos with what is in front of us, is not difficult to believe.
Monte Cocco and Cima Bella
We continue beyond the village, back into the woods. Our goal now is to cross the forest road that goes up to Monte Cocco from the farmhouse “Locanda al Camoscio”.
From here it becomes more difficult to explain the trail to follow because even the tracks of ski mountaineers become more confused. Using the GPS, we find our way through trails and forest roads until we reach the wide field from which one can climb to Monte Cocco and Cima Bella.
For today, we leave the peaks to ski mountaineers and set off towards the second part of the ring route that will take us back to the Gortani Hut and then to the parking lot.
Towards the Locanda al Camoscio
The descent along the forest road is quick and facilitated by the fresh snow.
We pass a wonderful mountain hut where the road turns into a spacious lawn covered with snow on which to tumble and have lighthearted fun.
We go down the slope at full speed and in no time we arrive near some huts where we find the well-marked road once again.
We thus arrive at the Rio Uqua and then at the Locanda Al Camoscio. If you want to take a break before continuing, the restaurant is open, as is one close by, called Rosič (where you can eat very well).
Restaurants also mean a clean road, thus, for a few hundred meters we drag the snowshoes until we reach a bridge and intersect part of the Puanina Tour.
(If you don’t know what the Puanina Tour is click here)
Snowshoeing on Puanina Tour and returning to the Gortani
We cross the first bridge that we find on the right and we find ourselves along the Puanina Tour route. From here, finding the Gortani Hut is very simple as it is well signposted.
We return to the pastures of Ugovizza, where the white meadows dotted with huts are perhaps more beautiful in Val Bartolo. As icing on the cake, other to many good memories, from this trip, I come home even with a book thanks to the bookcrossing point found along the way.
Before heading back to the car, we strongly recommend stopping by the hut because their cakes are really mouthwatering. Plus if you like animals, you’ll find some cats and dogs to cuddle.
Why go snowshoeing at the Cocco Village
Because despite being popular with ski mountaineers, the route is still quite wild. It’s ideal for you if you love to wander into the wilderness and maybe get a little lost in nature and in your thoughts.
Do you want something to eat after the hike?
Food is a serious matter, and in Ugovizza there are many options. Besides Rifugio Gortani, you can find here some other proposals that I tried first-hand (except one)
- Agriturismo Rosič: food is rustic and the price for quality is excellent. Here, you can taste typical dishes from Friuli.
- Ristorante Rio Argento: is located right after the above-mentioned tunnel. I’ve never tried it but the reviews are good.
If you decide to drive to Tarvisio, don’t forget about: