The trail starts on the left of the small ski lift in the village of Albaron (1410m), near Balme. Leave the car in fron of the pizza restaurant.
From the ski lift, go to the left. You’ll see a dirt road on the right and an almost horizontal trail on the left (sign “Lago di Afframont” “Fonte Maria”). Follow the trail. After 100m you’ll pass a small spring, the “Fonte Maria”. Fill your bottle here – the water is of great quality. After few minutes the path crosses the dirt road, then continue gently uphill on the opposite side (red arrow). The hike continues through a pleasant meadow, and then across an ancient wall of stones and a clearing, where the forest begins, The trails starts a rising traverse (always at a very moderate rate) through the woods. In autumns the whole area is completely covered by dead leaves, so the path may be not completely evident at times.
After some up and downs, pass the junction with the trace coming from Chialambertetto (little wood there) and continue to traverse the forest, now a steeper rate. After another 20 minutes and some switchback, the trail takes a definite turn to the right, entering the Afframont valley. The trees begin to change from broad-leaved to coniferous, along with dense fern bushes and several curious mounds of stones covered by green musk. Continue almost horizontally for a while, crossing at one point above a huge flat stone that is often slippery after a wet spell, and requires some care. Another 10 minutes in this pleasant area (good possibility to spot local fauna, exp. birds and squirrels) and the trail cross the Afframont creek, near the small herders hamlet called Alpe Roc Piat (1546m), and below several small waterfalls.
After the huts, the trail continue horizontally over a man made stone pavement (slipper again after rain), with a beautiful vista over the Val D’Ala and the bulk of the Uja di Mondrone on the opposite side of the valley. Above, the hike continues now more steeply (and strenuously) but always on a well marked path. The wood is now gone, except for small groups of larches, pines and firs (beautiful colours in autumns). Another 20 minutes like this and you’ll exit on the Pian De La Ciavanna plateau (1760m), a small grass amphitheatre marked by many streams. On the opposite side of the plateau you’ll see the Alpe Pian de la Ciavanna and above that the characteristic “Dente”, a small rock tower well visible from the valley below.
In mid-June this area gets completely covered by a fantastic coloured mountain flora. The trail continue now on the left side of the grassy barrier bordering the plateaus, with several switchbacks through a low vegetation (mainly “drose”) that may be a bit problematic to pass in mid-summer. In 30 minutes the trail reaches the brim of the near a characteristic boulder well visible from below. In late spring avalanche debris may cover this passage – some caution required. After the boulder, the trail enter barrier the Afframont lake hanging valley, first in a shallow depression where on the right you’ll see the Alpe Pian del Lago, the best preserved “ciavanna” of the area (take a look inside, but remember that this is private property!). Less than 100 meters after this Alpe, the Afframont lake (1989m) appears suddenly below us. A small but easy trace allows bordering the entire lake perimeter in 30 minutes. Ibexes, marmots and chamoises are easily spotted.
The lake is dominated by the Bec Del Faussett (2518m) to the south and Il Forte (2318m) to the west. To reach the latter’s top, follow a little trail going parallel to the northern shore of the lake, then faint traces up the peak northwest ridge (most grass and some occasional very easy rock step – the passage are all very evident). Allow 1 hour from the lake to the summit. Consistent snow cover or very wet conditions may make this final part considerably more difficult.
Normal hiking gear, trekking poles, a rainfly