Cima del Masnee SE-Face reflecting in the Lake
Lago & Capanna Starlaresc
Cima del Masnee is a fine peak in Ticino, Switzerland’s Italian speaking Provence. The mountain is located in the heart of Ticino and is enclosed by both the Val Verzasca and Valle Maggia valleys. Cima del Masnee is the kind of mountain you climb without seeing another soul all day long. People tend to call the Ticino Alps the last truly unspoiled mountain range in the entire Alps.
Climbing Cima del Masnee leads through a wild and lonely landscape. The ascent is long, because of the low altitude of the valley floor. Also, cableways are not present here. Climbing Cima del Masnee from the Maggia side requires a vertical altitud gain of almost 2000 meters. Prepare for a long day outing if you plan on climbing Masnee in a single day. Climbing from the Verzasca side saves you about 400 vertical meters though. Another option is to spend the night in one of the alpine huts surrounding the mountain. You have two options: The Rifugio alpe Masnee or the Capanna di Starlaresc. Both huts are unguarded but do have all basic supplies you need. Especially the Starlaresc Hut is recommended due to its perfect location near the lak carrying the same name: Lago di Starlaresc.
Poncione Piancasia & Cima del Masnee from Agazzoi
Mischabel (4545m;14.911ft) and Cima del Masnee (2203m)
There are many hiking trails leading towards Cima del Masnee, most of them start from the Verzasca valley. One main trail starts from the Maggia valley. It is therefore possible to make a nice round tour taking one route up and the other one down. Most routes are graded T3 and are marked red-white-red. The via Alta della Maggia and one of the routes to the Starlaresc capanna are the only exceptions with a gradation of T4/T4+. For more information see the ‘Routes’ section below.
Cima del Masnee is located on the ridge that seperates the Maggia en Verzasca Valleys and is also part of the famous Via alta della Maggia: A multiple day outing that follows the mountain ridge east of the Maggia valley, passing many of the peaks on the ridge like Madone, Cima di Nimi, Madom da Sgiof and Poncione Piancasia. Although the Via Alta (‘’old route’’) passes just to the west of Cima del Masnee, it only takes 30 minutes extra to take it with you along the way.
Pianesc & Madom Gross
Waterfall & Alnasca
Although its slightly higher, and more famous neighbor Madom da Sgiof is visited more often, Cima del Masnee is certainly not the lesser peak. Views are fantastic: All the wild peaks of the Maggia and Verzasca areas can be seen and the feeling of being in nature far, far away from civilization is one you can still encounter here.
Cima del Masnee Routes Overview
There are several routes to Cima del Masnee. They can be divided in two main routes: One from the Maggia valley and one from the Verzasca valley. Both routes are long since the valley floors are low in elevation in Ticino and the mountains reach altitudes far above 2000 meters. The route from the Verzasca side however, is somewhat less strenuous and is considered the normal route up the mountain. Both routes are described in more detail below. Both routes are indicated with a red arrow on the map at left.
I. Verzasca Route from Brione
The route starts near Hotel/Restaurant Piee, which is located just outside Brione, a small village in Val Verzasca. You can recognize the start of the route by the yellow signpost along the main road just west (50 meters) of Piee. Follow the trail (well-marked, T2) towards ‘’Piano del Vald’ and ‘’Capanna Starlaresc’’. After a short hike you will reach the small settlement of Pianesc at 819 meters a.s.l. Follow the trail through this scenic village until you reach the treeline. At this point the trail enters the thick forest and the route starts gaining in elevation. The gradation goes up to T3-. Keep following the trail. This part is rather strenuous due to the steepness of the trail. Do try to look through the forest, to the other side of the valley once in a while, since the mighty Poncione d‘Alnasca is looming above the valley, as well as the Cresta della Fopia, an impressive vertical wall.
After about an hour and a half, or an hour if you are fast, you will reach Matar (1304 meters), recognizable by the yellow signpost. The route temporarily stops gaining elevation at this point. From Matar the views towards the Northern part of the Verzasca valley are wonderful. Shortly after passing Matar , there is a split-up in the trail. The red-white-red trail continues in straight line, but a white-blue-white marked route branches off to the right. Both routes meet up at the Capanna Starlaresc, but the white-blue trail gets you there much faster. If you take the red-white-red trail, the trail keeps heading through th forest until you reach Alpe di Sgiof and eventually Mottaruch at 2011m.
Continue from Mottaruch down towards the Capanna Starlaresc at 1875 meters. As I just mentioned, it is advised to take the blue-white-blue route up. These colors indicate the route should be harder compared to the red-white one and it is, but only slightly. I would grade this part of the route T3+ at max. It involves some sections secured with steel cables, but nothing difficult in my opinion. Follow the trail, which follows a small river/waterfall for most of this part of the route. The route is gaining in elevation fast and is rather strenuous again. The waterfall and surrounding mountains make up for a fantastic scenery. After an hour of climbing, the route becomes less steep agai and the treeline comes in sight. Keep heading up along the trail and eventually you are able to see the capanna Starlaresc (mountain Hut) and the beautiful Lago di Strarlaresc, a small lake next to the capanna.
The capanna Starlaresc is a great place to spend some time to relax or to stay for the night. For more information see the Capanna Starlaresc section below. From the capanna the trail continuous (red-white-red), passes the lake and goes up to the passo Deva (2035m). This part takes about 30 minutes. At the Passo Deva you are on the ridge (saddlepoint) between Madom da Sgiof and Cima del Masnee. You can look down into the Maggia valley for the first time now. The route coming up from the Maggia valley joins our route at this point. At passo Deva follow the signs to ‘’Rifugio Alpe Masnee’’ . In 35 minutes you will reach this small mountain hut along the ridge that seperates the Verzasca and Maggia valleys. The rifugio is also a nice option to spend the night. See for more information the section below.
The trail between Matar & Starlaresc
Cima del Masnee (2203m)
Masnee from Passo Deva
From the rifugio you have a good view towards the SW-Face of Cima del Masnee. Leave the mountain hut in the direction of Cima del Masnee. At this point the marked trail stops. There is an old trail, recognizable by large red painted dots, going up to Cima del Masnee. This trail is not maintained anymore and therefore quite hard to follow. Keep heading up the SW-Face and find your way up to the summit. Although pathless,
route finding is not very difficult. Keep heading up over the grassy slopes until you reach the, quite airy, summit of Cima del Masnee. This last part is graded T4. Valle Maggia Route from Maggia
II. Vallemaggia Route from Maggia
The route from Valle Maggia starts from the village carrying the name of the valley: ‘’Maggia’’ at 332 meters. This is over 400 meters lower in elevation compared to the start of the other route in Brione, Val Verzasca. As a result, climbing Cima del Masnee from this side means conquering almost 2000 vertical meters. Start from the village center and follow the yellow ‘’sentieri’’ signs and leave the village in a northern direction. Soon the trail leaves thevillage and enters the southern slopes of Cima del Masnee. The trail leads through the forest through the Valle de Salto, a side valley of Valle Maggia. Keep following the signs to Passo Deva.
The trail passes Maiasco (965m), Pioee (1232m) and Alpe Deva (1556m). After Alpe Deva there is a junction. Taking a left will take you directly to the Rifugio Alpe Masnee (2091m). Taking a right will take you up to the Passo Deva (2036m) and from there to the Rifugio Alpe Masnee. From the Rifugio the climb to the summit is the same as described above on the’’ Verzasca Route from Brione’’ section. The trail is graded T3 and marked red-white-red until the rifugio Masnee. From the rifugio to the summit the grading is T4. The route from Maggia is long and enduring. Spending the night is a goo option to avoid climbing and descending 2000 vertical meters in a single day.
Capanna Starlaresc da Sgiof
Capanna Starlaresc da Sgiof is a very nice, unguarded mountain hut situated next to the lake carrying the same name. The hut provides all basic supplies like matrasses, blankets, a stove etc.
Reservation is not neccessary. You should bring some money to leave behind when spending the night.
Owner: Compadroni Starlaresc
Phone number: +41 (0)91 745 64 02
Costs: CHF 15.– / EURO 12.– a night
Rifugio Alpe Masnee
Rifugio Alpe Masnee is a nice and cosy mountain Hut at the base of Cima del Masnee. The hut is unguarded but provides all basis supplies for spending the night. The Hut is located directly west of the ridge seperating the Verzasca and Maggia valleys and therefore owned by the Patriziato di Maggia. Reservations can me made via the website (link below).
Owner: Patriziato di Maggia
Phone number: +41 (0)79 240 08 31
Costs: CHF 25.– a night
How to get there
The A2 highway crosses Switzerland from north to south. On this highway take exit 47 'Bellinzona- Sud'
Now you are on the secondary road no. 2. Follow the signs to ''Locarno''
Before reaching Locarno Val Verzasca will appear on the road signs. Follow these signs until you reach Val Verzasca.
In the Verzasca valley is only one major road. Follow this road and you will first pass the village of Vogorno, than you will pass Lavertezzo and the 3rd major village is Brione. The route starts just before the actual village at Restaurant Piee, which can be recognized by the parking space in front of the Hotel/Restaurant.
A Route Planner to Brione
(Restaurant Piee) on Google Maps can be found here
On the A2
highway you also take exit 47 'Bellinzona- Sud'
. Now you are on the secondary road no. 2. Follow the signs to ''Locarno'' After a few miles you will reach highway no. 13 which leads to Locarno. Keep on this highway until you are in central Locarno. Eventually the signs 'Valle Maggia'
will appear. Take this exit ''Via Locarno'' and keep following the Valle MAggia signs. This will lead you straight into the Maggia Valley. After passing the small towns of Avegno
you will enter the village called Maggia.
A Route Planner to Maggia
on Google Maps can be found here
Hotel & Camping
Waterfall near Al Censo Camping
Campings in Ticino can be found on: Camping search
Personal Favourite: Camping Al Censo, Claro
Camping Al Censo
For hotels and other places to stay:Visit the Major cities: Bellinzona, Lugano or Locarno
A good option for a hotel is Hotel Piee
, since it is located directly at the starting point of the Verzasca Route up to Cima del Masnee.
Maps & Books
Kompass Map WK110 Valle Maggia ValVerzasca
Bundes Landkarte (BLT) 276
This link leads to the weather in the Verzasca area:
weather Cima del Masnee by Ticino.ch