North of the beautiful Sauris valley a long grassy ridge stretches, with only on a few points exceeding the altitude of 2000 meters. The most known elevation in this ridge is Monte Pieltinis, 2027 m, but on the western side of the ridge Monte Rioda is even 19 meters higher. Because close to Casera di Razzo already other mountain goals occur, Monte Rioda is not so often visited. Yet it is a very nice panoramic summit, and from the road only good one hour of ascent is needed to reach it. Just appropriate if you come on the high plateau around Casera di Razzo late in the afternoon and you want to see the beautiful mountain world of the central Carnia in evening light!
Just south of Monte Rioda there is Monte Palone, 2018 m. This one has interesting southern slopes which must be crossed by the road which is connecting Sauris village and the plateau of Casera di Razzo. A few ravines of Monte Palone are a real geological exhibition. Coloured layers of different kinds of rocks are revealed by erosion and some ravines are still causing landslide troubles to the road, especially every end of winter. On this slope many different rocks are layered, on the picure right above it is nicely seen how they change with altitude. For example, above the Belerophon formation (upper Perm) you can see the early Triassic Werfen formation.
Towards the E-SE in the ridge there are the following elevations: Monte Oberkofel / Ouberkhouvl, 2034 m and Monte Festons, 1934 m. Beyond Sella Festons, 1860 m, the narrow area of Monte Pieltinis already begins. On the northern side of the ridge there are two big alpine meadows: the first one around Casera Rioda, 1784 m, the second one around Casera Festons, 1833 m. They are both reached by a narrow mountain road from Sauris. The road is closed for public traffic.
As said, the whole ridge north of Sauris is very panoramic. Most beautiful are the views towards the north on the sharp mountain streak above Val Pesarina ("Dolomites di Val Pesarina"). From Sella di Razzo a marked path, numbered 206 goes by the whole ridge, avoiding just the highest points of it. Still, all the summits are easilly reachable, only some care on steep grassy slopes is needed. The path goes all the way on Monte Pieltinis from where it branches in several directions.
Just a few pictures here to illustrate the panorama.
1. The most obvious and recommendable point of departure is Sella di Rioda, 1783 m, which can be reached by the road from Sauris to Sella di Razzo. There the path No. 206 deters from the asphalt road towards the NE.
See the page of Monte Bivera to read about Sauris!
2. The second possible starting point is Sauris di Sopra. There a narrow mountain road starts, going northwards on the ridge.
3. As the slopes above Val Pesarina are quite high and steep, the trailhead for Monte Rioda in this valley starts already quite low, on 1255 m, where marked path No. 255 starts southwards.
1. From Sella di Rioda, 1783 m. By path No. 206 across the slopes of Monte Pezzocucco towards the NE. We gain the main ridge just above the picturesque ravine with coloured layers of rocks. Then mostly by the ridge, or by its southern or northern slopes towards the NE. After we cross the summit of Monte Palone, we descend a bit on the saddle 1965 m. Then by the steep grassy ridge directly on top. 1 h.
2. From Sauris di Sopra, 1394 m. By the road (marked path No. 204 3c) northwards towards Sella Festons. On 1777 m the path No. 206 deters left. It first crosses the southern slopes of Monte Festons, and then further on the southern slopes of all other elevations of the ridge. So, we can go by it till the saddle 1965 m and from there right on top, or we can ascend the main ridge and go by up and down to the highest point. 2 h. Tour #1 and #2 can be combined in a nice round hike, especially if we prepare bikes on Sella di Rioda to return quickly in Sauris. The other possibility of return to Sauris is over the alpine meadows on the northern side of the ridge (by the road).
3. From Val Pesarina, 1255 m. By the path No. 255 we go southwards to Casera Rioda and then around the western sire of Monte Rioda on the saddle 1965 m and on top. 2 h 30 min.
Monte Rioda can be ascended any time of a season. In winter the steep grassy slopes can be dangerous and require proper equipment.