Monte Zeda (2156m) is the highest peak of the ridge that close the west side of the Val Grande National Park separating by the Lake Verbano. It rises form the west shore of the Lake Maggiore for about 2000 meters as a large perfect pyramid visible from Milano and Pianura Padana.
Monte Zeda is included in the Val Grande National Park, settled in 1992 for the safeguard and preservation of Val Grande, the greatest inhabited area of Italy. It is a area of mountains and forests, with a unique ecosystem. A paradise for who is looking for "wilderness". All the peaks there are above 2200 meters, covered by woods, bushes and grass. But the mountains are steeped, with severe and spectacular rocky formations. Peaks rise of about 1500 and more meters form the bottom of the two river (Pogallo and San Bernardo). Just few path allow the visitors to walk into the wilderness. Val Grande offers to the visitors the pleasure to walk in untouched nature and wilderness at less then 100 km from Milano. In the centre of the park there is the "Integral reserve Cima Pedum", a part of the park which has never got permanent human settlement.
Together with Pizzo Proman was a strategic military point to control the access to Milano via Sempione or the Ticino valley. In 1916, during the WW1, it was built a military defensive line, known as Linea Cadorna to protect the north of Italy (Milano and Pianura Padana) by a supposed but rather impossible invasion by Central Empires (Germany and Austria-Hungary) via Switzerland. The Linea Cadorna it is a system of 72 km of trenches, 88 artillery positions, 11 fortress, lodgistic structures, observatories, 296 km of roadway and 398 Km of military way (mulattiere) for humans and animals (at that time a lot of the light artillery was transported by humans and mules!). It is located on the Piemonte-Lombardia Alpes and Prealpes form Monte Massone (close to Monte Rosa) till Monte Legnone and Alpi Orobie (Valtellina).
To reach the Monte Zeda there are three different way: East Ridge, South Ridge and Sentiero Bove (North Ridge).
Here is described the East Ridge
(I) drive along the A8 higway direction Varese-Como-Gravellona Toce. Then after Busto Arsizio, follow the A26 "Gravellona Toce-Genova". In Gallarate you will find the crossroad of the A8/A8dir-A26: go streight to "Gravellona Toce-Genova-Sempione" direction.
Drive on the A26 till the exit Verbania then follow the National Street SS 34 direction Verbania arrived at Fondo Toce look carefully for the bivy to Cabiasca-Intragna-Aurano. Follow till Aurano and once passed it look for deviation “il Colle” and “Passo Folngo”. Passed il Colle the street become very narrow and just only in the beginning with tormac (name via L. Cadorna). Drive on that till it is possible. Then park the car and walk.
(CH): drive to Locarno – Ascona and pass the border with Italy in Brissago. Arrived in Cannero look for the bivy to Trarego-Viggiona. The roadway ends up in “il Colle” and then it is the same as above.
(Note: you can arrive in Cannero also from Verbania direction Brissago following the lake)
From il Colle follow the military way to the Passo Folungo (1369m). The military way follows on the large south-east side of Zeda. By foot it is better to follow the East ridge: once arrived close to the top of Monte Vadà (1814m) you can easily return on the military way till Pian Vadà (1829m) and then easily left the military way you reach the top cross (2156m).
From the top a spectacular view of the Pianura Padana, Verbano and other Sub-Alpine Lakes (Varese, Monate, Comabbio, Orta), Milano. From south east to North west you might recognise Monte Viso and the Pennin Alps: Monte Rosa, Strahlhorn-Rimpflishhorn-Allalinhorn-Alphubel, Mischabel, Andolla, Weissmiess-Lagginhorn-Fletschorn. Spectacular view on Lepontine Alps (Monte Leone), Fiesnsteraarhorn then far in the East the Bernina-Disgrazia.
The itinerary in short:
•About 900 meters form il Colle (1220m) to the Monte Zeda (2156m); about 15 km one way, 3:30 – 4 hours
•Red and white marks
•Season: late Spring (May-June: wait the melting of the snow that might cover the military path and make some passages rather dangerous) or Autumn (September-November)
•Water only close to Passo Folungo.
: from Intragna follow to the chapel of Il Gabbio. Then once left the car keep walking on the ridge to La Piazza and Trecciura till to the top of Il Pizzo (1644m). Follow the ridge to I Balmill (1667m) and then follow all the south ridge of Monte Zeda passing by Colle della Forcola (1588m), Pizzo Marona (2051m) to the top of Monte Zeda (2156m)
Val Grande can offer you nice walking and hiking during all the year.
In the winter time, from November to April be careful for the snow. Severe avalanches danger!
form November till april might be worthy keep an axe and crampons.
Do not underextimate the last exposed ridge
If you intend to explore the Val Grande a standard hiking equipment might be appropriate.
CNS 1:5000 blat 285 Domodossola
Kompass Map "Lago Maggiore" AND "Domodossola".
Inside the park camping is forbidden.
There are some nice bivouac with fireplaces, furniture and beds (with or without mattress):
1)Bivacco Alpe la Colma
2)Pivacco In la Piana
3)Bivacco Alpe val Gabbia
4)Bivacco Alpe Scaredi
5)Bivacco Bocchetta di Campo
6)Bivacco Alpe Pian di Boit
7)Casa dell’Alpino, Alpe Pra
official website of Val Grande Park:
a site about valgrande, in italian:
The region around the Lake Verbano or Lago Maggiore is reach of hystory and art monuments.
Close to Milano, in Angera, on the Lombardia side you can visit Angera, as well in Leggiuno the Abby of Santa Caterina (8t-10th century).
Testimonal of the stone age you can find in Valgrande as well everywehere in the mountains.
Visit also the Isole Borromee archipelago, Verbania, Stersa and Pallanza.
Not so far there is also the Holy Mountains of Orta San Giulio.
Around Val Grande there are several buildings of the military defensive line called Linea Cadorna built in 1916 in case of an eventual but rather impossible invasion by Central Empires via Switzerland
In Val Grande there are many peaks you can visit: Cima di Campo, Pizzo Pedum, Cima Marsicce, Corona di Ghina, Pizzo Proman, Laurasca.
Few suggestion to visit Val Grande
1. Cima Sasso form Cicogna
2. Cima della Laurasca from Malesco
3. Monte Zeda from Intragna or Miazzina via Pizzo Marona
4. The Premosello-Malesco: from Premosello via Alpe Lut-alpe La Piana - Alpe la Colam (possible deviation for the Pizzo Proman, panoramic point)- Alpe Colletto - La Piana (bivouac) - Alpe Boschelli - Alpe Scaredi (bivouac) (in about 1 hours you can arrive to the top of Cima Laurasca) - Fornaci - Malesco (2 days)
5. Pizzo Proman