The "sentiero del Cardinello
" is the wildest part of an historical "road" crossing the Alps !
This route/road was built by ancient Romans and was allowing to cross from (actual) Val Chiavenna to Rhein valley.
Used, very badly, by Napoleone I° and his troups ... they say that carrying guns along this road in winter can be dangerous ... but he ignored it so that some dozens of his soldiers died here.
Now it is a very fine walk-up that allows to get the Montespluga dam starting from Isola; some exposed ledges in the higher part, dangerous with snow and/or ice in fall, winter and spring, are well equipped by fixed metal ropes.
Perfect for a family walk and very fine, paying some attention, for mountain biking
Starting from Milan, along the SS 36 (Spluga) to Campodolcino.
At the fork forward to the left toward Isola.
the lake of Isola : starting point for the Cardinello path
Once you're in Isola cross the bridge over the stream, turn to the left (hydroelectric power station) and go on till a meadow where you can park the car, just before a no thoroughfare sign.
Estremely simple !
Follow the road, cross the small buit up area of Torni then go along the very fine mule track that leads you to Montespluga dam.
Keep always the left side of the valley (orographic), don't cross the stream, its useless.
I'm trying to describe it with images ...
|from the car parking.|
in the skyline the ridge of Piodaroli,
coming down from Cime di Val Loga toward East
| the last house on the other side of the valley||the first waterfall|
|the first waterfall from above||the beginning of the Cardinello valley,|
from this point you're almost always in the shade
|the first bridge : here you can turn to the left,|
cross the stream,
walk on a less fine path
before coming back to the right side
|the starting point of the paved path :|
starting from here you walk above some cliffs
|and the path goes on :|
on the left side you can see some fixed ropes
|the second bridge that allows you|
to come back if you've crossed the first one
|really strange to find a series of natural ledges into this kind of rock ..||little after the mid of the rocky part||the last cut in the rock, maybe cut by Romans,|
maybe natural ... don't know
|the dam of Montespluga lake suddenly comes out||getting the dam, with Pizzo Suretta growing in background||the stream of the Cardinello valley, while coming down|
|this is the ending point of the "sentiero del Cardinello", now the Via Spluga goes on on the left side|
the original (Roman) road is on the bottom of the lake and sometimes it can be seen ...
a small thought
I was doubtful wheter writing about this simple walk ...
but it is so fine and not too short : about 600m of difference in elevation into a wonderful scenery :)