Highland path – Second part

Our itinerary continues to discover the path of the high lands, which includes excursions divided into six distinct stages. In the previous article we briefly illustrated the first three tracks: the Toirano ring, the route that leads from Toirano to Pian delle Bosse and the one from Pian delle Bosse to Colle del Melogno. Today we will talk about the other three, with useful information on places of departure and arrival, travel time and level of difficulty.


From the Colle del Melogno to Pian dei Corsi

Departure: Colle Melogno
Arrival: Pian dei Corsi
Distance: 2h 45 ′
Difficulty: Hiking

At the beginning we leave behind the central stronghold of the Melogno, to take the former state road 490 which descends towards Finale Ligure. After a bend, a neo-Gothic style house appears in a park of horse chestnuts and is flanked by a chapel decorated with a rose window on the facade. The road slowly descends along the southern flanks of Mount Settepani, among beech woods, meadows, heather, juniper, birch and hazel. The route then arrives at the intersection with the provincial road 15 which must be taken before continuing along the main road 23 in the direction of Calice Ligure; in this sense one enters the territory of the municipality of Rialto. Proceed through beech woods, red oak woods parallel to the provincial road; then we reach the chapel of the Madonna della Neve. After a few minutes of walking slightly downhill you enter the beech forest that dominates the entire wood. At a crossroads, go left and after a few meters, turn left again at a second intersection and begin to climb. The last quarter of an hour of walking is in the shade of beech trees and you arrive at the provincial road for Carbuta, at the entrance to the Pian dei Corsi forest nursery.

From Pian dei Corsi to Colla San Giacomo

Departure: Pian dei Corsi
Arrival: Colla San Giacomo
Distance: 2h 15 ′
Difficulty: Hiking

It starts from the refuge going up the provincial road to the junction for the entrance to the nursery; after five minutes of light and straight ascent, at the first bend to the left you leave the road and go up to the north. Go up a ridge and cross a beech forest where the trail traces a slalom. It takes a breath along a flat stretch and enters the territory of Calice Ligure. At this point, the path of the high lands makes its way through a hazelnut grove towards the military base, while the landscape is outlined by the imposing figures of the wind turbines. From here to the Glue of San Giacomo the path coincides with that of the high way of the Ligurian mountains traced in 2009. The highest point is at an altitude of 1033 meters; from the Scoglio Cappellin, a rocky terrace, the panorama extends over the Bormida valley, with the towns of Carcare and Cairo Montenotte in plain sight. If you are lucky, on particularly clear days, a sector of the Alpine chain also appears. The last rocky outcrops of Pian dei Corsi go around and a path coming from the right leads to the Siri refuge. With a pleasant descent you reach the Giogo di Cravarezza where numerous paths converge. The path of the high lands runs along the southern slope of Bric del Borro where it winds its way up and down the ridge, towards the summit of Bric Praboé. From here to the Colla of San Giacomo it takes twenty minutes; you follow a trail that is very popular with cyclists, including curves, humps and descents. You will come out onto the meadow of the pass and rejoin the historical path of the high way of the Ligurian mountains.

From Colla San Giacomo to Spotorno

Departure: Colla San Giacomo
Arrival: Spotorno
Distance: 5h 30 ′
Difficulty: Hiking

The path of the high lands moves away from the small church-refuge to enter the hazel grove; then comes out into the open in a clearing covered with ferns with a panoramic opening on the rocky walls of the Finale and enters a mule track. Going downhill, in about ten minutes, you reach a hairpin bend of a carriage road, along a ridge with a remarkable view, from which you can also see the Gallinara island. A few tens of meters later, in the valley, the ruins of the Cascina di Prà Martino cross. From here, go downhill for about 600m, at the first junction turn left along a forest road. You always walk immersed in the woods, until you cross the road that goes from San Giacomo to the Rocche Bianche. After a hundred meters, on the right there is a path that leads near a small house, which becomes a comfortable road that goes slowly to the east. Arrived at a crossroads proceed to the right along an old path, which goes straight up to the Bric Frabosa. Return to the side facing the sea and the view opens onto the hamlets of Vezzi Portio. We recommend a detour to Bric Frabosa at an altitude of 673 meters: from here you can enjoy a 360 degree view, between Mount Settepani and Mount Alto,  including the coastal areas of Albenga, up to Val Merula with Pizzo Evigno; under the plateaus and the valleys of the Finale, with the inhabitants on the ridge in plain sight. In the East the perspective closes with the rounded top of the Bric Colombino, which will arrive after a couple of hours. There is a mule track at the base of the forest which leads to the square in the Cava delle Rocche Bianche in five minutes. The quarry road ends at a municipal road that runs for about 700 meters to the junction, where you take a forest road first and then a mule track. After a bit of walking we reach the Bric del Forno, with a suggestive view of the Valley of the Segno and the Bay of Pirates. Once you reach the summit of Bric Colombino, follow the ridge on the eastern side. The next stop is the summit of Mount Mao: the panorama embraces the Gulf of Genoa to the east, up to the Tuscan coast, with a glance over the territory of Spotorno. The descent towards Spotorno takes about fifty minutes, at the end of which you reach the Aurelia along via Antica Romana.

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