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On the Old Mule Trail from Loco to Intragna

Loco - Niva - Vosa - Pila - Intragna

Route Infos ▾ | Tour Ratings (0) ▾ | Tours in the Vicinity ▾ | Favourite Entries (4)

Loco - Niva - Vosa - Pila - Intragna

Published/updated on 06.03.2017 by GabrielleMerk | 27362 points
 | Date of Tour: 01.03.2017 | Favourite Entries (4) 

In the Middle Ages, the old mule trail “Via delle Vose” was the only road connecting the villages of the wild and steep Onsernone Valley with the harbour and markets at Ascona and Locarno on Lake Maggiore, where the residents traded their goods (mostly hats and baskets made of straw) for items they required for everyday life in the remote valley.

This historical trail is paved with stones across the entire 6 km from Loco to Intragna and the trail, including the dry-stone walls, have undergone a series of restorations across the years.

In earlier times, the steep mountain flank below Loco in the Onsernone valley was extensively and painstakingly converted into a system of terraces for the cultivation of grapes for wine. As this work done by hand was very labour intensive, the hillsides eventually reverted to forests, but in recent times, community projects have rebuilt the terraces, and a unique organic wine is produced here. Just West of the cluster of homes the old lever wine press built at the end of the 17th century still stands.

As far back as the 16th century, there was an impressive stone bridge across the Isorno River in the steep valley, but the bridge was unfortunately destroyed in a storm in 1978 and replaced in 2016 by the current architecturally unique modern wood and cement one.

After the always breathtaking bus ride from Locarno into the Onsernone valley, the hike starts on the West end of Loco, descending to Niva, then crossing the Isorno River, and ascending on the right side of the gorge, always walking on the stone-paved trail, which is never too narrow or steep or exposed.

Near the chapel in Vosa you get the first spectacular views into the Melazza valley where the river from the Centovalli meets the Isorno and snakes its way to the Maggia Delta at Locarno and Ascona. After passing through the little vacation village of Pila you make the final descent to Intragna, whose 65-m tall bell tower is the highest tower in Canton Ticino.

Published/updated on 06.03.2017 by GabrielleMerk (27362 points) | Date of Tour: 01.03.2017

Route Infos

Time Required
2 hours 30 minutes
6 km
270 m
610 m
Max. Altitude
682 m
Min. Altitude
337 m
Season Start / Season End
March - November
Level of Difficulty (Hiking)
Points of Interest
- 400-year-old lever grape press (Torchio) in Niva - Unique modern bridge over the Isorno River, designed / built by Christian Menn
Starting Point
Starting Point with Public Transport
Return with Public Transport
Places to Eat
Loco, Intragna
Things to Note
This spring 2017 renovations are taking place in the main square of Intragna and the cobblestones are all torn up.

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  • Detailed map with traced route on SwissMobility map, including elevation profile
  • GPS file for download
  • Route description in text form
  • Printable tour description



Tour Ratings 

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