Fresh mountain water

At the Zum Hirschen in Senale-San Felice (BZ), to discover the lakes and waterfalls
between Alta Val di Non and Val d’Ultimo

Italy, Bolzano – In summer, water doesn’t just mean the sea. On the contrary, it is like a stream that flows from the tired habits towards the new experience, the most secret and best kept corners, away from the resignation of the queues on the motorway and extremely close to a place of the soul as the Zum Hirschen of Senale-San Felice (BZ), emblem of a tourism carved in the soft laws of slow-sophia in Upper Val di Non. This outpost of well-being of body and spirit, where contemporary design has overlapped with lightness and respect for a centuries-old tradition of hospitality, is the ideal starting point to follow – taking advantage of the advice of the family Mocatti – the footprints of water between Trentino and Alto Adige, along a trail that sees as its first stop Lake Tret, known by hikers and families who – in summer – take advantage of the sun’s rays and mild climate to relax, fish or even swim. It is a simple walk, in which the path and the forest tracts follow one another in harmony between larch woods and meadows and then flow into the crystal clear shimmer of the liquid surface, which reflects the mountains.
Still in Alta Val di Non, in the Maddalene group that marks the northern boundary of the valley, the small lake of Mount Luco (2182 metres) invites you to a gentle stop on its grassy banks for a picnic or a nap in the sun, perhaps with your feet soaking in the fresh, clean water, before resuming your journey and reaching the summit of Mount Luco (2434 metres). From the wooden cross that marks the summit, the 360° panorama takes your breath away: to the north the Val Passiria, the Gruppo del Tessa and Merano, to the south the Gruppo del Brenta, to the west the green Val d’Ultimo and to the east the Sarentino Alps. But from the lake, only 20 minutes away, you can also reach Piccolo Luco (2297 m): from the top, the view opens over the Adige Valley and the Passeier Valley to the north and towards Bolzano and the Dolomites to the south.
Perfect for a day trip, the Zoggler reservoir in Val d’Ultimo is the largest reservoir in the area, about two kilometres long and characterised by a surprise finale with the imposing 66.5-metre-high dam. Under its waters, as those who equip themselves with tanks and wetsuits for diving know well, rest 12 farms, for over a thousand years considered among the most beautiful in the area. From the lake car park, the “Seeweg” is a walk full of stories, fairy tales and legends, which also crosses a Kneipp oasis, open from May to October, and that allows you to reach the end of the route in less than an hour. But you cannot visit Val d’Ultimo without passing through Santa Gertrude, the last village in this valley that seems to be enchanted. From the Visitor Centre of the Stelvio Park, on foot, you can walk along the stream through beautiful farmsteads and green meadows to the millenary larches, considered the oldest conifers in Europe. Touching the bark of these trees is a real emotion: these giants of the earth existed 2000 years ago, when there was no trace of the world we know now.
Perfect for an excursion with the whole family also the Emerald Lake of Fondo (TN): the walk that from the center of the country leads to the canyon and the lake is a small wonder of the Val di Non. The atmosphere is fairytale, the water of the Rio Sass flows fast near the path that follows the course in the opposite direction, and continuing to walk you get to the old mill that rests on a wall of the canyon. Continuing on the path carved out of the rock and on the footbridges overlooking the river, hits the roar of water from a small waterfall and then finally arrive at the beautiful Emerald Lake, an artificial lake of 10 thousand square meters, bathing in summer and really impressive. Returning to Fondo, in the heart of the historic village, the Museum “Casa dell’Acqua” tells of the close link with the valley with rivers and lakes and the history of the streams and canyons of Val di Non, with interactive spaces for the whole family.
The most evocative of the places of water offered by the Val di Non, as the Zum Hirschen is always pointing out, is undoubtedly the Tret Waterfall, surrounded by an amazing landscape, where the jet formed at the top dives from about 70 meters between the rock walls towards the canyon of the Rio Novella, and then creeps into the woods and continue its run. This spectacle can be seen from above, but above all from below, along a path through steps and wooden bridges that lead to the base, where water splashes are the contribution of nature to the fight against summer heat, which here seems only a distant memory.


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