Lago di Narèt


This summer I cycled Colle del Nivolet and said: “This may be the most beautiful high Alps paved climb I have ever cycled. Seriously.” Now, cycling the fabulous climb to Lago di Naret, I was reminded of Nivolet:

  1. Both have several beautiful alpine lakes/dams.
  2. Both are huge and high with approximately 2000 metres of vertical climb.
  3. Both are stunning.

Colle del Nivolet is higher and probably a little more spectacular, but it only gets “fun” for the final 15 kms or so. Whereas Lago di Narèt feels more remote and, importantly, the entire 32 kms is superb …. although the top half is easily the highlight.

I started in the village of Bignasco. Most of the early kilometres are fairly easy as the road climbs through a narrow valley with mountains on each side. It is so low that it feels lush. After 10 kilometres, at Peccia, there is a fabulous series of 12 hairpins and the road gets steep, stepping up into another plateau. Tough to photograph due to all the trees, but fun to ride:

About half way to the summit is Fusio, the last village. From this point, the route is ultra quiet. Above Fusio, the road climbs to a large diga (Italian for dam) and the Lago del Sambuco.

I stopped atop the dam to buy a drink, and the sales guy told me that the route to the summit had not opened – due to snow – until July 3rd this year.

The road continues for three flat kilometres beside this large lake. It is an absolute blast to ride this stretch.

Lago del Sambuco

Lago del Sambuco

If the climb had ended here at Lago del Sambuco, it would have been a very good ride. But it was about to get far more exciting. After Lago del Sambuco, the rest of the route is difficult. While the profile shows a bunch of full kilometres at 10%, 11%, 12%, etc – there are some short stretches much, much steeper – hard work, but in a beautiful setting.

After a short descent at 26 kilometres, the road turns up for real. I was working hard, approaching the tree line when a herd of goats came galloping down the mountain. There was one giant king goat that eyed me, and yes, I was slightly nervous. 🙂


And the road climbs higher:



In the final few kilometres, there are three more small lakes before reaching Lago di Naret. It’s a truly beautiful location: high, savage, surrounded by alpine peaks.

View of Laghetti Superiore and Laghetti Lassolo

View of Laghetti Superiore and Laghetti Lassolo



Laghetti Superiore:  A heart shaped lake?

Laghetti Superiore: A heart shaped lake?

At Lago Scuro, there is a small descent and then a final ramp beside the big Diga del Narèt.

Lago Scuro, and thie Diga (dam) del Narèt

Lago Scuro, and the Diga (dam) del Narèt

There are in fact two dams for Lago del Narèt. They are paved and I cycled across both. There is also an unpaved road around the left side of the lake which I followed to the far side. Here is a hiking trailhead. Perhaps a future mountain bike project?

On the dam

On the dam

As I began descending, I thought that whoever had decided to build a road here was either insane or a genius (that enjoyed cycling). A truly amazing climb.

View of final kilometre from the dam

View of final kilometre from the dam

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A paved road to the end of the world. A truly great climb.

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Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. Pingback: Here are my ten favourite alpine Road Bike Climbs of 2014.

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  3. Fantastic climb, thanks will!! Here i did the “crazy thing” of the year (until now) especially with the hiking trail until Passo Naret at 2430mt and the descent to Bedretto walley until Alpe Cristallina at1800mt. (90′ in total walking, sometimes bike on shoulder). From here start a nice gravel road that in 4 km (sometimes very steep) join to main road from Airolo to NufenenPass. My trip have been continued with Gothard & Susten and the day after i closed the loop with the up&down from GrosseScheidegg, Grimsel,Furka,Oberalp & Lukmanier. Fantastic area to cycling, here the pictures of that incredible two days:

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