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The Gran San Bernardo Pass and its high-altitude environments

In these valleys, you can still appreciate the true mountain, the same that existed thousands of years ago. Harsh yet fascinating panoramic views of ancient origin: it is sufficient to recall that this pass was an important passageway for the emperor Augustus. Today it is still possible to admire certain vestiges of the Roman route which was built in the 2nd c. B.C. and to reach the Hospice founded in 1045 as a welcome refuge for the many travelers and pilgrims who undertook the Via Francigena. An active site which preserves a great spirituality even today. The most spectacular passageway of the Pass is undoubtedly the one crossed by Napoleon in 1800 with his 40.000 men, 5.000 horses, 50 cannons and 8 howitzers. The approach to the history of this environment includes the knowledge of very important species of fauna and flora: in particular, theAllium victorialis and the Barbarea intermedia, which are uniquely endemic to this region within the Gran San Bernardo gorge. Of great interest, the extremely rare Carabus monilis, in addition to Stein-bocks, Chamois, Hares, Ermines and the White Grouse which animate the slopes of this very old, high-altitude fascinating landscape, to the border with Switzerland.

Activities

  • Hiking and Trekking

    All itineraries are described in the TRAILS section.

  • Mountain Biking

    There are no marked trails for bikers.

  • Horseback Riding

    When the snow has melted, the trail marked for snowshoeing can also be undertaken on horseback: from Saint-Rhémy-en-Bosses to the Gran San Bernardo Pass, with some difficult passages from a technical point of view.

  • Snowshoe Trekking

    The best-known itinerary starts from the village of Saint-Rhémy-en-Bosses (1.615 m) and goes up to the Gran San Bernardo Pass (2.485m). In order to ensure a safe and pleasant excursion, it is recommended to consult the regional snow and weather forecasts before your departure.

Discover the site

The best period to enjoy the spread of blossoming and the vast landscape is during the summer months of July and August. In winter, the rigid temperatures and the high risk of avalanches make the Pass inaccessible. Due to its vastness and incredibly varied landscape, the site is suitable for families with children, school groups as well as expert hikers. Its ancient origins are enriching not only from a naturalistic point of view, but from a historical and religious one as well.


Behavioural conduct rules

We remind you that you can contribute to the preservation of these sites by following these simple rules:

visit the site on foot, with skis or snowshoes; avoid using motorized vehicles, boating equipment, hang-gliders, para-gliders or similar; mountain bikes and horseback riding are permitted only in specific authorized areas (external to the site): please respect hikers;

please stay within the marked trails, as trampling can ruin the fragile grass and undergrowth areas; in winter, please follow the recommended trails so as not to disturb animals which are fighting against hunger and cold;

please observe wild animals from a distance, do not capture them, do not disturb them nor feed them, and do not photograph occupied nests;

keep your dog on a leash and on the marked trails;

do not pick minerals or flowers;

do not make fires;

please bring your garbage back to the villages, where you will find many recyclable waste-collection points;

camping is permitted only for nightly bivouacs at an altitude of over 2500 meters; take care not to wash your dishware in springs or stagnant ponds of water; campers and trailers must be parked outside of the park, in specific authorized areas.

How to get there

By car

The area can be reached only in summer, from June 1st to September 30th, when the passageway is open to vehicles transiting through the Gran San Bernardo Pass. The S.S. 27 road runs through the site and joins the Valle d’Aosta region to the canton of Valais in Switzerland.
During the winter season, the risk of avalanches due to important snow precipitations is very high; it is therefore recommended to approach the site on foot, or with snowshoes and/or alpine skis.

Accessibility codification of sites

VIVA has chosen to supply everyone – youngsters, adults, the elderly and the disabled – with all the sites’ information so as to allow the visitor to choose a destination in an autonomous way.
An “Accessibility Codification”has thus been defined.


The Gran San Bernardo Pass and its high-altitude environments

Information to reach the site 2
Accessibility from main roads 2
Parking for the disabled 1
Accessible restrooms 1
Information panels 0
Slopes (max 8%) 0
Trail width (min 90cm) 0
Road surface 0
Resting areas approx every 10 m 0
Safety and protection of trails 1
Periodic maintenance 1

GENERAL INDICATIONS – ASSESSMENT VALUES (0 ÷ 3):
0 corresponds to ABSENCE of the indicated parameter;
3 corresponds to the PRESENCE of the indicated parameter, in optimal condition;
1 – 2 are INTERMEDIATE VALUES: in general, they indicate the presence of the parameter which must however be improved (1 = sufficient, 2 = close to optimal)

Paths

More paths :

VIVA suggests:

Short path

Maison de refuge

  • Elevation gain : 600 m
  • Travel time: 2h
  • Signposting: 13-13B-TDC

What to see:

Period:

Average path

Col de Saint Rhemy

  • Elevation gain : 582 m
  • Travel time: 1h30
  • Signposting: 12

What to see:

Period:

Easy trails: routes that present no major technical difficulties or too challenging slopes. They can be covered in full or in small sections, allowing in both cases to come into contact with unspoilt nature, discovering its pace and balance …

Medium difficult trails: routes that can be covered in a day, varying considerably in terms of height differences and technical difficulty; the benefit is in being able to reach wildlife destinations of great impact.

Long trails: excursions lasting several days which provide for stopover places and catering along the route.

cartina The Gran San Bernardo Pass and its high-altitude environments

SIC SIC IT1205020

Municipality: Saint-Rhémy-en-Bosses

Surface: 750 ha

Altitude: 1.860 ÷ 3.014 m s.l.m.

Responsible forest station:
Etroubles

Activities

In cammino verso Roma

In cammino verso Roma
La via Franchigena, un itinerario di grande fascino, dichiarato dal Consiglio d'Europa “Grande Itinerario Culturale Europeo”.

Great St Bernard. From every angle

Great St Bernard. From every angle
Discover the special flowers hidden here, admire the marvellous sight of the sky reflected in the lake, and have your breath taken away by the horizon.

“Soldats de la neige” and smugglers

“Soldats de la neige” and smugglers
On the trails of history, reliving the stories and adventures of smugglers and the “Soldats de la neige”.

“Soldats de la neige” and smugglers

“Soldats de la neige” and smugglers
On the trails of history, reliving the stories and adventures of smugglers and the “Soldats de la neige”.

Great St Bernard. ...

Great St Bernard.  ...
Discover the special flowers hidden here, admire the marvellous sight of the sky reflected in the lake, and have your breath taken away by the horizon.

VIVA recommends the premises belonging to the network “Saveurs du Val d’Aoste

Saveurs du Val d'Aoste