GardaTrek - Low Loop 1: from Riva del Garda to Arco
Garda Trentino Verified partner Explorers Choice
The BastionePhoto: Patrizia N. Matteotti (Archivio Garda Trentino), Garda Trentino
The first stage of the trek links the two main towns in Garda Trentino and takes you from Riva del Garda to Arco.
This trail takes in the entire western area of Garda Trentino and traces a semicircle across the slopes of the mountains surrounding the lower stretch of the River Sarca.
Along the way you can stop off in some of the places steeped in local history which have become symbols of Garda Trentino.
- Bastione di Riva del Garda: shortly after the start of the trail you can take a short detour to Bastione, a fortress built by the Venetians to defend the harbour of Riva and an excellent viewing point over the town and the northern part of Lake Garda.
- The church of San Lorenzo in Tenno: this little chapel has some of the oldest frescos in the Trento region, dating back to the 12th century. The chapel is at the southern end of the fortified village of Frapporta, a group of medieval houses huddled about Tenno Castle.
- Arco Castle: the castle is situated atop a cliff overlooking the entire upper end of Lake Garda. Here you can visit the ruins of a number of buildings.
Have you ever considered hiking in winter? GardaTrek Low Loop is the ideal route in the ideal place: not too difficult, never too cold.
The Low Loop intersects with some of the trails in the “Hidden Treasures” series, easy hikes recommended for anyone interested in finding out more about the history, literary connections and art of Garda Trentino. For example, you can explore the terraced farmland of Tenno or dive into the past of Arco and relive the atmosphere of the Belle Epoque when the town was an internationally renowned Kurort with a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients. Click here to find these itineraries.
- Choose itineraries that suit your physical and technical abilities. Collect information about the area you are visiting and the trail’s conditions and get a detailed trekking map.
- Wear clothes and take equipment that suit the difficulty and length of your tour. Keep emergency gear in your rucksack, including first aid supplies.
- Do not go walking alone in the mountains. In any case, tell someone where you are going and report back on returning.
- Look at the weather forecast before setting off and always keep an eye on the weather.
- In case of doubt, go back. It is better to give up than risk bad weather or face difficulties beyond your strength, ability and equipment.
- Do not leave marked paths and do not take shortcuts.
- All described walks are in a natural environment and therefore their use is at your own risk.
This information is subject to inevitable variations, so none of these indications are absolute. It is not entirely possible to avoid giving inexact or imprecise information, given how quickly environmental and weather conditions can change. For this reason, we decline any responsibility for changes which the user may encounter. In any case, it is advisable to check environment and weather conditions before setting out.
Tips and hints
The first stage of the Low Loop ends at Arco. Here you can stay overnight before continuing on your way. If you choose to do so, we recommend you opt for one of our Outdoor Friendly hospitality partners who offer special facilities for sports lovers. Otherwise, you can take public transport back to the point you started from (See Getting there tab).
For more information on routes, services (guides, mountain huts, shops etc.) and hiking friendly accommodation: Garda Trentino - +39 0464 554444
The trail leaves from Riva del Garda at the car park in Via Monte Oro and climbs on a paved road SAT 404 towards Bastione. Shortly before the fortress above Riva, turn right onto the forestry road SAT 402 until you come to the ruins of the chapel of Maria Maddalena. Now head across the hillside until you come down to Foci San Giacomo at the base of the gulley of the Albola stream. Now continue along the ancient Via Occidentale or Western Road with its stone walls and, towards the end, some brief stretches along the main road, until you come to Deva.
Here turn right on the hairpin bend onto a dirt track which leads down to the valley of the Magnone stream where there is a fish farm. At the other end of a short tunnel below the fish farm, cross the stream and head steeply uphill to the Romanesque church of San Lorenzo. The trail continues over the brow of the hill and through the medieval village of Frapporta to Tenno Castle.
Head downhill one hundred metres or so along the main road in the direction of Riva del Garda and turn onto an asphalt farm road which crosses the vineyards overlooking the Garda Trentino plain until you come to Novino. Now head uphill once more on a dirt track through the deep ravine of Valle del Tovo between the sheer rocky walls of Monte Biaina and Calino. When you come to a sharp bend to left, leave the road and turn onto a trail which takes you to the other side of the ravine. Now head downhill on SAT 409 which joins the road from Varignano to Padaro and San Giovanni. Follow this road uphill for fifty metres or so and then take the first farm road on the right which leads across the olive grove at the base of the limestone slabs of Monte Baone. You pass along the base of the Falesia del Baone crag, the first in the world to be bolted for disabled climbers, and – passing around a particular limestone promontory – follow a path which takes you to the Laghel valley and the start of the Stations of the Cross.
Rather than follow the asphalt road down towards Arco, head towards Arco Castle which now towers above you, and after a hundred metres or so, turn right onto the path to the Castle. Climb as far as the tourney grounds, Prato della Lizza, at the foot of the tower, and visit the fortress. Now return to the trail and take the paved lane on the left across the olive groves above the centre of Arco. Keep to the higher trail, avoiding the turn-offs leading down towards the town which we will reach at the eastern end at the bridge over the River Sarca. This is the end of the first stage.
The entire trek is clearly marked with “GardaTrek Low Loop” signposts.
The main towns in Garda Trentino - Riva del Garda, Arco, Torbole sul Garda, Nago – are connected by several urban and intercity bus lines which will take you to the starting point of tours or in the immediate surroundings.
You can also get to Riva del Garda and Torbole sul Garda by the public ferry service.
Up-to-date information on timetables and routes.
The start of the trail SAT 404 is in via Monte Oro in Riva del Garda, near the covered pay parking.
Find out how to reach Garda Trentino.
Parking near the former hospital (Via Rosmini) or the former cemetery (Viale Damiano Chiesa).
Paid parking: Terme Romane (Viale Roma), Vecchia stazione (Largo Medaglie d’Oro), Ex-agraria (Via Lutti), Area ex-Cattoi (Viale Rovereto).
Author’s map recommendations
Garda Trentino TREKKING Map – Available in the info points of Garda Trentino (Riva del Garda, Arco, Torbole sul Garda, Ledro, Comano Terme)
You need to wear the right clothing and take the proper gear when you go hiking in the mountains. Even on relatively short easy outings make sure to take all you need so you don't run into trouble if things take an unexpected turn, for example a storm blows up or you have a sudden drop in energy levels.
What should you take when you go on a hike?
Your rucksack (for a day trip a 25/30L capacity should do) should contain:
- water canteen (1L)
- snacks (e.g. mixed dried fruit or chocolate)
- First aid kit
- windproof jacket
- change of t-shirt and socks (in a plastic bag)
- make sure to wear or at least bring a pair of long trousers
- sun screen
- whistle to attract attention in an emergency
Make sure you're wearing the right footwear for the trail and season. The going can get rough and rocky underfoot and a pair of hiking boots will protect you from sprains. When wet, a grassy slope, rocky slab or steep trail can be dangerous unless you are wearing the proper footwear.
And finally... don't forget to bring your camera! You'll need it to capture the stunning views you come across all over Garda Trentino. And if you like, you can share your memories with us at #GardaTrentino.
Emergency telephone number 112.
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- 4 Waypoints
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