From the parking area, we walk downhill to the Alevè Refuge. Shortly before reaching it, a path branches off to the left ad climbs steeply into the magnificent Alevè Wood with its ancient and fragrant Swiss stone pines.
After turning left, we emerge out into the open and continue around a semi-circle taking us back and inwards to reach the Grongios Martre Refuge (1736 m) further on – a delightful, cosy mountain hut built using local materials: stone and Swiss stone pine.
The climb continues behind it and soon we come out into the open again near the isolated Peiro Grongetto stone hut. The pyramid of the imposing Pelvo d’Elva (3064 m) appears on the opposite side of the Varaita valley, rising suddenly from the Colle della Bicocca.
We do not take the path on the right (it will be our return route) but continue straight into the dense and enchanting pine woods.
We follow a semi-circle to the right and, ignoring a number of variants, reach the wide and evocative Pian Caval clearing, with a marvellous view of the upper reaches of Monviso.
Higher up, do not take the path leading to Lago Secco but turn to the left to climb among splendid Swiss stone pines and reach, after a few hundred metres, the feet of the Bagnour Refuge (2017 m), standing on the banks of the small, shallow lake of the same name. This location is extremely evocative and instils a profound sensation of peace and inner quiet.
From the opposite (east) shore of the lake, it is well worth taking the narrow trail into the deep Duc Valley to reach after a few dozen metres or so a majestic and monumental Swiss stone pine that is more than 550 years old.
Returning to Lago Bagnour, we begin the return trip in a southerly direction by taking the loop leading us downhill passing close by Lago Secco (1890 m). Despite its name, you may often find that this “Dry Lake” actually has water in it.
Continuing downhill, we reach a crossroads a little further on. Turn right and, ignoring all the other variants, follow a long stretch into the woods, first downwards and then uphill, that closes the loop near Grangia Peiro Grongetto, which we already passed on the outward trek.
Then we simply move downhill towards the Grongios Martre Refuge and finally back to the car, ending this spectacular itinerary in the enchanted Alevè Wood.