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Garda Trek - Top Loop 1: from Riva del Garda to Rifugio Pernici
Riva del Garda, Ledro
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This stage counts nearly 1600 metres of elevation gain, from the mediterranean shores of Lake Garda to the alpine peaks between Garda Trentino and Valle di Ledro. 

The first stage of Garda Treks takes you from the Mediterranean ambience of the centre of Riva del Garda to the alpine environment of the ridges which lead you one step after another to the mountain hut Rifugio Pernici.

This trail starts out with a very tough stretch, gaining altitude fast as you head up the steep slopes of Monte Rocchetta on the trail SAT 418. The elevation gain is approx. 1550 m, but it's well worth the effort as you enjoy the fabulous views on both sides once you get to the ridge. 

Please note that along the route there is nowhere to stop off for refreshments. So make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks.

In the vicinity of Rifugio Pernici you can find a number of trenches dating back to the First World War. This was in fact part of the Austrian defence line. The building which today hosts the hut was built during that period as an officers' cantine.

Further information and useful links
  • The mountain hut Rifugio Nino Pernici is open every day from the end of April to mid-October. In any case, it is advisable to check the website or contact the manager to be sure. 
    The "polenta di patate" (potato polenta) is a typical local dish. If you want to find out more about its curious story and get to know Marco, the hut manager, read this article
  • If you want to head back down to Riva del Garda after sleeping over in the hut we recommend this route: Trail SAT 402, the “pinza” trail: outside the hut take SAT 402 which leads down to Riva del Garda. The trail passes through Campi and then joins the old “pinza” road, one of the ancient communication routes in Garda Trentino. Near Riva del Garda, the trails passes by the ruins of San Giovanni and the chapel of Santa Maria Maddalena; when you come to the junction with SAT 404 you can choose to continue on in the direction of Bastione to enjoy the marvellous view of the lake or else head straight down to the town centre.
  • For more information on routes and hike services, guides, shops and hiking friendly accommodation: all about trekking in Garda Trentino - Tel. +39 0464 554444 


Route info
Route number
13,7 km
Activity time
7 h 00 min
Altitude difference (+)
1.822 m
Altitude difference (-)
317 m
Technical skills
Physical effort
Highest point
1.794 m
Lowest point
88 m

At the Pernici hut you must absolutely taste the potato polenta: a substantial dish ideal for recovering strength after hiking.

Safety guidelines

While not involving any particular technical difficulties, this trek should only be undertaken by hikers with good fitness levels and plenty of experience since there are some very exposed stretches which require due caution.
From late autumn to the end of spring you may come across icy stretches which make the going treacherous and require you to have the appropriate equipment. Much of the trail runs along the ridge and in case of bad weather may be subject to severe weather conditions, especially during a thunderstorm. Make sure you have footwear and clothing suited to hiking in alpine conditions.
This excursion is only recommended from June to mid-October.

The information on this chart is subject to inevitable variations, so this means that none of the 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,  the hiker is advised to check the conditions of the places, environment and weather before setting out.

Punto di partenza
Riva del Garda - via Monte Oro
SAT 404 leads up from Riva del Garda towards Bastione which offers a lovely view over Lake Garda. Go on until you come to the junction where you head up to the right on SAT 402. Follow a stretch of the old “pinza” road until you come to the junction with SAT 418. Follow this trail along the mountain side in and out of the woods until you come to the area of Cima Sat. Now follow SAT 413 which winds up and down with a series of panoramic viewing points on the Tenno area and Lake Garda until you come to the mountain hut Rifugio Nino Pernici.
public transportation

The towns in Garda Trentino - Riva del Garda, Torbole sul Garda and Arco – are connected by several urban and intercity bus lines which will take you to the starting point or in the immediate surroundings.

For up-to-the-minute information on timetables and routes

You can also get to Riva del Garda and Torbole sul Garda by the public ferry service.

How to get there

The SAT 404 trail starts in Riva del Garda, in via Monte Oro, near the covered car park.

Getting to northern lake Garda / Garda Trentino


Where to park

Free parking in Torbole in the Busatte Park.

More Pay parking at the Panorama parking area, in Via Strada Granda or and along the lakefront Lungolago Conca d'Oro

The trek proposed here does not have bolted routes or via ferratas, and so there is no need for helmets, harness or rope. However, considering how physically demanding the route is, the length of the stages and the presence of some exposed stretches, this type of trek is only recommended for people who are very fit, who have a good sense of direction and who are used to hiking in a mountain environment.  
GardaTrek requires you to have standard hiking equipment for alpine terrain and we suggest you also bring a wind and waterproof jacket and fleece in case of bad weather, a torch, a change of underwear, sunglasses and sunscreen, a water canteen and snacks.

Riva del Garda
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