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GardaTrek - Top Loop 4: to the balcony over Lake Garda

Dro & Drena, Arco
Duration in hours
Distance in km
Suggested period

Another uphill stage! From the bottom of the valley there is almost 2000 metres of elevation gain to get to one of the most spectacular viewing points in all of Garda Trentino.

This stage scales the steep limestone outcrops which tower above the vineyards in Valle Sarca. You first reach the age-old chestnut woods between Braila and Carobbi, continue on up to the pastures of Malga Vallestrè and up again along the ridge covered in dwarf mountain pine until you come to Monte Stivo at 2058 m a.s.l. where you have a 360° panorama of the Dolomites, Adamello- Presanella Group, and Lake Garda as far as the Po Valley.

The trail leading to the hamlet of Braila is known as "sentiero della maestra" (teacher's trail, SAT667). The name refers to a curious local event whose protagonist was a teacher living in the villahe. The trail is graded as EE, that is to say advised for experienced hikers, as there's an iron cable helping hikers on the most exposed stretch. 

This stage is quite long and demanding, with no stop off for refreshments. Therefore be sure to take with you enough water and snacks. 

Further information and useful links
  • The moountain hut Prospero Marchetti on Monte Stivo is generally open daily form June, 20th to September, 20th and at weekends in spring and fall. You'd better check the opening directly at Rifugio Stivo.
  • For those who want to avoid the hike up to the hut, we recommend taking the trail SAT 699 from Carobbi to Monte Velo, and from there continuing towards Nago on the route for Stage 5 of the trek. It is always possible to stay overnight in Santa Barbara.
    The trail can also be cut short if you go straight to Nago, the starting point for Stage 6:
    shortly after you pass through Braila, on the forestry road heading for Carobbi, you will come across a turnoff with a signpost for Garda Trek - Medium loop. Follow this trail to Nago, passing through Troiana, Bolognano and Monte Corno along the way.

For more information on routes, services (guides, mountain huts, shops etc.) and hiking friendly accommodation: Garda Trentino - +39 0464 554444

Route info
Route number
16,3 km
7 h 50 min
Altitude difference (+)
1.917 m
Altitude difference (-)
16 m
Technical skills
Physical effort
Highest point
2.014 m
Lowest point
106 m

From the "sentiero della maestra" you will enjoy a wonderful view over the Sarca Valley: be sure to have your camera at hand! 

On Monte Stivo, close to the summit and the mountain hut, you can see relics of the Great War, traces of the military trail towards Altissimo and Lake Garda. Being in the second line, Stivo did not see direct action but it was targeted by artillery positioned on Monte Altissimo.

Safety guidelines

Please note: short stretch Sentiero della Maestra (SAT 667) where some outcrops are fitted ferrata-style with cables for added safety.


Safety Tips

  1. 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.
  2. Wear clothes and take equipment that suit the difficulty and length of your tour. Keep emergency gear in your rucksack, including first aid supplies.
  3. Do not go walking alone in the mountains. In any case, tell someone where you are going and report back on returning.
  4. Look at the weather forecast before setting off and always keep an eye on the weather.
  5. 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.
  6. Do not leave marked paths and do not take shortcuts.
  7. 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.

Punto di partenza

Go through Ceniga and keep on until you come to the slopes "coste di Varino" where you turn onto the trail SAT 667. Head up a dirt track till you come to a paved road where you turn right. Continue on up the road following the signposts as far as Braila where you take the forestry road towards Carobbi.  Along the road you come to  SAT 668 which takes you up to the pasture Malga Vallestrè. Here you follow SAT 666 until you come to the mountain hut Rifugio Marchetti where you have  spectacular views over Garda Trentino.


public transportation

Ceniga is connected by the intercity bus lines 205 (Riva del Garda – Sarche - Trento) and 204 (Riva del Garda– Cavedine - Trento) to the other places in Garda Trentino.

Up-to-date information on timetables and routes.


How to get there

Ceniga is in Valle del Sarca, about 5km from Arco (SS45bis). 

Find out how to reach Garda Trentino.


Where to park

Free parking on the right-hand side of Via Arco in Ceniga. 

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
  • fleece
  • change of t-shirt and socks (in a plastic bag)
  • make sure to wear or at least bring a pair of long trousers
  • hat
  • sun screen
  • sunglasses
  • gloves
  • 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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