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GardaTrek - Top Loop 4: to the balcony over Lake Garda
Dro & Drena, Arco
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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
  • 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.
  • 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 www.rifugiostivo.it
  • 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 further information on routes, activities, events and accommodation at lake Garda:  APT Garda Trentino, Tel. +39 0464 554444 - www.gardatrentino.it

Route info
16,3 km
Activity time
7 h 50 min
1.917 m
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! 

Safety guidelines

This is a difficult trek in terms of elevation gain and overall length with nowhere to stop off along the way to break up the journey. But it is always on a dirt track or easy trail, apart from the short stretch Sentiero della Maestra (SAT 667) where some outcrops are fitted ferrata-style with cables for added safety. Make sure to take footwear and clothing suited to the high altitude.

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

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

You can get to Ceniga by bus with the line Riva - Sarche - Trento.
Bus times on www.gardatrentino.it

How to get there

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

Getting to northern lake Garda / Garda Trentino: www.gardatrentino.it

Where to park
Free parking slots available in Ceniga

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.

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