Puschlav Indian Summer

Fabulous circular hike to Lagh da Saoseo & Lagh da Val Viola

What a rollercoaster of temperatures we experienced this autumn (of emotions too, but that’s another story); there was the early onset of winter, which gave us the first winter hike of the season in Scuol at the end of September. Then came grey and rainy October days and just towards the end of the hiking season we were rewarded with a few golden autumn days. With our timing of the long-planned hut tour in Puschlav, we hit the jackpot. For three days we explored the most beautiful corners of the southern valley of Graubünden on foot. Of course, a detour to the picturesque Lagh da Saoseo (Lake Saoseo) in Val da Camp was not to be missed.

In this first (of two) blog posts about our hiking weekend in Puschlav, we go over hill and dale and through golden, shining larch forests via Lagh da Val Viola to Lagh da Saoseo. A hiking classic that can be implemented as a day trip as well as a hut tour.

Poschiavo classics: circular hike through the Val da Camp to Lake Saoseo

The 15-kilometre-long circular hike through the Val da Camp is one of the most popular hikes in the Poschiavo (if not in the whole of Graubünden). The starting point of the tour is the Sfazù bus stop. From there, the hiking trail first leads up a wide forest path to the small settlement of Camp. From here, a nature trail continues to the shores of the Lagh da Val Viola, beautifully embedded in the landscape. Afterwards, the path continues around the lake to the smaller, but no less photogenic Lagh da Saoseo and from there along the other side of the valley back to the starting point.

Since the path from Sfazù to Camp is not particularly exciting, we decided to go for an adapted version; in the summer months there is an additional bus connection from Sfazù to Camp (Attention: in the low season it is necessary to make an appointment by phone, otherwise there may be no bus). This saves you the first, somewhat monotonous section of the trail and allows you to use the energy for additional altitude meters in the rear section of the valley. The advantage: Behind the Lagh da Val Viola, the proportion of people decreases radically, even on busy autumn days.

Val da Camp Puschlav
Herbst Val da Camp
Val Viola Passübergang

Hike to the Pass da Val Viola

From the Lagh da Val Viola, a beautiful mountain path leads further up into the hills. Originally, we wanted to do the entire loop up to the pass crossing to Italy (Pass da Viola). But from the height of Plan de la Genzana, the early onset of winter was clearly noticeable. The snow was not unexpected for us, but the navigation in the white-sugared plateau turned out to be a bit more difficult than expected and we didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks. So halfway we decided to make a short cut down to the Lagh da Viola.

Nevertheless, the round was more than worth it. Such a beautiful panoramic view of the Lagh da Viola, framed by golden larches and snow-capped peaks, can only be found from up here!

Val Viola Val Camp Schnee
Panorama Lagh da Val Viola

Autumn magic at Lagh da Val Viola and Lagh da Saoseo

The following section of the trail between the Lagh da Val Viola and the Lagh da Saoseo lived up to its name. No wonder, this tour is one of the most popular autumn hikes in Switzerland. The landscape here back in the Val da Camp is really photogenic. But the Instagram phenomenon made me smile after all.

Puschlav Herbst
Lagh da Val Viola Impressionen
Herbstfarben im Puschlav
Lagh da Val Viola Oktober
Rundwanderung Lagh Viola Saoseo

Sunset at Lake Saoseo

While on the banks of the Lagh da Val Viola the proportion of hikers and photographers was roughly balanced, on the banks of the Lagh da Saoseo shortly before sunset, whole groups of young Instagrammers appeared out of nowhere. What these people had not taken into account in their planning, however, was the fact that the Lagh da Saoseo was almost completely frozen due to its shady location, in contrast to the higher Lagh da Val Viola. The partly astonished and irritated looks were admittedly amusing for the hiking group.

Saoseosee Puschlav

Overnight stay at the SAC Rifugio Saoseo

An advantage of a hut tour to Val da Camp is that you can end the day comfortably at Lagh da Saoseo. The warm night camp in the SAC hut Rifugio Saoseo is only about a 15-minute walk from the Lagh da Saoseo. Due to the approaching end of the season, there was relatively little going on during our stay and the dormitories were divided up in such a way that there was no mixing between the different groups of guests.

The Saoseo hut is known for its regional cuisine. And so we also enjoyed a Puschlav speciality that evening: pizzoccheri. Delicious food, good sleep – that’s how it should be. And the following morning, in frosty temperatures, we went back to Sfazù on the forest road and from there over the last stage of the ViaValtellina to Tirano.

Lagh da Saoseo Eis
Rundwanderung Saoseo See
Wanderung Rifugio Saoseo
Rifugio Saoseo Puschlav

Practical tips for your hike to Lagh da Saoseo and Lagh da Val Viola

The route of our variant of the circular hike through the Val da Camp can be found on the map below. We started the tour at the Lungacqua bus stop just below Camp. From there, the trail climbs continuously to the Val Viola Pass (if you hike to the pass crossing). In our variant, the distance from the first day (Lungacqua – Lungacqua) is 9.85 kilometers with an ascent of about 630 meters in altitude. It is a mountain trail of difficulty T2. There are no sloping sections, but in some places the path leads over stony terrain. Good footwear and hiking experience is therefore an advantage. Alternatively, you can of course also take the easier loop around the two lakes. The way back from Rifugio Saoseo to Sfazù takes just under an hour.

Catering options are available at the Rifugio Saoseo (day ticket with specialties from the Poschiavo region) as well as at the Ristoro Alpe Campo. Rifugio Saoseo is open in summer from the end of May to the mid/end of October. The overnight stay for non-SAC members including half board costs 77 CHF. More information can be found on the website of the SAC hut: Rifugio Saoseo

In the upcoming winter season, the Rifugio Saoseo will be staffed from 26 December to 10 January and then again from 6 February (the winter rooms will remain closed this season due to Corona). In the winter months, an easy snowshoe hike leads from Sfazù to the Rifugio Saoseo and back. More information about the tour can be found at WegWandern.ch.

Key data of the hike through the Val da Camp via Lake Saoseo

Starting point Lungacqua bus stop
Length 14 kilometers
Elevation gain ↗ 642 m 1,006 m ↘
Duration 4:30 p.m.
Destination Bus stop Sfazù, Fermata

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