Sondrio | Run 12 km | Boirolo for the bois and the gyals

Even though Valtellina is an alpine valley, there aren’t that many opportunities to truly break the tree line and enjoy being up there – as in, not too technical, not exposed, but nice and runnable. That’s exactly what this is.

Boirolo is a little gathering of houses at around 1,600 metres. The road up to it is marked with kilometres signs for cyclists so it is also highly recommended that you ride up before doing this run.

It’s a real beauty of a run and you’ll continually marvel at the scenery. if not, you should stop and look around. Take your eyes off your watch and your heart rate.

A lollipop-shaped run because that just happens to be as far as you can drive up with your car. Normally we wouldn’t advocate driving up the little roads as we like to keep them quiet for bikes, but we can make an exception in this case.

A fairly simple route to follow and in a very sunny spot. Summer only, of course.

Val Gerola | Run 22 km | Lakes, marmots, views, and boulders

Exactly as the title says, this is a beautiful high altitude route that’s a little technical in parts and definitely can only be done in the summer. They say Val Gerola is one of the sunniest spots in the valley – but it’s also one of the most snow-secure, so runs like this are only possible from late June onwards really.

Park in the very understated ski resort of Pescegallo, where the road ends. If you want to make an Alpine Bike of this, then you could do the 15 km climb up from Morbegno and leave your bike quite safely behind a tree (there are enough of them.)

There are rifugios on route if you need a sit down. About halfway around this route you’ll see the Rifugio Trona Soliva, that’s pretty popular as it has quite an easy route up to it (not the one you’re taking though). The food is great here.

Val Gerola is a treat for exploring, so don’t feel obliged to stick to this route.


Val Viola | Run 21 km | Dreamy trails

One of the most breathtaking routes of all the valley, this is the former race route of the Skyrace Alta Valtellina, which from 2019 onwards goes by the name Val Viola Trail.

The reference to a Skyrace is pretty misleading as this is not a technical route, not at all. It’s truly runnable, which meant you always had a great race on your hands. Flow trails, stunning single track, and imposing peaks. It’s a sun-soaked valley and usually spends the whole of June/July/August enjoying the rays. You are at altitude though, so conditions can be changeable. Windproof jackets are therefore recommended.

There are a number of options for parking, including in Arnoga on the corner of the pass to Livigno, or at any of the small, fee-paying car parks that lead into Val Viola. During the high season there might be a ticket kiosk at the start of the little lane – This is a good thing as the valley is so special that a high number of cars would disturb the peace.

Expect a lot of marmots and a lot of whooping for joy. The second half is super quick, while the first half is more mountainous.


Livigno | Run 12 km | Crap Vert

Most definitely not ‘Crap Vert’, the name is highly misleading. Crap, in this area, refers to (piles of) huge boulders and that’s basically what this hill consists of. The route starts from a little car park for the most beautiful B&B in The Palle (away from the hustle and bustle of Livigno). It follows a beautiful, runnable trail around to the lake before starting the climb. it is not an easy climb, but it’s a solid marker of form. The views get better and better as you scale the mountainside, then before you know it you’re at the top and you’ve rewarded with the most sublime bit of flow trail that takes you across the pass road. From here, simply drop back down to the Bait de Angial, or wherever you’ve parked the car. Simple.

Nice bit of crap vertical that’s best done as the sun is setting. Dreamy views await.

(Komoot thinks some of the route is off-grid – it isn’t. There are signs).


Sondrio | Run 9km | Not the typical athletics track

This is a really basic but truly wonderful route that sets off from the athletics track and essentially does an extended scenic loop above it.

It takes in the most exciting and accessible vineyard trails and takes you on a panoramic tour above Sondrio. The first part is mainly uphill before it flattens off then drops you down towards the track again. There are many ways to extend this route, but it’s a great, time-efficient, touring run for those with an hour to spare. The photo below is clearly not representative of the vineyard trails, but does signify where you’ll find free parking.

Laps on the track afterwards, optional.


Ponte in Valtellina | Run 13km | Rifugio ramble up high

This route is very close to hearts of runners from Lombardy as the rifugio ADM (Amici delle Montagne) used to be the summer training base for many of the region's top runners. They'd train twice a day, chop wood and clear trails. Pretty idyllic way to spend your summer and very different from pounding the track at St Moritz, where the mountains just make a nice backdrop. Here, the mountains are truly 'lived'.


Great route, it goes high, breaks the treeline and offers beautiful views. 

Not really doable in winter. Unless it's one of those winters with very little snow. 

Morbegno | Run 17km | Racing shoes on in Rasura

Starting up the valley into Val Gerola, this is a fine example of fast running, Valtellina style. A  mixed offering of terrain, this is a run that twists and turns on the mountainside with a host of treasures that reveal the centuries of life that has gone on in this valley. 

Spring, summer, autumn. 

Campo Moro | Run 20km | Digging the diga

A bit techy and arguably at altitude so you really want to pick your day to do this route. It's one of the blow-your-mind loops with beautiful trails, boulders, ridges and the crystal clear water of the reservoir, hence the name 'diga' which is Italian for dam. 

A choice of rifugios up here for a post-run cake and cola.

Summer only. Works in both directions. 

Campo Moro.jpg

Val Viola | Run 7km | A sprightly rifugio ramble

For anyone sleeping over at Val Viola's Rifugio Federico in Dosde, this route is an absolute must. A pre-breakfast dawn raid, a recreational hike for a jump in the lake on really hot days or a post-hike gentle cool-down jog, this 7km takes you through the most breathtaking scenery of the valley. 


Val Viola | Run 43km | A very special hut-to-hut run

Here's a particularly mind-blowing route that starts in Val Grosina, just above Grosio. From there, a number of tracks and trails head up the valley towards Rifugio Eita. (There's also a road with restricted access but the trails on the righthand side of the road are much more interesting). From Eita, continue in the same direction and run and over Passo Verva along a gravel track. Drop down the other side and you're into Val Viola. Swing left, follow the single track and keep going until Rifugio Federica in Dosde.

Tip: sleep here and carry on the next day. 

Once you've regained your energy at the rifugio, head up towards Passo Dosde at 2,800 metres. It's pretty amazing. A slightly techy descent to a lake (the deepest in the Alps), before the downhill gets super runnable towards Malghera. This is where you might start meeting other hikers, but you'll be going to fast back to your parked car at Fusine that you won't notice. A great way to round off a hut-to-hut. 

Passo `dosde 1.jpg

Mello | Run 14km | A lesson is finding bivouacs and descending over boulders

A spectacular route that starts at a holiday park-esque pasture that takes you by surprise. Cross the meadow, pine needle-strewn trails, a long but gentle gravel climb that escalates into sublime trails and an opportune bivouac. The descent is trickier – especially if there are still remnants of snow – but it's a superb mountain run and displays the greatest of the Basso valley. 

A route reserved for late spring, summer and early autumn. 

Castione | Run 11km | The partisans' last stand

Setting off from Postalesio means you'll get a few kilometres of flatter running to warm your legs up ready for the climb. It's a tough one, but super rewarding when you realise that you're exploring rarely-seen territory, even for the locals. Other than us, the only runner you might see here will be a former international boxer and his dog. 

The descent starts a little bit slip-and-slidy, but opens up into an incredibly runnable gravel track. 

Morbegno | Run 18km | Some call it 'the magic mountain'

A popular haunt with the Basso valley lot, and a route that just edges into a top-30 position. Avoid hot days as the summit of Colmen could be crowded. Plus, on those days isn't it nicer to get high? Spectacular flat, Scandinavian-style woodland section once you're over the top. The whole run is worth it for that. 

Year-round route for mindless running days when getting high is out of bounds but you still want to get a fix of great views and steep trails.


Buglio | Run 12km | San Bell by name, bello by nature

This route came to fruition in 2017 for the launch of a brand new uphill mountain race, which takes place in February. It starts from Agriturismo Sesterzio (a lovely B&B that does superb food and unrivalled hospitality), and begins with a rather steep, narrow trail. After just a few minutes it eases and weaves up through the cute village of Regoledo, with a mixed bag of terrain. After leaving the village via a beautiful single track, the climb continues, criss-crossing the road before jutting off to the left and following a gravel climb up to one of our favourite hidden houses in the valley. The descent is super fast and fun, bringing you back to Monastero then Maroggia, then finally Sesterzio again. 

Finish this one off with dinner or cake at Sesterzio. It's worth it. Those guys know their wine too.


Year-round route.

Ardenno | Run 8.7km | The 500s, in it for the mid-valley mule tracks

Loosely based on a race held every October, this route does a beautiful climb before looping through cute villages with great views. It's fast and furious to descend. You'll have fun, we promise.


From the highest point you can easily add another 1,000 metres of climbing by following signs for Alpe Schermendone. It's worth it when you get up past the tree line. It isn't a particularly tough climb either, just follows the ridge line with views all down the valley from under a canopy of trees.

There's a great bakery in Ardenno to round off your run – they take a long lunch break though, so time your effort.

Year-round route.


Postalesio | Run 7.3km | Ca' Moroni mandem

You're bound to have a fondness for your most local route, which is why this route has found its way here. But adopted home village aside, the view from Ca' Moroni and its cute cluster of houses makes any run worth its effort.

 From Ca' Moroni it flattens off onto a gravel track for about 1km, before joining the road briefly and taking a trail up and down to the Pirimadi, Postalesio's geological addition to the curiosities of Valtellina. 

Expect to startle plenty of deer in autumn and early winter. 

Stock up on cheese when you've finished this route. Postalesio is home to the best goats cheese producers in the valley, if not the whole of Italy. They can be found just opposite the bar at the entrance to the village.

Year-round route

Triangia | Run 17km | Vineyard vagrants, the extended version

A staple run in the valley, the vineyard climb from Triasso to Triangia is a tough section of uneven steps that seems never-ending. It does end, but you might wish it hadn't because it's just so beautiful.  Obviously afterwards the first thing you should do is go and find some Sassella red wine, preferably that made by the cooperative wine sellers in the village of Triasso or by Alfio Mozzi, Valtellina's fastest wine producer. 

You can make so many variations of this run, including starting from almost anywhere: Sondrio for a longer climb or Castione for a shorter loop. This one starts and finishes in Postalesio to give your legs a warm-up and warm-down. The trail across the top of the vineyards from Castione is part of the Terrazzamenti trail, and it's just magical. 

Above Triangia you've got the option to include the lake or not. I probably would but there's some beautiful pine forest trails that loop around it.

The descent back to Castione goes by the name 'Rodelbahn', as it weaves its way playfully through the woods. Enjoy it. 

Year-round route. The wine harvest is in October usually, so that's a great time to see the hustle and bustle along the route.