“Visit WWI fortifications with great views of Lake Como and into Switzerland.
— Lost Justpastnowhere
This is a short and fun loop in the Parco Spina Verde near Como and Lago di Como. Most of the riding is on forest roads although there are some short fun singletrack sections. The main point of this ride though is to climb to the Pin Umbrela viewpoint which has an awesome view of Como, its lake, and the surrounding mountains. There are also a number of World War I era trenches and fortifications to visit. If you want to extend the ride, consider adding the Dorsale Collinare (1)
in the eastern section of the park which offers more forest road and singletrack.
Need to Know
- This featured ride starts from a large parking lot in San Fermo della Battaglia. Alternatively, you can reach the ride with the train (Como Nord Lago Station) by riding through the streets of Como to Via Cardono. Another option is to add the Dorsale Collinare (1) segment which begins near the Como-Nord Camerlata Station.
- The trails in this area are not well marked and maps are hard to come by, so you'll definitely want a GPX or the MTB Project mobile app for this one.
From the parking lot (or whatever your means of arrival), make your way to Via Cardono
. Follow Via Cardono
for 1.3 kilometers (0.8 mi) and then turn left onto Confinale (2)
. Keep climbing this forest road, ignoring any small trails to the left until you come to the trenches near the top of the mountain beneath a dense forest.
Take some time to explore the trenches and enjoy the view into Switzerland. When you're finished, find the Cavallasca (7)
trail and begin winding your way around the summit. Shortly after you leave the area of the trenches, this becomes a forest road. There area couple more WWI era support structures on the back side of the mountain, but nothing as interesting as the trenches.
Eventually you'll reach an area where the forest has been cleared just below the summit of Monte Sasso and from here you've got a pretty good look back across the cities and fields north of Milano. Shortly after the cleared area, you'll reach an intersection in a hairpin turn. Continue straight along the wide track to get to the Pin Umbrela overlook for an unparalleled view of Lago di Como and the surrounding mountains.
After enjoying the overlook, backtrack to the intersection and continue descending on Cavallasca (7)
. Descend about 0.6 kilometers (0.4 mi) to another sharp turn and you'll find the narrow downhill B Line
trail which features loose rocks and root obstacles. This trail descends 1.0 km (0.6 mi) through the forest with some bermed turns and small jumps. At the bottom of B Line
, turn right on Confinale (2)
to backtrack your route along via Cardono back to whece you started.
History & Background
This trail literally circles amongst the cement trenches of the Linea Cadorna (Cadorna Line) on the crown of the 614 m (2,015 ft) Monte Sasso. From the gun emplacements in the defensive line, you've got a commanding view into the Italian speaking Ticino province of Switzerland. The Linea Cadorna extended along the entire frontier of the Ticino (from Domodossola in the west to Chiavenna in the east). Of course the Swiss have always been neutral, so the defenses were never used and the trenches are in good condition for being 100 years old.