Hiking and Biking in Piedmont

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Hiking: Piedmont's Best Antidote to Truffles and Wine

There are loads of places to hike in this region, be they along steep, narrow mountain paths or across flowery fields. Here are some that offer something for every traveler:

[Hiking in Piedmont] Cross the Monte Rosa Animal Reserve. This easy, three-hour walk gives you a wonderful opportunity to see mountain sheep, deer, beavers, eagles and other fauna that live in the beautiful park. For maps and information or to hire a professional guide, stop in at the Ufficio Guide, Piazza Municipio, Macugnana; tel. 011-39-0324-65170. Click here for classic alpine lodgings in Macugnana.

Climb Mount Mombarone. When you get to the top (the round-trip hike lasts 4 hours), you'll be rewarded with a view that extends across the Alpi Marittime to Monte Rosa and the Po Valley beyond. Starting point is at Bossola; for maps or information, contact the Club Alpino Italiano, Via Ugo Foscolo 3, 20122 Milan.

Hike Around the Lakes. Starting at Chialamberto, this trek takes an entire day, but the many different kinds of landscapes and the breathtaking views make it worthwhile. For maps and information, stop in at the Azienda di Promozione Turistica in Arona, at Piazzale Stazione. After your hike, spend the night just outside Arona and enjoy a relaxing dinner with gorgeous views of Lake Maggiore.

Explore the Sesia Valley. Many protected trails strike out from the exquisitely preserved mountain village of Rima. For information and maps about routes encompassing all levels of difficulty, contact the Comunità Montana Val Sesia at Corso Roma 5 in Varallo Sesia.

Cycling Through the Sesia Valley

[Biking in Piedmont]If you're driving through Piedmont with your bike in tow, here's a wonderful route along a beautiful wooded trail (intermediate level difficulty).

Starting in the town of Varallo Sesia, drive about 7 miles west along highway 299 until you reach the village of Piode. Here, to the left of the highway you'll see a bridge that crosses the Sesia River. Take the first paved road on the left after the bridge and park your car at the end of the paved section.

The dirt bike path that originates here travels about 10 miles with very little change in elevation and no fear of straying. You'll be able to pedal all the way to the summit of Alpe Meggiana, where there's a comfortable rifugio (mountain hut) with plenty of drinking water. Return to your car along the same trail, which is open from June to September. And don't worry if you don't have your bike along for this trip! Stay at a hotel on the nearby shores of Lake Orta and the hotel will be happy to lend you one.

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