This trek passes through one of the most iconic and touristic places of Primiero: the lakes of Colbricón (Laghetti di Colbricón). However, despite their natural beauty, the lakes are not the main focus of this loop. In fact, the track will lead first to the top of the mountain called Cavallazza and then to the defense system of the Great War on the mountain of Cavallazza Piccola (tr. the little Cavallazza).
The hike starts from the hut of Malga Rolle (1.904 m a.s.l.), standing on the side of the main road, right a couple of hairpin bends below the Rolle pass, on the side of Travignòlo and Val di Fiemme. The hike develops following the Signpost No. 348, which leads directly to the lakes of Colbricón on a very comfortable trail. The trail, entirely in the forest, is a relatively flat tourist promenade, which in a couple of kilometers gets to the hut called Rifugio Laghi di Colbricón and the lakes (1.922 m a.s.l.) Given the easy access to the lakes and the tourist vocation of the place, this section of the track is usually crowded.
From the Rifugio Laghi di Colbricón, the hike continues by following the signs that lead to the top of Cavallazza (2.324 m a.s.l.), along a quite steep but never exposed path. The very top of the mountain can be reached by walking in an old trench of the Great War. From the top of Cavallazza, the best part of the itinerary begins, which both includes a series of simply beautiful sights and touches some historical places of the First World War.
While descending from the top Cavallazza with its breathtaking 360-degree view, the route continues towards the peak of Cavallazza Piccola. As Cavallazza Piccola is approached, the trail is offering some nice views over the village of San Martino di Castrozza, facing at the same time the western side of the Pale di San Martino (Dolomites).
From the peak of Cavallazza Piccola (2.303 m a.s.l.), the trail becomes a small path that runs along the eastern side of the mountain. Despite offering protection by metal cables throughout the most dangerous section, the path is very exposed. This stretch leads to the defense military system, made up by two main tunnels (also called stóli). Alternatively, it is possible to get around this section and go north, near the lake of Cavallazza, but from our point of view this variant would force you to skip one of the most fascinating parts of the hike. The strategic location of the tunnels, built by the Austrians and then remodeled by the Genio mlitare italiano (military engineers), allowed to have full control over the access to Passo Rolle.
After the outposts, the route follows the visible trace towards the peak of Tognazza (2.207 m a.s.l.). It is hard to get lost, since it is objectively the only possible way; furthermore, the ski cable car will offer another point of reference. From Tognazza, the trail goes back to Malga Rolle by simply descending through the ski slopes, leading first to Passo Rolle and then to the starting point.
- From the hut named Malga Rolle (1,904 m a.s.l.), follow the Signpost No. 348 heading towards the lakes of Colbricón (Laghetti di Colbricón),
- From Laghetti di Colbricón (1,922 m a.s.l.) keep the left side and get to the path leading to the top of Cavallàzza,
- From the top of Cavallàzza (2,324 m a.s.l.), keep following the path, which brings you to the top of Cavallàzza Piccola,
- From the top of Calavallàzza Piccola (2,303 m a.s.l.), keep following the path through the ridge until reaching the cable car of the Paradiso ski slope, by the peak of Tognàzza,
- Descends always keeping the same direction and path until Passo Rolle,
- From Passo Rolle (1,970 m a.s.l.), head west and follow the ski slopes leading (downhill) to Malga Rolle. ✓
Military installations by Cavallazza Piccola
- The defense military system made of tunnels (stóli) controlling the access of Passo Rolle was built by the Austrians, facing towards the valley of Primiero.
- Entering the tunnels, which were part of a second line of defense, that started in Colbricón and ended on the mountain of Tognazza, it is possible to notice the presence of loopholes facing Paneveggio (Val Travignòlo). In fact, with the conquest of the outposts by the Italian army in 1915, the entire Austrian defense system was “turned” in order to face north.
- One of the two tunnels on the Cavallazza Piccola offers an interesting portal at its entrance, which was entirely built by the 31st company of the V Italian engineers’ regiment, known for being the major player during the anti-personnel mines based battle on the mountain of Colbricòn.
THE GREAT WAR ON THE COLBRICÓN
- The mountain ridge starting from Colbricón and ending in Passo Rolle, that belongs to the mountain range of Lagorai, was part of the front line during the Great War.
- During the First World War, before Italy joined the conflict in 1915, the peak of Cavallazza was used to be an Austro-Hungarian military outpost. The outpost, with its articulated system of trenches and tunnels, was strategically located above the access to Passo Rolle, in defense of the valley of the Travignòlo stream.
- During the autumn of 1915, after the fall and the consequent capture of the mountain of Castelàz by the Italian troops, the Austro-Hungarian soldiers were forced to retreat from Passo Rolle, after the pass became a weak spot of the newly created front. On 21 July 1916, the Italian troops striked against the installations on the peak of Cavallazza, managing to take it, together with the entire ridge from the mountain of Colbricón up to Passo Rolle. Right after, due to Austro-Hungarian reinforcements, the Italian offensive was stopped, freezing the front line on the ridge of Colbricón.
LAKES OF COLBRICÓN
- The small lakes called Laghetti di Colbricón (also known as Laghi di Colbricón) are two cute alpine lakes at 1,909 and 1,922 mt. of altitude.
- On June 18, 1971, during a day of fishing at the Colbricón lake, Gian Luigi Secco from San Martino di Castrozza found a strange stone by the water stream feeding the largest lake. The stone, a flint apparently worked by human hands, was examined with Luigi’s uncle. At first, the two thought it was a random discovery. However, later they made another inspection by the lakes. At the end, 57 worked flints were found around the Colbricón lake. The worked stones date back to 6.500 BC, when Mesolithic hunters set up summer camps located in one of the most interesting high-altitude gap of the eastern part of the Lagorai mountain range, namely the Passo di Colbricón.