Foliage in the Aosta Valley


Even people who associate autumn on the mountains with rain and humidity will discover new sides to this cosy, mysterious season in the Aosta Valley: the lifeblood of autumn brings shades and nuances to the foliage of the trees, creating utterly captivating panoramas. The magic of autumnal colours has also sparked interest in leaf peeping or fall foliage in the Aosta Valley too. This is the hobby that involves viewing and gathering leaves to create “seasonal paintings”.

The variety of tree species and the presence of broad-leaved trees alongside conifers, that stay green even during the winter, guarantee an autumn filled with bright nuances in all the valleys of the region. However, we would like to recommend some must-see places for foliage in the Aosta Valley:

• In the village of Courtil, 7 km from Bard , the beech wood creates a palette that ranges from orange hues to red-brown tones.
• In Châtillon , Passerin d’Entrèves Castle Park is an amazing observation point thanks to the monumental trees. A multitude of maple trees colour it red in various areas, right up until the French Renaissance garden (open until mid-November). In Châtillon, you can also visit the Castle Gamba Park which is home to over 150 trees, including colourful maple and beech trees, as well as some monumental plants.
• Going back along the Dora, nestled between the Brusson Valley and the town of Saint-Vincent , you come across the mixed forest of Col de Joux , which is mainly made up of conifers, and frames the copper and purple foliage of the wild cherry trees with bright green.
• In Verrès , going back up the regional road of the Val d’Ayas, you can visit the arboretum of Borna di Laou (the place of the wolf); the varied vegetation is described by signs containing their scientific and common names. In addition to native species, there are also cherry, ash, chestnut and medlar trees.
• In Verrayes, you find the arboretum of Abbé P.L.Vescoz , a botanical garden with exotic species: 10,000 plants which include cedar, Douglas fir, Italian cypress and sequoia trees.
• In the village of Entrebin, above Aosta , we find the site of Parque d’Euntrebeun , which is home to around 200 tree species with alluring colourings provided by the yellow of the ash and elm trees and the orange of the chestnut trees.
• In the Val Ferret , above Courmayeur , the cross-country pistes transform into lovely paths and the broadleaf plants gradually give way to the evergreens, while the larch offers a pop of contrast with its golden-yellow tones. Also in Courmayeur, in the town of Plan Gorret, you’ll find Abbé J.M. Henry Park where you can see: privet, blackthorn, dog rose and burnet rose, hawthorn, viburnum and honeysuckle, as well as exotic species such as a Douglas fir and a giant fir.
• At the Lake Villa nature reserve in Challand-Saint-Victor we also find the warm nuances of autumnal colours that accompany visitors during their strolls along the lake. The protected area can be reached by car, however hiking enthusiasts can get there by taking the hiking route that leaves from Torille (Verrès).


Autumn Along the Via Francigena
From Aosta, taking the ancient pilgrim route of Via Francigena and following the directions for “Chemin des Vignobles”, you can walk at a low altitude, skirting the central valley to Pont-Saint-Martin. This route will take you through sun-filled vineyards tinged with warm tones. In fact, these hiking routes cross through an area that is famous for its wines and many wineries. Here the autumnal colours frame stunning medieval castles and other important historical and artistic traces:

from Aosta to Châtillon
from Châtillon to Verres
from Verrès to Pont-Saint-Martin

Cycling Amongst Vineyards
For cycling lovers a ring route through the colours of the vineyards spreads across Gressan and Villeneuve, not far from Aosta city:

Mountain Biking Amongst Vineyards

Autumnal Reflections in the Lakes of Mont Mars
During beautiful autumn days Mont Mars Nature Reserve in Fontainemore offers hikers breathtaking views of Plan Coumarial and, higher up, of the forests and shrubs that surround Vargno Lake and the lakes of Lei-Long and Lac de Barme:

Excursion to Colle Della Barma