Hike to Punta Almana, a Balcony on Lake Iseo

Punta Almana is located north of the town of Sale Marasino and despite of its relatively low altitude, it offers magnificent views of the nearby peaks  as well as being a privileged balcony on Lake Iseo.

The hike to reach Punta Almana requires a bit of training (the first 1.30 h is very steep) and some caution (the last part of the path is a little bit exposed), but all your efforts will be repaid by an amazing view and the peace of the surrounding mountains.

This walk is not recommended if you have never hiked before or if you fancy an easy stroll.

  • Starting Point: Portole – Sale Marasino (BS)
  • Time: 3 hours to reach the top, 2 hours for the way back
  • Difficulty: Very steep, needs some training and familiarity with the mountains. Generally classified as E (hikers), with some points as EE (skilled hikers)
  • Gears: hiking boots and mountain sticks
  • Best time: all year around but in winter be very careful that there is no ice, otherwise DO NOT hike. In summer avoid it when the day is particularly hot

Starting Point

To reach the starting point of this hiking you will need a car. Drive to the village of Sale Marasino and follow the signs to Trattoria Portole, which is located in the hamlet of Presso, around 15 minutes driving uphill.

The first steep climb

Arrived at Trattoria Portole you will find plenty of parking. A big sign with a map will show you the path you are going to follow: “Sentiero Filippo Benedetti“. The hike is a circular route; we suggest to start taking the left, following the sign to “Forcella di Sale“.  The first 10 minutes are just a warm up as then the path becomes very steep. You will walk up hill seeing Lake Iseo on your left until you enter the wood. You will pass a shrine that commemorates the partisan “Zambo” – in fact, the trail was partly a partisan path; that’s why you will find some Italian flags drawn on the trunks and on the rocks. Keep going, leaving the shrine on your right.

At some point you will cross the pavement road again. Bare in mind that you might encounter a car – or a tractor – as this part of the road is open to traffic, but this should be a pretty rare event. There is a fountain on the road, where you can stop, catch your breath and drink some fresh water.

Let’s keep walking along the large, but still steep, mule track. At some point you will find another shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Continue on the right. This is the last effort.

After 1.30 hour of intense climb you will finally reach Forcella di Sale where the road becomes flat and will allow you to breath. In front of you there is a shrine and the path forks. Take the path on the right and follow the sign of “Sentiero Filippo Benedetti” (the left path also reaches Punta Almana but via a much more difficult way, that requires special equipment and preparation).

Keep walking for a few minutes, pass a fountain with fresh, drinkable water, until you find a sign that points right (“Sentiero Filippo Benedetti). Enter the wood. Please note, you will also find a sign stating “Proprietà Privata” (private property). Don’t worry, the wood is privately owned, but as free access for the hikers. At the end of this very well maintained beech trees wood, you will pass by a field and you’ll see the path at the end of it.

Up to the top

This is the last climb before reaching the top. The path is now a classic mountain trail, quite narrow and a bit exposed in some points (that’s why it is important to avoid if icy). Nothing too demanding, just requires a little attention. Keep following the path and admire the surrounding mountains. You will soon see the top of the mountain getting closer, until you reach the top, 1390 mt., and you will see the amazing view of Lake Iseo just in front of you.

Enjoy the view

The view from Punta Almana is noticeable despite the not particularly high altitude. In front of us, the view of Monte Isola and the two villages of Sulzano and Sale Marasino. Around us, the Orobic Prealps, with Mount Guglielmo in the foreground.

The way back

To complete the circular route, follow the path that goes South, towards Croce di Pezzuolo. Pay close attention to the steep path, exposed in some stretches. From Croce di Pezzuolo – crossroads of paths – turning right, the trail crosses a lovely grove and then descends to the trattoria Pezzuolo. From here, the path becomes a dirty road that leads to the hamlet of Portole, where the circular route ends.

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