The normal Swiss path up to Mount Generoso represents the easiest and fastest route to climb to the top of this peak of the Pre-Alps, from which you can enjoy an extraordinary panorama. In this article, we describe this easy trek that is accessible to almost everyone.
Trekking: Mount Generoso, Swiss Normal path
The summit of Mount Generoso (1704 meters above sea level), and the environments that surround it, had already fascinated me on the occasion of the ascent along the Italian Normal path (description available in Italian, on this website). On Saturday 26 March 2022, I wanted to change my point of view and climbed from the Swiss side (South-East).
The itinerary (see map below) starts from the car park in Bellavista, near "La Peonia" restaurant/bar (an excellent possible refreshment point). The car park is large and convenient (for a fee in summer), and can be reached from Mendrisio, following the signs for Mount Generoso (but not those for the departure station of the Generoso railway). The driveway crosses some hamlets at high altitude, and the beautiful beech woods that cover the southern slope of the mountain. It is narrow sometimes, so drive carefully.
The starting point is located at 1100 meters above sea level; the trekking itinerary which has a development of about 9.4 km, takes about 1 hour 30 minutes, and covers a positive difference in height of about 569 meters. Basically, it is within everyone's reach, including families with children.
Leave the car, go past the barrier that prevents access to unauthorized vehicles, and start walking along the wide dirt road that climbs into the woods in a northerly direction (ignore the paved road that continues towards the Muggio valley, to the east ). In short, after a large curve to the east, the road leads to a very beautiful place. A large clearing equipped with tables and benches opens up in front of you, and allows you both to enjoy nice picnics on sunny days and to observe the starry sky at night. It is also possible to stay overnight in the wooden house (Momo Bellavista), present on site, for a total immersion in nature, taking advantage of the adjacent bathrooms.
Proceeding further, you can still follow the road until you reach the Bellavista station of the train that climbs to the summit (as we did uphill), or cut through the woods (as we did downhill).
Once you reach the railway station, carefully cross the tracks, to continue from here along the path, but not before looking out from the panoramic terrace which allows you to admire a first glimpse of Lake Lugano. Then climb among the beech trees, first in a north-easterly direction, and then east, cross the railway again, until you reach the southern ridge which descends from the Generoso summit (here - 1352 m - the path joins up with the variant which climbs directly in the wood).
From here on, the route will follow the aforementioned ridge, remaining just below it, and under the railway. The view opens towards the east, towards the Muggio valley, and on the main peaks of the Como and Lecco Pre-Alps (Sasso Gordona, Mount San Primo, and in the background the Grigne group). You pass a couple of ridges that descend towards the east, walking in stretches that are mostly open and out of the woods (which could be sunny and hot in summer).
After the second ridge (1450 m), and the last stretch in the middle of the trees, you begin to see the summit of Mount Generoso, or rather the unmistakable Fiore di Pietra, the Hotel-Restaurant on the top, the work of Arch. Mario Botta. The wide path that follows climbs with a good slope, making you sweat a little, to reach the 1640 meters above sea level of the rural buildings located just below the hotel. The hotel and the railway are open from April to November, so they were both closed on the day of our excursion.
Another 10 minutes and you will be at the top of Mount Generoso. But already from here - from the terrace of the train arrival station, you can begin to admire a remarkable panorama, with a wide view of Lake Lugano. We also happened to spot one of the approximately 280 chamois that populate these mountains.
To climb to the top, you therefore have two possibilities. From the railway and hotel yard, go up to the small stone chapel just above, and follow a paved path, protected by a parapet, which follows the west ridge, and overlooks Lake Lugano. Or, continue past the rural buildings below the hotel (signs for Orimento), in the direction of ENE, and then turn sharply towards ONO, after about 250 meters, and start climbing the grassy slope, which takes you back to the same southern ridge that descends from the summit of the Mount, reached by the paved path.
At the summit (1704 m a.s.l.), a beautiful panoramic terrace awaits you, which really allows you to appreciate the uniqueness of this peak. Having no other reliefs around it, it allows you to appreciate the horizon of mountains, lakes, hills, and plains, at 360 degrees, like few other peaks at similar altitudes. For the complete description of the panorama, we refer you to the article already mentioned, relating to the ascent to the summit from Italy. Unfortunately, on Saturday, a bit of haze prevented us from admiring the more distant peaks.
Faced with this scenario, we lay down on some comfortable rocks, and ate our good packed lunch.
We then began the descent, initially proceeding along the grassy slopes that come down from the summit towards the south and east. Before starting to retrace a good part of the same ascent path, we looked out to admire the valleys that rise to Mount Generoso from the east, walking for a stretch, now in Italy, now in Switzerland, along the border line. The earth we live on is one, and these human barriers always have a strange effect for me when they materialize.....
The descent is quite rapid; in about an hour you will be back at the car, and at the Peonia Restaurant/Bar, where, as we did, you can refresh yourself with a good apple juice or a beer.
We conclude the article, pointing out that the Swiss Normal path to Monte Generoso is, perhaps, a little less varied than the one that reaches the summit from Italy, from the "Baite di Orimento", which winds along a wide, varied track and which touches some suggestive mountain pastures. But it is simpler and more comfortable, and equally profitable, due to the panorama that can be enjoyed at high altitude.
Have a nice walk. Fabio