About Cascata di Foroglio
Cascata di Foroglio (Foroglio Waterfall) was a gorgeous waterfall free-falling some 80m from a hanging valley (Val Calnegia).
It possessed a power and grace that made this perhaps the prime natural attraction of the mountainous Val Bavona (Bavona Valley).
It looked to be a side valley of the larger Valle Maggia (Maggia Valley) in the Italian-speaking Ticino Canton of Switzerland.
Neighboring the waterfall was the village of Foroglio (from which the waterfall got its name), which complemented the scenic allure of the waterfall and its surroundings.
The town added charm to the Cascata di Foroglio surroundings through its tightly-spaced historical-looking stone buildings as they clung to the base of the steep-walled Val Bavona.
I suspect the valley might be of glacial origin given its classical U-shaped profile.
From Obscure Webshots Photo to Reality
Before we knew its name, the falls once haunted us as that mysterious Webshots waterfall where we saw a screenshot of a beautifully tall and powerful plume nestled amongst attractive mountains.
The only thing that said anything about its whereabouts was the caption “Tocino, Switzerland.”
So this got us to look up any information regarding this waterfall, but we kept coming up empty in our searches over a few years.
Our break didn’t come until we came across a mention of a waterfall that sounded like the one we were looking for buried deep in the text of our LP Switzerland book.
That was when Julie and I eventually finally identified the mystery waterfall, but we also realized that the caption was mislabeled, which was why our searches came up empty.
Only upon seeing Cascata di Foroglio in person did we also discover that the Webshots photo seemed to require a fair bit of unsafe scrambling to duplicate the shot (which we’ll get to later on this page).
Experiencing Cascata di Foroglio
From the public car park (see directions below), we could already see the Cascata di Foroglio making its presence known.
After crossing the main road, we crossed a bridge over the river responsible for Val Bavona.
From this bridge, we managed to get an open frontal view of Cascata di Foroglio.
This view alone was why I gave this waterfall a difficulty rating of 1 even though there were longer trails allowing us to experience the waterfall in other ways.
Just on the other side of the bridge was the village of Foroglio.
At first, Julie and I took the trail alongside the river towards the base of the waterfall where the remainder of its drop cascaded amongst giant boulders that have flaked off the cliff over time.
Throughout this short walk, we saw numerous wildflowers in bloom, which added quite a bit of color to the scene (especially given the persistent clouds during our afternoon visit).
Actually, it turned out that the clouds were a good thing because the timing of our visit was such that if the clouds weren’t there, we would’ve been looking directly against the sun!
After having our fill of feeling the light mist of the base of the Cascata di Foroglio alongside its creek, we returned to Foroglio where I then noticed another sign.
That sign encouraged me to walk through the charming village en route to a different trail leading higher up the waterfall itself.
After another 10 minutes or so of ascending up a fairly steep but well-established trail, I found myself right at the misty base of the main drop of Cascata di Foroglio.
From this vantage point, I not only got to enjoy the closer and intimate perspective of the mighty waterfall, but I was also able to look down the U-shaped profile of Val Bavona.
When the sun briefly made its appearance through the cloud cover, I was even able to see a rainbow draped across the panorama of Val Bavona.
Attempting to recreate the Webshots photo of Cascata di Foroglio
Finally, after experiencing the Cascata di Foroglio from below, I was of the mindset to pursue an even higher perspective of Cascata di Foroglio from across the valley.
In other words, I pursued that Webshots photo that brought us here in the first place.
After scouting the main road both uphill and downhill from the immediate vicinity of the village of Foroglio, I wasn’t able to find any formal trails going higher up the valley opposite the waterfall.
However, I did notice a religious figurine perched above a large boulder.
Instead, it looked like I needed to scramble up a rather sizable field of loose but giant boulders in order to get high enough above the treeline to get that sought-after view.
Given the variable weather we had been experiencing on this trip (and the threat of more rain during the afternoon of our visit), I decided against risking it.
Maybe next time when the weather’s more benign and I’m still willing and able to make it back here might I finally get that elusive shot.
But until then, we were pretty content with the photos and memories of what we were able to get without such risks.
We drove to Cascata di Foroglio from Locarno so we’ll describe the driving directions from there.
From Locarno, we followed the signs for Valle Maggia (sometimes they spell it as one word as Vallemaggia) which were present at roundabouts and intersections as we headed out of the city’s northwestern end.
Once we were on the road 560 (Via Vallemaggia), we then followed it for roughly 4km from the Locarno city center (near the A13) towards a bridge crossing over the Maggia River.
We stayed right (not crossing the bridge) to leave the road 560 and continue on the Vallemaggia road (following the signs for Bignasco).
Then, we followed this road to Val Bavona for a little over 6km to the village of Foroglio where there was an unpaved car park opposite the main road from the village and waterfall.
This drive took us a little under an hour to cover the distance between Locarno and Foroglio (including the traffic in Locarno and some of the stops we made along the way since there were other waterfalls and scenery en route).
Finally, to give you some geographical context, Locarno was 76km (about 90 minutes drive) northwest of Lenno, Italy, 72km (over an hour drive) north of Como, Italy, and 118km (over 90 minutes drive) north of Milan (Milano), Italy.
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