Cascate di Lares

Val Genova / Carisolo, Trento Province, Italy

About Cascate di Lares

Hiking Distance: 3-4km round trip
Suggested Time: 75-90 minutes

Date first visited: 2013-06-01
Date last visited: 2013-06-01

Waterfall Latitude: 46.16105
Waterfall Longitude: 10.6625

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Cascate di Lares (Lares Waterfalls) were a series of a lower and upper waterfalls that we actually didn’t plan on seeing (let alone know about) prior to the start of our Italy trip in 2013. However, when we drove into Val Genova, I had noticed a sign saying something to the effect of “Benvenuto alle Cascate di Nardis e Lares” (Welcome to the waterfalls of Nardis and Lares). So that hinted to me that perhaps there was another waterfall besides the more famous Cascate di Nardis that was worth seeing, and as you can see from this page, a strong argument can be made that indeed Lares was no slouch in its own right!

It turned out that these waterfalls weren’t that far away (driving-wise, at least) from Cascate di Nardis, but we did have some concerns regarding whether we were driving on roads that were restricted to certain types of traffic or not (see directions below). In any case, we were already able to see part of the waterfall perched high up on one side of the mountains flanking Val Genova, and that distant view enticed us to do the hike to get a closer look.

From the small parking space right before the Ponte Rosso (Red Bridge; even though the bridge itself wasn’t red), we walked across the bridge and then onto some farm land with a lot of cows grazing on it. There were signs pointing the way to the waterfall though the local farmers closed to gate at the far end of the bridge to prevent cows from getting out. The gate was basically a couple of long branches tied together by rope, and Julie was able to duck through them while I had to do a rather high step over them to get through.

Cascate_di_Lares__105_20130601 - The gate on the far side of Ponte Rosso in order to keep the cows on the pasture
The gate on the far side of Ponte Rosso in order to keep the cows on the pasture

After traversing the private farm land (in which we had also noticed some connecting riverside trail suggesting it was possible to walk here on along this side of the river), we then climbed uphill into a forested area. At that point, there were signs indicating that there was an upper waterfall (left) and a lower waterfall (right).

We first went right to go to the lower waterfall. That path followed along the stream that I suspected was the outflow of the waterfalls. It passed by a bridge and then steeply climbed up practically alongside the course of the creek until it reached an overlook with wooden railings. This overlook provided us with an angled view of the gushing lower waterfall, which I suspect might be around 20-30m tall or so (this is just a guess). Even though it took us around 20 minutes or so to get to this point, the steep uphill nature of the hike to get here made it seem like it took longer than that.

When we had our fill of the lower of the Cascate di Lares, we then briefly descended the way we came before we noticed some connecting trails going right across towards the ascending trail to the upper waterfall. It was a little tricky assuring ourselves that these shortcut trails were legitimate since there was a worrisome lack of signage, but it turned out OK for us. I suppose if we really weren’t sure about what we were doing, we could’ve descended the way we came all the way back to the junction, and then follow the signs for the upper waterfall.

In any case, when we were confident that we were going the right way (especially after finally spotting a sign that helped to reassure us), that was when the trail relentlessly climbed more steps and steep slopes. The trail was still quite obvious to follow, but given the amount of climbing we did to get to the lower waterfall and now this additional climb to get up to the upper waterfall, Julie and I were clearly breathing heavily during this ascent. But eventually after another 30 minutes or so from the lower waterfall, we finally made it to a steep grassy area with a direct view of the two-tiered upper of the Cascate di Lares (see photo at the top of this page).

Julie and I were pretty content with just getting the frontal views and taking photos and movies from the grassy hill, but there were more informal trails going even further up and closer to the pair of waterfalls. This pair of falls seemed taller than the lower waterfall so the desire wasn’t real strong for us to do any additional hiking and scrambling than what we already had to do to get here. After having our fill of the falls, it was a quick but steep downhill walk all the way back to the Ponte Rosso area, and the total time spent away from the car was about 1 hour 15 minutes.

Note that I’ve also seen this waterfall referred to as Cascata di Lares (i.e. the singular form of cascata) even though there were clearly multiple waterfalls comprising the overall falls. Go figure.

Cascate_di_Lares__116_20130601 - This was the partial view of Cascate di Lares from where we parked the car
Cascate_di_Lares__120_20130601 - Approaching the red bridge which was on the left.  The road on the right would eventually lead to Malga Bedole
Cascate_di_Lares__013_20130601 - Following the signs telling us to cross the Ponte Rosso to get closer to Cascate di Lares, which can be seen from here
Cascate_di_Lares__017_20130601 - Looking downstream from Ponte Rosso towards our parked rental car as well as the river
Cascate_di_Lares__009_20130601 - Looking upstream from the Ponte Rosso
Cascate_di_Lares__025_20130601 - On the other side of Ponte Rosso and now crossing through someone's pasture
Cascate_di_Lares__027_20130601 - Passing by some cows and some structure with Cascate di Lares in the distance
Cascate_di_Lares__094_20130601 - This was the left fork heading to the upper waterfall
Cascate_di_Lares__034_20130601 - We went past the fork and were now on the trail to the lower waterfall
Cascate_di_Lares__038_20130601 - The trail then skirted the stream that I believe was the outflow for Cascate di Lares
Cascate_di_Lares__040_20130601 - Julie going up steps as we made the ascent towards the lower waterfall
Cascate_di_Lares__042_20130601 - Still more climbing to get up to the lower waterfall
Cascate_di_Lares__060_20130601 - After having our fill of the lower falls, Julie made her way back down
Cascate_di_Lares__064_20130601 - Then, we cut across on this trail to join up with the trail to the upper waterfall
Cascate_di_Lares__065_20130601 - It was a taxing uphill hike so while I was taking a water break, I waited for Julie to catch up to me
Cascate_di_Lares__076_20130601 - We finally made it up to the cascata superiore (upper waterfall)
Cascate_di_Lares__091_20130601 - After having our fill of the upper waterfall, it was time to make the long descent
Cascate_di_Lares__099_20130601 - Almost at the end of the long descent, which afforded us this view of the mountains across the valley as well as the farm down below
Cascate_di_Lares__104_20130601 - About to cross the red bridge once again
Cascate_di_Lares__124_20130601 - Back at the parked car, we took some time to relax and enjoy the flowers in bloom along with the serenity of Val Genova


For driving directions to get to Val Genova from the city of Trento, see the Cascate di Nardis page. Once you’re on the Val Genova road and you’ve continued past Cascate di Nardis, then keep driving the narrow road for another 4km to the Ponte Rosso (Red Bridge). We found parking near the Ponte Rosso. Note that Ponte Rosso and the more public parking area by Ponte Verde (Green Bridge) are about 4.5km apart.

Beyond Ponte Rosso, there was the familiar red-circled-filled-in-with-white sign suggesting the road was a ZTL (Zona di Traffico Limitato) or only allowed for authorized vehicles at that point. Even driving between the Red and Green bridges seemed to be subject to some degree of traffic control even though it didn’t appear to be in effect during our visit on June 1, 2013.

Finally for some additional context, Trento was 61km (under an hour drive) south of Bolzano, 50km (under an hour drive) east of Riva del Garda, 213km (2-2.5 hours drive) northwest of Venice (Venezia), and 224km (over 2.5 hours drive) northeast of Milan (Milano).

Right to left L-shaped sweep of the lower waterfall

Right to left sweep of the two-tiered upper waterfalls

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Tagged with: val genova, carisolo, trento, trentino, alto adige, sudtirol, south tyrol, italy, waterfall, ponte rosso, adamello-brenta

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