This walk has been designed for a mixed ability group. For the adventurous, It includes an optional extra loop which visits the main Apennine Ridge and includes a short Via Ferrata on the ridge. This is the Recommended Route. The alternative route omits this "adventure loop" and is therefore shorter and with less ascent.
It is a clockwise circuit which climbs via Rifugio Cita de Sarzana and Lago Acuto to reach the main Apennine ridge at Cima Buffanaro. Here an acute right turn back along the ridge provides an exciting descent, with a short Via Ferrata, and a visit to the lower summit of Monte Acuto.
Leave the car park on path 659, climbing steadily, ENE at first but gradually swinging to the SE. After 2 miles pass path 657, coming in from the left, at Rifugio Citta di Sarzana, and then drop 30m to Lago di Monte Acuto.
Continue SE on path 659, ignoring path 657 going off to the R. Some 300m after leaving the lake, turn right onto path 657a, the Costa del Lago path, which climbs steadily to the south-west. After veering to the south and then south-east, this path reaches the main Apennine ridge by joining path 00 at Cima Buffanaro. The views SE along the ridge to Monte Alto are simply stunning.
Turn sharply right onto path 00, walking north-westwards along the narrowing ridge for 200 metres. From here, a Via Ferrata cable supports the next 500m of the descending traverse. After this, descend a further 500m ridge section to reach the junction with path 657 just below Monte Acuto. Continue across the path junction to the summit of Monte Acuto and then return.
From here, continue on path 00, travelling W on a ridge spur for 800m, before turning right to the NW, to begin a steep zig-zg descent on path 659a. After 0.6 miles meet another branch of path 659a and turn right for a more gradual northerly descent back to the Car Park.
Map Showing Possible Routes (Click Map below for Larger Version )