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Garda Trek - Top Loop: The crown of Garda Trentino

Long distance hiking trail · Garda Trentino
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  • long-distance hike at Lake Garda: Garda Trek - Top Loop: The crown of Garda Trentino
    / long-distance hike at Lake Garda: Garda Trek - Top Loop: The crown of Garda Trentino
    Video: Outdooractive – 3D Flüge
  • / View from the Bastione: Riva del Garda
    Photo: Archivio APT Garda Trentino, Garda Trentino
  • / View on lake Garda from the trail
    Photo: Archivio APT Garda Trentino (ph. Calzà), Garda Trentino
  • / From Bocca Saval to Nino Pernici mountain hut
    Photo: N. Pellegrini, Garda Trentino
  • / Rifugio Pernici - Bocca di Trat
    Photo: Rifugio Pernici - Bocca di Trat, Garda Trentino
  • / Lake Tenno
    Photo: APT Garda Trentino (ph. Promovideo), Garda Trentino
  • / Rifugio Monte Calino San Pietro 10
  • / The mountain hut Rifugio San Pietro
    Photo: Archivio APT Garda Trentino (ph. Promovideo), Garda Trentino
  • / Peaceful sorriunding in San Giovanni
    Photo: APT Garda Trentino, Garda Trentino
  • / "Roman Bridge" - Ceniga
    Photo: Archivio Garda Trentino, Garda Trentino
  • / On the top of Monte Stivo
    Photo: Archivio Garda Trentino (Ph. Jennifer Doohan), Garda Trentino
  • / escursioni-malga-trentino
  • / View from the trenches from WWI above Nago
    Photo: Associazione 1 Territorio 2 Fronti, Garda Trentino
  • / Park Monte Baldo
    Photo: Parco Monte Baldo, Garda Trentino
  • / Rifugio Damiano Chiesa - Monte Altissimo
    Photo: G.P. Calzà ©APT Garda Trentino, Garda Trentino
  • / Garda Trentino from Monte Altissimo
    Photo: Foto LaValeBellotti, Garda Trentino
m 3000 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 -500 80 60 40 20 km MONTE CALINO "SAN PIETRO" Rifugio Malga San Giovanni Lago di Tenno MALGA ZANGA Ristoro San Giovanni
7 challenging stages from one mountain hut to the next, from the shores of the lake to 2000 m and above, touching on all of the peaks surrounding the northern shores of Lake Garda.
92.2 km
47:00 h
7,944 m
6,291 m

A crown formed of mountain peaks and a series of unforgettable views, taking you from the lake shore to over 2000 metres above sea level. A challenging trek full of thrills and surprises, and crowning it all, the return to the starting point by ferry.

The highest circuit of Garda Trek (Top Loop) is made up of 7 stages which can be done one after the other or on separate occasions and the treks can also be cut short if needs be. There are in fact a number of different options for getting back to Riva del Garda, either on foot or by public transport. During your hike along the Top Loop you can sleep either in mountain huts or in hotels in the valley, experiencing different kinds of accommodation. 

As a rule, the Top Loop can be hiked from June to October, but it is always advisable to check whether or not there is still any snow before setting out.

Please note that the Top Loop is a very challenging hike, which requires training and alpine skills. 

Author’s recommendation

 From palms and olive trees up to pastures and mountain pine: the Top Loop summerizes the variety of landscapes offered by Garda Trentino.  


Profile picture of Valentina Bellotti
Valentina Bellotti
Updated: March 15, 2021
Highest point
Monte Altissimo, 2,055 m
Lowest point
Riva del Garda, 89 m
Best time of year

Rest Stop

Ristoro San Giovanni
Canale di Tenno medieval village
Al Fortino Bike Bar & Food
Rifugio Malga San Giovanni

Safety information

While not involving any particular technical difficulties, this trek should only be undertaken by hikers with good fitness levels and plenty of experience since there are some very exposed stretches which require due caution.From late autumn to the end of spring you may come across icy stretches which make the going treacherous and require you to have the appropriate equipment. Much of the trail runs along the ridge and in case of bad weather may be subject to severe weather conditions, especially during a thunderstorm. Make sure you have footwear and clothing suited to hiking in alpine conditions. This excursion is only recommended from June to mid-October.

The information on this chart is subject to inevitable variations, so this means that none of the indications are absolute. It is not entirely possible to avoid giving inexact or imprecise information, given how quickly environmental and weather conditions can change. For this reason we decline any responsibility for changes which the user may encounter. In any case,  the hiker is advised to check the conditions of the places, environment and weather before setting out.

Tips, hints and links

  • For information on the conditions along the trails and whether or not the mountain huts are open you can contact the local offices of the mountaineering association (SAT - Società Alpinisti Tridentini). In Garda Trentino there are clubs in Riva del Garda and Arco.
  • For further information on routes and hike services as guides, shops and hiking friendly accommodation: 
    APT Garda Trentino, Tel. +39 0464 554444


Riva del Garda (88 m)
45.886981, 10.837777
45°53'13.1"N 10°50'16.0"E
32T 642592 5083132


Riva del Garda

Turn-by-turn directions

The trek begins and ends in Riva del Garda and is entirely on SAT hiking trails which present no particular technical difficulties but can at times be exposed and therefore require experience and attention to safety. For details see the description of the individual  stages:


all notes on protected areas

Public transport


The towns in Garda Trentino - Riva del Garda, Torbole sul Garda, Nago and Arco – are connected by a number of urban and intercity bus lines. 
The bus station in Riva del Garda is a 15-minute-walk from the starting point of the route. 

For up-to-the-minute information on timetables and routes:

Getting there

The start of the trail SAT 404 is in  Riva del Garda (via Monte Oro), near the covered pay parking. 

Getting to northern lake Garda / Garda Trentino:


The nearest car park is the garage in via Monte Oro (pay parking). Free parking is available at the old hospital in Riva del Garda (about 10 minutes on foot from the start of the trail)


45.886981, 10.837777
45°53'13.1"N 10°50'16.0"E
32T 642592 5083132
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Author’s map recommendations

  • Garda Trentino trekking map – On sale in information offices in Riva del Garda, Arco and Torbole and online

Book recommendations for this region:

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Recommended maps for this region:

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The trek proposed here does not have bolted routes or via ferratas, and so there is no need for helmets, harness or rope. However, considering how physically demanding the route is, the length of the stages and the presence of some exposed stretches, this type of trek is only recommended for people who are very fit, who have a good sense of direction and who are used to hiking in a mountain environment.  
GardaTrek requires you to have standard hiking equipment for alpine terrain and we suggest you also bring a wind and waterproof jacket and fleece in case of bad weather, a torch, a change of underwear, sunglasses and sunscreen, a water canteen and snacks.

Questions and answers

Question from Guido Lattuneddu · June 29, 2020 · Community
Buongiorno, scusate il disturbo, voglio sapere semplicemente che cosa significa che il Top Loop è chiuso. Dovrei farlo ad Agosto con mio fratello e quindi volevo sapere se per caso in quel periodo sarà aperto. Vi ringrazio per l'attenzione e il vostro tempo.
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Buongiorno Guido, sono ancora presenti degli schianti nella zona del Monte Creino (parte sentiero 637 - tappa 5). Stiamo lavorando per liberare il sentiero quanto prima, quindi la invito a ricontattarci prima di iniziare il trekking.


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Photos from others

92.2 km
47:00 h
7,944 m
6,291 m
Public-transport-friendly Multi-stage route Scenic Summit route Refreshment stops available Geological highlights Cultural/historical value Botanical highlights Insider tip


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Maps and trails
  • 7 Stages
Long distance hiking trail · Garda Trentino
Garda Trek - Top Loop 1: from Riva del Garda to Rifugio Pernici
Top difficult Stage 1 closed
13.7 km
7:00 h
1,822 m
317 m

This stage counts nearly 1600 metres of elevation gain, from the mediterranean shores of Lake Garda to the alpine peaks between Garda Trentino and ...

from Valentina Bellotti,   Garda Trentino
Long distance hiking trail · Garda Trentino
GardaTrek - Top Loop 2: descent to Lake Tenno
Top difficult Stage 2
11.6 km
5:00 h
678 m
1,305 m

This stage goes from a hut to the next, from Nino Pernici to San Pietro, touching the verdant shores of lake Tenno and the evocative medieval ...

from Valentina Bellotti,   Garda Trentino
Long distance hiking trail · Garda Trentino
GardaTrek - Top Loop 3: a long descent to the River Sarca
Top difficult Stage 3
20 km
7:43 h
1,471 m
2,322 m

From San Pietro hut (1000 m above sea level) to the valley bottom again. Another stage characterized by a great variety of lanscapes as you descend ...

from Valentina Bellotti,   Garda Trentino
Long distance hiking trail · Garda Lake
GardaTrek - Top Loop 4: to the balcony over Lake Garda
Top difficult Stage 4
16.3 km
7:50 h
1,917 m
16 m

Another uphill stage! From the bottom of the valley there is almost 2000 metres of elevation gain to get to one of the most spectacular viewing ...

from Valentina Bellotti,   Garda Trentino
Long distance hiking trail · Garda Trentino
GardaTrek - Top Loop 5: Across the former Austrian Front
Top difficult Stage 5
11.8 km
4:00 h
4 m
1,788 m

A breathtaking descent from the over 2000 metres a.s.l. of the pastures of Monte Stivo to Nago in the valley floor, across the former front of teh ...

from Valentina Bellotti,   Garda Trentino
Long distance hiking trail · Garda Trentino
GardaTrek - Top Loop 6: In the Garden of Europe
Top difficult Stage 6
11.6 km
7:00 h
1,833 m
4 m

This stage takes you to Monte Baldo, renowned for the exceptional variety of its flora (it's therefore known as "Garden of Europe") and the ...

from Valentina Bellotti,   Garda Trentino
Long distance hiking trail · Garda Trentino
GardaTrek - Top Loop 7: Back to the water
Top moderate Stage 7
7.6 km
2:50 h
374 m
684 m

A breathtaking finale for the Top Loop of GardaTrek: take the cable car down to Monte Baldo and return by ferry to get back to where you started ...

from Valentina Bellotti,   Garda Trentino
: h
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