For anyone who loves nature, trekking and life in the open air, Parco dei 100 Laghi [Park of 100 Lakes] is a destination that can’t be missed, taking you one step from heaven with its combination of nature, trails by the CAI [Club Alpino Italiano], breathtaking views and mountain retreats where you can enjoy the best food and wine of the area.
The adventure in Park of 100 Lakes begins in Prato Spilla, one of two ski resorts still operating in the Parma Apennines with ski lifts, a bar-restaurant, a hotel, and more: during non-ski seasons, Prato Spilla is an important starting point for trekking excursions.
So, armed with a backpack and boots, you’ll set off on foot to Lake Ballano and Lake Verde on the CAI path 707, from which various CAI paths branch off leading to the discovery of the Val Cedra lakes and surrounding peaks.
Around Lake Ballano, Lake Verde and along the bordering paths, there are many plant and animal species that are specially protected as their biological diversity represents a unique and precious heritage.
At this point, it is worth continuing the hike along path 711 towards the small and pristine Lake Frasconi, a hidden body of water wrapped in beech woods, where wind, snow and storms have crafted this part of the Apennines into a magical world.
The second part of the itinerary is dedicated to the Percorso delle Frazioni [Trail of the Country Hamlets] and can be tackled in two ways: the Blue direction and the Green direction.
Each one is characterized by a theme and go through Pianadetto, Valditacca and Trefiumi, in Upper Val Cedra, along an undemanding, winding road. The trails take about 2 and a half hours respectively, making for five hours in total.
Percorso delle Frazioni - Blue direction: (departing from Pianadetto and arriving in Trefiumi) following a "water and energy" theme that draws on the century-old use of water to produce electricity in the valleys where the Cedra and Enza streams flow. Moving along the trail flagged in blue, you will walk on a diverting canal for long stretches. This canal was built in the early 1900s to collect the large amounts of water of Upper Val Cedra and direct it towards the hydroelectric power stations downstream.
Percorso delle Frazioni - Green direction: (from Trefiumi to Pianadetto) following a theme related to "environment, local culture and rural architecture" and passing through the narrow lanes of the three previously mentioned hamlets, you will discover some of the most significant aspects of the design and urban planning of these small mountain villages, the surrounding natural ecosystems and the folk traditions that still characterize them to this day.
Even once the 48 hours of getting to know Park of 100 Lakes have come to an end, there are still many more trails and outdoor activities to try.
The Parma Apennines, as you may have guessed, are a source of endless joy that await you all year round!