Canyoning has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember, and it was everything I ever expected, and much more! The fact that our canyoning route was along the Rio Neva stream, ending with a breathtaking view of Noana Lake in the Trentino region, was the cherry on top of a very delicious Sundae.
Trentino is a beautiful region in Northern Italy that is incredibly underrated and has so much to offer! During my two-weeks there, in addition to canyoning the beautiful gorges in Noana valley, I had an opportunity to explore the capital of Trento, hike to the iconic Baita Segantini, sleep in a mountain hut surrounded by the Dolomites (and at a farmhouse inn!), trek through the Catinaccio area, go via Ferrata, and relax at the beautiful QC Terme Spa oasis. It was without a doubt one of the best and most diverse vacations I've ever taken!
Here's a map of the itinerary for the day, including our Via Ferrata route, and our light hike to the Tibetan Bridge. Though I've included a Bing Map at the end of this article to give you a reference point of where to start and to help with directions, the map below might help you visualize it on a more granular level. Here's the full map on Mapcarta for reference.
We started our canyoning adventure at Rifugio Fonteghi, a mountain hut located at 1100 meters above sea level and surrounded by the beautiful Dolomites.
We left our car at the back and met our Alpine Guides, who brought us all the equipment necessary and were gracious enough to help us into our wet suits. Getting into that wetsuit is definitely a warm-up activity, but it proved very useful in protecting us from the cold stream!
The route we were taken on takes about 2 hours to complete and is considered an easy route in the region, perfect for beginners or families (children 8 and older).
The guides helped us descend every step of the way into the canyon, slide down natural rock-toboggans, jump from small cliffs, and swim through the crystalline pools.
They also gave us a lot of interesting information along the way and kept us moving at a consistent pace.
The beginning started off fairly tame and gave us a chance to adjust to the technique, process, and appreciate our surroundings. Mother Nature has been hard at work and definitely doesn't disappoint on this one. Being in a group, with only one person descending at a time, gives you time to look around and take it all in.
As we dove deeper and deeper into the canyon, the scenery becomes more and more jaw-dropping. It's incredible to think that it's been carved out over centuries, and we are just a very small part of its story.
Some of the gorges are so narrow, you have to let yourself be transported by the current and use your hands to hold steady. The pools waiting at the bottom are sometimes deeper than expected, which adds to the fun. It's like being at a natural water park!
The Grand Finale
The caves and perfectly carved rock cliff walls get more exciting, fascinating, dramatic, and spectacular as you move forward through the gorges and pools.
One of my favorite spots was called “The Cathedral”, where the sheer vertical rocks surrounded the crystalline pool made your voice echo so beautifully. We found ourselves testing our voices, in awe of the natural beauty of this place.
The guides helped us rappel down and jump with the help of ropes. I learned that the hardest part of canyoning is simply letting go. While you're harnessed in and roped down by a guide, all you have to do is… nothing… and that's the most challenging part. Our first instinct is to use our legs to push or to grab onto rocks with our hands, but in reality, you just have to stay still and trust. It's harder said than done.
Considering the route can take between two and three hours, this becomes second nature midway through. We even had a running joke that we had to stay still like a salami hanging in a cold cellar, as our guide slowly rappeled us down into the next gorge.
The final reward is reaching the end of the route and stumbling upon the turquoise blues of Noana Lake. This view is a lasting one as you
Canyoning is an unmissable, bucket list-worthy activity during your time in Trentino.
It's unforgettable, adventurous, high-adrenaline, exciting and doesn't require anything more than being comfortable being in the water. The guides take care of the rest. There are many routes you can try, though I recommend Val Noana – it's truly a truly beautiful experience.
What To Bring
The Alpine Guides will provide all the equipment you'll need – your wetsuit (which comes in handy!), harness, carabiners, and helmet. They also have boots and life jackets for those that need them.
All you need to bring for the canyoning portion is a swimsuit (for underneath your wetsuit), a pair of shoes with good grip that can get wet and your excitement!
Bring a full set of clothes to change into after you get out of your wetsuit, including spare shoes and a towel.
You may also want to bring a waterproof action camera to take pictures. I used my GoPro Hero 7 with a wrist mount so I can have flexibility.
Best Time To Go Canyoning
You can go on a canyoning adventure between May and September. We went mid-June and the conditions were great. The water was a little cold, though not something you have to worry about with your super wetsuit on.
There are two tours a day, in the morning and in the afternoon. You have to make a reservation ahead of time with the Aquile di San Martino to canyon down the Val Noana route.
Lunch at Fonteghi Refuge
There's no appetite like the one you build after a three-hour canyoning adventure! After changing into dry clothes and getting out of our wetsuits (much easier than getting into them), we stayed at the Fonteghi Refuge for a hearty, traditional and homemade lunch.
Everything we ordered was simply delicious and hit the spot after our adrenaline-filled morning. It was just what we needed!
If you're planning on spending a few days immersing yourself in the beauty of the area, Fonteghi Refuge also has rooms for overnight stays.
We stayed at the beautiful Brunet – The Dolomites Resort, a short 15-minute drive away.
Hike to the Tibetan Bridge
Post-lunch, we had one more adventure through the Noana Valley to see the new Tibetan bridge.
Leaving our car at the Fonteghi Refuge, we went on a light hike to further admire this area. The scenery was breathtaking, with gorgeous mountain and forest views.
The first sighting of the Tibetan bridge through the dense forest.
Standing almost 30 meters high, and 70 meters long, the bridge is very impressive as it creates a connection between Noana Valley and Mezzano.
Last updated: September 15, 2019
Many thanks to Visit Trentino, Visit San Martino, Fonteghi Refuge Mountain Hut, and Traverse for facilitating this amazing adventure day. All opinions, as always, are my own. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you purchase anything through them. For more information, read the disclosure policy.