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Riale di Nala inferiore, Osogna

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Extraordinary descent, probably one of the most beautiful in Ticino. The lower part of the Riale di Nala offers both a technical, highly aquatic course and a wild, mineral environment of great beauty. The succession of obstacles is continuous and most of the abseils are made in the active environment, some of them involving total immersion in the crashing water. The rock, sculpted, folded and shaped by erosion and time, takes on shades of grey or orange-red in places, to form a magnificent crystalline setting with the translucent green water. Even if the lower part is crowded, this is a highly recommended itinerary for discovering the Ticino.

Technical summary

Type ✦ Water canyon
Location ✦ Osogna
Region ✦ Ticino
Country ✦ Switzerland
Length ✦ 450m
Vertical rise ✦ 180m
Difficulty ✦ v4-a4-II
Max abseiling ✦ 50m
Duration ✦ 4h to 4h30
Interest ✦ ★★

Access to the place

Coming from Bellinzona towards Biasca, enter the village of Osogna, opposite Lodrino. Park in a parking lot to the north, next to the cemetery.

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 45'

From the parking lot, head up towards the Santa Maria del Castello path. Go past the church and, at the top, branch off to follow the mini-trail on the right to reach the start of the canyon, lower section (just after a small passage equipped with a cable and a small staircase).

Course 3h à 3h30

The canyon is fairly short in distance, but the direct succession of obstacles makes for slow progress. There's a lot of water, particularly in the starting cascade and the extremely watery 50m long waterfall.

The equipment in place is impeccable, except on the final abseil or jump where access to the belay points is expo, especially with the flow of water (unless we missed a higher point to get there). The longest abseil is 50m long. Before setting off, call the Infoline on +41 91 756 66 15 for information on water release forecasts on the upstream dam.

Part 1

The descent begins with an abseil down a 30m waterfall in the active section, which immediately sets the mood, followed by 2 abseils of 15m in the active section. We swim in large basins before abseiling into a narrow corridor that winds with our feet in the water.

Immediately afterwards, another 20m abseil lands us in the giant cauldron. The walls here are beautifully colored and sculpted. There's an S-bend with some beautiful basins before arriving at the belay of the big 50m waterfall.
Part 2

The 50m cascade is superb, extremely wet but not difficult. It's hard to see where we are, given the amount of water on our helmets! We end up again in a basin with pleated walls.

This is followed almost immediately by another steep waterfall, and the abseil ends again in a deluge of water. We swim a little to get out and the view opens up onto the valley and the 3rd final section. It's also possible to escape at this point (bathers on foot).
Part 3

It starts with an explosive 15m slide, very steep, eject on the last few meters, impressive but not dangerous (otherwise left bank abseiling). Then it's on to the final series of cascading basins above the village of Osogna: 18m, 10m and then access to the final abseil via a sloping, winding 25m waterfall.

Beware, the final jump seemed risky and dangerous, if only to access the slippery jump platform with no visible handrail (?). At the bottom there are bathers and it seems preferable to call back to the left bank, but access to the relay points requires climbing the rock in an exposed manner ... unless we've missed something? We then land in the large final basin, the local swimming pool for passing tourists.


Exit to the right to reach the village. Go down to find the access road and walk 5′ to the parking lot.

Map & topo



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