The Aided path of the River is a pleasant itinerary that runs uphill along the bed of the river It was near Mandello al Lario. The itinerary has limited difficulties and is accessible all year round due to the low altitude.
The starting point of the itinerary is the hamlet of Sonvico, in the municipality of Mandello del Lario in the province of Lecco. From the state road that goes up from Lecco in the direction of Valtellina, exit at Abbadia Lariana and then towards Mandello del Lario. Follow the signs for the hamlet of Somana and from the latter go up towards the district of Sonvico. You reach a crossroads, keep to the right and there are some parking lots where you can leave the car.
Directions for Google Maps available here.
The first signs can already be seen from the parking lot. The Aided path of the River is marked with the sign 15B. Follow the path in the slight slope into the wood reaching a small fountain with the first junction where we will keep the left. Walking practically flat we reach a second saddle with a sign indicating to continue to the left. In descent we will descend to the Era stream and in fact we begin the Aided River Path (30 'from the parking lot).
The trail is marked with red or white-red signs and is quite easy to follow. After a simple first ford we start to go up the path and meet the first chain. The path is on the left bank and as you continue to meet rocks, exposed stretches of the path with the chain that gives us support from the side in a succession of uphill and downhill sections with the river that resonates at our side. We will reach a new ford and we will take the orographic right, continuing the ascent of the path. As we proceed we ascend some rocky outcrops until we cross the path a couple of times and on the other side of the river. In this section, one sometimes finds oneself walking in the river bed and therefore being careful not to lose the signs. At some point you are on the orographic left and you go up some easy rocks until you reach a traverse with some brackets to support your feet. This stretch is near some rapids and waterfalls . Continue along the path and reach the longest vertical section - about 6 meters - to be climbed in easy climbing with excellent grips for hands and feet. At the end of this section, go up some small rocks, traverses towards right and follow the last steep section of path that leads us to a small path with a signpost. At this point the Aided path of the river ends (1h 45 'from the start - 2h 15' total).
If you wish to return to Sonvico from the end of the path on the river, continue left at the saddle following the downhill path 15 which takes you back to the parking lot (1h 15 'from the end of the via ferrata - 3h 30' total).
However, there are at least 2 alternatives to continue the itinerary:
The path is very beautiful. Low difficulties (limited to a couple of steps) and a very pleasant environment, suitable for beginners and children. The exposure is very limited.
As anticipated above, an opportunity is to combine the Aided path of the River with the Sileggio-Aided Zucco Path (more sustained difficulties in the second). Obviously it requires good physical shape, becoming a long itinerary (approx. 20 km) with an important gap.
Alternatively, for lovers of via ferrata you could opt for a visit to the nearby Via Ferrata of the Morcate Tunnel or the most difficult Ferrata to the Corno del Medale or to Via Ferrata Gamma 1. These last two are longer and more difficult itineraries, so it would be better to do them first and then eventually make the Aided River Trail in the afternoon hours.