The Verzasca River's source is on the peaks above Sonogno from where it follows the namesake valley down to the Corippo fork and flows into the artificial lake. The clear emerald-colored waters and the pristine nature that surrounds it make it an appreciated destination in the summer when the spots with the calmer waters transform into inviting outdoor pools and the shores, especially in the area around Lavertezzo, fill-up with swimmers. A true jewel in the midst of the natural wilderness of this valley, a paradise for underwater diving lovers. Caution and safety are crucial!
Whoever visits the Verzasca Valley and passes the gradient that from Gordola leads to the imposing dam inaugurated in 1966 will at first see the great artificial lake created to exploit the water resources of the region. In spring and summer, when the water level is at its highest, the lake gives the valley an idyllic appearance. The artificially created water volume has swallowed the course of the river that used to flow in deep gorges. However, at the fork in Corippo the visitor meets the river once again as over long segments it flows parallel to the road.
Thanks to its clear emerald-colored waters, the Verzasca river is very popular and appreciated. Numerous are the photographic images online, in books, in magazines and calendars. Particularly renowned are those of Lavertezzo where the double arched Ponte dei salti (bridge of jumps) is mirrored in the green pools.
The river flows through a pristine natural landscape, between smooth rocks and forests. The long but easy walk known as Sentierone, retraces the old path used by peasants going to the plain and offers a view of the river from particularly striking positions.
During the summer the river Verzasca – and particularly the area of Lavertezzo – becomes a blockbuster destination and its bodies of water become inviting outdoor pools while the shores fill with swimmers in search of a place to cool off. Many limit themselves to sunbathing by laying on large rocks, others swim or dive particularly from the Ponte dei salti – an activity that requires caution, experience and common sense.
A diver's paradise, the river and its lateral tributaries are also suitable for practicing other sports such as canyoning and kayaking. Ideal for diving are some areas in Lavertezzo (scuba tank refills are in Lavertezzo and Vogorno). Many scuba divers also enjoy photographing with remarkable results.
The water is rather cold and requires caution when entering. The pebbles and wet rocks can be slippery and the current and swirls can turn into a serious danger. Over the past few years the Verzasca Safe River Commission (www.verzasca.com/river) has launched information campaigns, signposts and safety advice to ensure that this beautiful leisure area doesn't become a disaster scene.
Access to the river
Access to the river is indicated in different places. From 2013 the parking in the valley is regulated by the Verzasca Parking Card, sold at info points, kiosks, restaurants, tourist offices and online. The daily pass (CHF 10) or weekly pass (CHF 30) allows you to park in 33 places scattered along the Verzasca and includes a pocket map of the valley with tourist information.