Val del Mis

Mis Lake
(photo by: Stefano Mariech)

Access: From Pian Falcina (Lago del Mis) to La Stua, along the SP road (provincial road), with short lateral detours (Val Brenton, Val Soffia)

A big transverse valley
Val del Mis, a narrow and deep canyon set between high smooth and receding walls, is a very ancient transverse valley, crossing (transversally) the whole chain of Dolomiti Bellunesi, giving in this way the opportunity to observe the main geological formations, from Scaglia rossa (entrance of the valley) to Dolomia Principale. As it is often true for ancient valleys, Val del Mis is a complex environmental system, whose morphological evolution depended on glaciers, watercourses, the slopes degradation processes (landslides and erosion) and, locally, karst corrosion. The glacial action carried out by the ancient Mis glacier during the glacial period can be recognized for the slightly U-shape of the transversal silhouette (rather large valley bottom and rather steep slopes). The stretch between lower Gena and Titele (“Canal del Mis”) is particularly charming, since it looks like a gorge deeply dug into the stratified rocks in subhorizontal banks of Dolomia Principale (river-karst canyon). The gorge is bordered with a system of narrow/deep lateral valleys and ravines, some of which clearly situated along important faults (Val Falcina, Val Brenton, Val Soffia). With short detours from the main road, it is possible to enter and explore very charming and interesting micro-environments:

  • (a) the “cadini” (potholes) of Brenton, potholes dug in the subhorizontal rocky strata of Dolomia Principale, with their vortical water movements and detritus transported during the floods
  • (b) Soffia waterfall, a high waterfall situated in a ravine
  • (c) La Stua karst springs, waters coming from the rocks of Dolomia Principale, representing one of the main routes of the subterranean drainage of Piani Eterni karst plateau
  • (d) (e) the shores of torrent Mis, with a rich variety of pebbles: light color pebbles (limestone, dolomia), dark volcanic pebbles (porphyry, andesites, volcanic sandstone), multicolored pebbles (conglomerates, gneiss), foliated silver-gray pebbles (phyllites).

Rocks, environments, and other features

Rocks: Scaglia rossa (Vedana Lake, Le Rosse, Pascoli); Biancone (Pascoli); Vajont Limestone (impost abutments of the dam); Gray Limestone (from the dam to Val Falcina); Dolomia Principale (from Val Falcina to Titele)
Landscape features:

Glacial features: glacial deposits (upper Gena, landslides along the road)
Karst features: karst springs (La Stua)
Periglacial features: niches and shelters under the rock
River-torrential features: torrential deposits (shore of torrent Mis); giants kettles (Val Brenton); waterfalls (La Soffia)

Environment / Landscape

A river-karst canyon
“There are valleys here I have not seen anywhere else (…). Valle del Mis, for instance, with its lateral valleys entering an tangle of wild mountains without glory…” (Dino Buzzati).
Among the most important valleys of the Park, Val del Mis distinguishes itself for its peculiar features and the enigmatic and gloomy charm of its karst canyons and ravines, for the quality of its “wet biotopes” (lake, waterfalls, karst springs, giants kettles), for the presence of small and mainly abandoned rural settlements (Gena media, Gena alta, Pattine, La Stua).

Notes: easy itinerary.