Lake Barcis lies at the foot of the Friulian Dolomites and offers the spectacular view of its emerald waters surrounded by the mountainous backdrop. The color of the lake and the clear waters, reflecting the contours of the valley, enchant the visitor, the place is charming and the atmosphere relaxing. The territory is included in the Forra del Cellina Nature Reserve, part of the Friulian Dolomites Natural Park.
The reserve is crossed by the Cellina stream, which, over the centuries, has carved into the limestone between Barcis and Montereale, forming the Cellina gorge, the largest canyon in Friuli Venezia Giulia and one of the most scenic in Italy, with rock walls plunging into crystal-clear waters.
One of the strengths of Lake Barcis is the possibility of many different types of trails. In addition to lakeside walks, one can ford the Dint Trail in the Friulian Dolomites Park, walk the Old Valcellina Road in the Cellina Gorge Nature Reserve, and cross the Tibetan Bridge. In addition, the lake is located at the entrance to the Prescudin Regional Forest.
Lake Barcis is the starting point for enjoying a unique experience: driving along the Old Valcellina Road, which was once the only link between the valley and the plain. The road is within the nature reserve, and the view is a panoramic one over the Forra del Cellina canyon, the largest in Friuli Venezia Giulia. There is also a Tibetan bridge along the way, which allows a view of the canyon from a height of 20m.
The Barcis dam, which has allowed the reservoir of 22 million cubic meters of water, is an example of the grandeur of human ingenuity. The dam, of the double-curvature type, is about 50 meters high and the thickness ranges from 2 to 4.5 meters. The dam has 3 drains that are visible when the lake is emptied in the winter period. From the dam, the view is of the lake on one side and the Cellina Gorge on the other.
The lakeside walk is especially recommended in spring and fall to enjoy the spectacular colors that the Valcellina offers. The 6-kilometer route is suitable for everyone and also allows for relaxing stops at tables and benches along the way. In addition, there is also the possibility of lying in the sun or holding a barbecue in the equipped areas.
The Ponte Antoi dam on the Cellina stream was designed by engineer Carlo Semenza, whose works include the Vajont dam. The dam can be visited year-round, but to fully admire the structure, a visit in the winter period is recommended because the Barcis reservoir is emptied.
Barcis is a small mountain village, situated on the shores of the lake of the same name, inhabited by 229 people, in the province of Pordenone. It is located at the foot of the Dolomite mountain range, next to the Forra del Cellina Nature Reserve. Barcis is a very quaint village with a flavor of yesteryear, and there is no shortage of cultural attractions: you can visit the 17th-century Palazzo Centi and the church of St. John the Baptist with its frescoes of the beheading of the saint and the banquet of Salome.
Lake Barcis is also very popular because there is the possibility of carrying out many sports activities there. The surrounding area is crisscrossed by a network of bike trails, and the Cellina gorge itself is bikeable. The lake is swimmable and suitable for many water sports: kayaking, canoeing, sailing, surfing, hovercraft, scuba diving, and motor boating. In addition, it is possible to engage in fishing and other activities such as free-climbing, caving and paragliding.
Lake Barcis is an artificial lake and was originally intended to be exactly where the village was. The builders of the dam predicted that the reservoir would submerge the town and that it would be rebuilt higher up.
The exodus never occurred as the town was burned down during World War II and rebuilt with sacrifice by its inhabitants. The project lapsed to safeguard these very people, relieving them of the sorrow of leaving their country.
The Dint Trail is well known for its enchanting panoramic views of Lake Barcis and the fairy-tale atmosphere of proceeding through the quiet undergrowth.
The loop trail is about 3.6 km long, and there is a choice of either the short or the long loop, both of which are within everyone’s reach. The trail is slightly uphill but is easy and passable by children, although it is unsuitable for wheelchairs. The Dint Trail is immersed in beech, fir and yew forest and passes through three viewpoints. The first is the Dint’s Skywalk, a suspended walkway whose last few meters are made of clear glass and from which to admire a dizzying view of the lake from above.
From the second belvedere you can admire the entire Cellina Gorge and Nature Reserve, while the third overlooks an even larger area that also includes Mount Fara and the village of Andreis. This last vantage point consists of a very special spiral staircase that allows you to rise above the ground and overlook the landscape.
From Maniago, take the SS251. In Barcis, park on the side of the road near the ticket office for the gorge (ticket 10€/day), or in the parking lots in the village of Barcis, depending on the place to be visited. In addition, there is an accessible parking area for RVs at a cost of 14 euros for twenty-four hours.
Yes, the lake is swimmable. Besides that, it is possible to engage in many water sports, such as sailing, surfing and canoeing. Fishing can also be done in the lake, and picnics or barbecues can be arranged, as there are areas set up for grilling.
Visiting the lake is suitable for children of all ages, and there is also a playground in the village. Even young children can enjoy the natural environment and coolness, of course under adult supervision due to the proximity of the lake. As for strollers, not all of the area is suitable as there are some dirt sections and ups and downs, but, on the north side, they can still be used. The Dint trail is not passable with a stroller and it is best to equip yourself with baby backpacks.
Opening hours in 2022 are from 10 am to 6 pm (last entry 5 pm).
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