The mountain range is a prelude to the Carnic Alps, but as geological and environmental characteristics, it is more similar to the Dolomites. Spires and towers stand out against the sky and due to weather conditions they create amazing balance games such as the Campanile of Val Montanaia, which stands solitary in the middle of a glacial basin. The creek Gote offers a charming landscape between high vertical rock walls, a few meters one from each other, engraved by river erosion.
Lily, gentian, rhododendron, heather. Some flowers, among the most visible, which can be seen in the valley. And then Campanula morettiana and buttercup rock. One species, the huteri Sandstone, is only present in these mountains. The forests consist mainly of beech trees and spruce pines. Typical feature is the presence in the valley floor of mountain pines, determined by the temperature inversion phenomenon. Intact and wild, Val Cimoliana is the ideal refuge of ungulates: roe deer and chamois can be observed from the valley floor up to the most inaccessible ridges.
The ibex, reintroduced in 1985 by the Gran Paradiso National Park, has a quite notable colony. Also the deer is common. Among other mammals there are the fox, the marmot reintroduced in Lodina and Bregolina, martens, squirrels, ermines, badgers, skunks, weasels. Among the birds a considerable importance is taken on by birds of prey and grouse: golden eagle, buzzard, grouse and black grouse, hazel grouse. The reptiles are well represented by the horned viper (Vipera ammodytes), the amphibians such as the common toad (Bufo bufo), spread especially in the Meluzzo area.
The alpine huts of Val Cimoliana have not been used for decades, except for the hut Pian Pagnon. Just nearby, the hut Pordenone, born with the first mountaineering explorations of these mountains, is now managed during the summer.
The forest felling was an important livelihood source: remains of sluices and cableway installations testify how man has tried to make work less strenuous. The harvest timber was led to the valley using the force of the stream (menada).
Typical of these mountains is the cut of the mountain pines (barna), used in the preparation of balsamic medicines. The method used was the “clear cut”, interrupted by parallel stripes of spared plants for the protection of the soil hydrogeological settling. Important remains of kilns, used in the preparation of the lime, are visible along the entire valley floor.
Val Cimoliana offers the hiker interesting itineraries. Are certainly to remember the climbs to the alpine huts Lodina and Laghet de Sora, old alpine huts rearranged and used as campfires.
Do not miss the Val Montanaia, hike among steep screes that lead to the glacial basin where stands the Campanile of Val Montanaia. Northwards, Val di Brica and Val Binon introduce us to an environment of alpine pastures rich in beautiful blooms, from which you can reach the northernmost part of the Forni di Sopra Park. From the hut Bregolina Grande, through the Stua, you can reach the hut Bregolina Piccola and Val Settimana.