A 14-Day Hiking Itinerary in the Italian Dolomites

 In Hikes, International, Italian Dolomites
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There are so many awesome options for hut-to-hut hiking in the Italian Dolomites, the choices can be a little overwhelming.

If you’re planning a trip, you could follow an established hiking route like Alta Via 1. Or you could purchase a self-guided tour from a travel company. (FUNActive Tours in Toblach has some nice options.)

But if you’re looking for something a little different, here’s a two-week Dolomites hiking itinerary that hits some amazing (and less traveled) highlights of the Sexten Dolomites. (That’s the range near the resort town of Cortina d’Ampezzo.)

Highlights of this Dolomites hiking itinerary include:

  • Tre Cime di Lavaredo rock formation (also called Drei Zinnen, in German)
  • Monte Piana Open Air WWI Museum
  • Lago di Sorapiss (Sorapiss Lake)
  • Lago di Misurina (Misurina Lake)
  • Croda di Lago rock formation
  • Monte Pelmo

I traveled this route with the Colorado Mountain Club between August 24 and Sept. 9, 2018. Our trip leader Denise, who has made 17 trips to the Dolomites, worked with FUNActive Tours to plan this awesome 2-week Dolomites hiking itinerary for us.

The itinerary takes in parts of Alta Vias 1, 3, and 4 with stays at both rifugios (mountain huts) and three-star hotels. The route is mostly on good trail and doesn’t require technical gear. However, there are a couple steep and exposed sections that could be difficult if you’re afraid of heights.

Recommended Dolomites Hiking Resources

  • FUNActive Tours – Local guide service that can help with trip planning, book lodging, and shuttle your luggage, if you want it.
  • Colorado Mountain Club Adventure Travel – Often leads hut trekking trips to the Dolomites and other awesome destinations. Open to nonmembers.
  • Tabacco Dolomites Hiking Maps #3, #10, and #25.
  • Phone apps GaiaGPS and Maps.Me worked well in this region, though some trail numbers were missing. Service can be spotty, so download the maps you need before you hit the trail.
  • A growing number of rifugios (and most Dolomites hotels and guesthouses) can now be booked through TripAdvisor.
  • Don’t leave home without travel insurance! See my adventure travel insurance page for more details on why I insure all my Dolomites hiking trips and the company I use, World Nomads.

For more trip planning tips and resources, check out my complete Dolomites hiking guide.

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Day 1 – Arrive in Venice (if flying in from abroad)

We landed in Venice in the morning and gathered at the Best Western Titian Inn located 1 km from the airport. Our leader chose this hotel as a base, because getting out of central Venice for early morning buses and train trips can be challenging (though certainly not impossible).

From the Titian Inn, it’s a 30-minute bus ride to  Piazzale di Roma, where you can catch water taxis into downtown Venice. Depending on your plans, it might make sense to pick up a Venezia Unica City Pass, which entitles you to discounts on attractions and transportation. (Many of us purchased the 1-day transportation pass from the hotel front desk for €16.)

If you’re keen to stay in downtown Venice, I highly recommend Hotel Ai Do Mori near Saint Mark’s Square. I stayed here with my mom a couple of years ago, and we really loved being on the square at night to watch the dueling orchestras.

Wondering how to spend your day in Venice? Check out this awesome blog post about what to do (and not do in Venice) by Jo at Indiana Jo.

dolomites hiking itinerary italy

Rialto Bridge, Venice

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View of Saint Mark’s Square from the bell tower of Chiesa di San Giorgio Maggiore

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Sunset over the Grand Canal

Day 2 – Travel from Venice to Niederdorf

Your itinerary for today is to travel north to the Dolomites, check into your hotel, and maybe stretch your legs with a short hike.

The drive is very scenic, with views of craggy mountains and medieval Tyrolean villages. Sometimes the road passes within inches of the surrounding houses, but the locals don’t seem to mind. The ride takes about 2.5 hours by car (longer on public transportation).

You can reach the town of Niederdorf (Villabassa in Italian) by train, bus, or private transfer (if using a tour company). If you take public transportation, expect to make a couple of transfers. For useful transportation resources and websites, check out my Dolomites planning guide.

Niederdorf is located in the semi-autonomous province of South Tyrol. Italy annexed this area from Austria-Hungary after WWI, and over 90 percent of the population speaks German.

Accommodation

In Villabassa, we stayed at Hotel Bachmann. Of all our hotels, this one probably had the most memorable food! The four course dinners are epic, especially on Sunday. If you get a chance, definitely try Schlutzkrapfen, a regional spinach and ricotta ravioli. I also liked the red Lagrein wines made with local grapes.

Activities

If you have time for a short hike in the afternoon, ride the train or bus one stop to from Niederdorf to Toblach (Dobbiaco in Italian) and take a short hike to the Toblacher Zee, a pretty mountain lake. Still feeling jet-lagged? The nearby campground office has excellent espresso.

After dinner, take a short walk up to Niederdorf’s main Catholic church and visit the graveyard. After dark, candle lanterns will be flickering on every grave.

Day 3 – Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Drei Zinnen)

If your Dolomites hiking itinerary allows, take a day trip to hike around the Dolomites’ iconic “three towers.” (Tre Cime in Italian, Drei Zinnen in German.)

Tre Cime di Lavaredo is one of the best-known rock formations in the alps and rises to 9,839 ft. above sea level. Before World War I, it marked the border between Italy and Austria-Hungary. During the War, Tre Cime was the scene of heavy fighting, and you’ll see many WWI memorials and ruins as you hike.

A seasonal shuttle bus runs from the Toblach bus stop to Rifugio Auronzo (7,677 ft.) at the Tre Cime trailhead (50 min., €15 round trip). If you have your own vehicle, you can also drive up the windy road to the parking lot (€25).

From the trailhead at Rifugio Auronzo, you can hike an easy (and very busy) circuit of the towers on trails 101 and 105 (6 mi., 1,100 ft. elevation gain). As you hike, enjoy the sounds of cow bells. Take a break at Rifugio Locatelli for espresso and lunch. If you’re lucky, you might see some climbers on the rock formations above.

We were lucky to catch this beautiful landscape right after an August snowstorm. To stretch our legs, we ascended to the Bullele Joch Hutte (Rifugio Plan di Cengia, in Italian), elevation 8,342 ft. If you stay for lunch, I recommend the tris di canederli (knodel), a plate of spinach, cheese, and beetroot dumplings. (They’re red, white, and green like the Italian flag.)

After our hike, we returned to Niederdorf and enjoyed another night (and gut-busting dinner) at Hotel Bachmann.

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Tre Cime di Lavaredo after a summer snow storm

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Hikers near Tre Cime

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Friendly cows on Trail 101

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After an August snowstorm near Tre Cime di Lavaredo

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Bullele Joch Hutte

Day 4 – Niederdorf to Rifugio Prato Piazza (4,000 ft., 9 mi.)

This was one of my favorite days of our Dolomites hiking itinerary. I’m going to describe the route as Denise hoped to go. Unfortunately, when we were visiting in 2018, one of the trails was blocked by a landslide. (Note: this is common in the Dolomites). So I’ll also describe our detour in case you need to take it.

Your Dolomites hiking itinerary for today:

  • Hike southeast out of Niederdorf following trail markers and join Alta Via 3 (Trail 15). Ascend an excellent but sometimes steep trail through the trees. Along the way, you can fill up your water bottles at the Kalkbrundl natural spring. (Look for a fenced in area left of the trail and a stump carved into a spooky mushroom gnome.)
  • As you begin to emerge from the trees, be sure to stop at Malga (farm) Putzalm for a bathroom break and some excellent coffee.
  • At the Malga, turn left to join trail 16 and climb the switchbacks behind the farm. You’ll soon come to a fork in the trail. Head right (southeast) toward Sarlkofl and Lungkofl.
  • Join trail 33 and take a right. Trail 33 forks at one point; take the right fork to avoid climbing Sarlkofl. Ascend some steep, rough mountain trail to the breathtaking saddle between the mountains of Sarlkofl (7,847 ft.) and Lungkofl (7,531 ft.). From the pass, enjoy views of the Sexten Dolomites and the Austrian Alps.
  • Descend the pass on Alta Via 3 (Trail 33) and follow the trail through rolling farmland.
  • Continue following Alta Via 3. At the third trail junction after the pass, leave trail 33 and join trail 40A. The trail climbs and traverses along the side of Durrenstein mountain. (Note: this is the section that was closed when we visited).
  • Trail 40A eventually joins trail 40. Hang a right, and it’s a short walk to Rifugio Prato Piazza.

Alternate hiking route (if trail 40A is impassable):

  • After descending the pass between Sarlkofl and Lungkofl, take the first right on trail 14 and descend to a ski resort. Across the street from the ski resort, look for a bus stop (Bad Altprags). Catch the local bus south to the end of the road and take a short walk to Rifugio Prato Piazza. (You may need to change buses at the Hotel Bruckele.)

Lodging

Rifugio Prato Piazza (Platzwiese) offers dorm accommodation with shared bathrooms and showers. Refresh with a Radner beer while enjoying beautiful views of Croda Rossa (Red Mountain in Ladin). This rifugio doesn’t have Wi-Fi.

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Spooky mushroom guy guarding the spring

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Amazing views from the pass

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Look at that sunburn

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Austrian alps in the background

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Descending the pass

Day 5 – Rifugio Prato Piazza to Carbonin (820 ft., 4 mi.)

For today’s hiking itinerary, you’ll mostly be hiking downhill to Lago di Landro and the hamlet of Carbonin. There are a few different options you can take to spice up the route.

  • Climb trail 40 up the hill behind Rifugio Prato Piazza. Enjoy the alpenglow on Croda Rosa and watch out for cow pies! At the second junction, take a right on trail 40A.
  •  At the next junction, turn left on trail 34, following the signs for Strudelkopfe. (Literal translation: Strudel Head.) This will lead you to a memorial and the ruins of a WWI bunker.
  • From here, I highly recommend continuing up trail 34 for about 10 minutes to the summit Strudelkopfe (7,613 ft.). On the top, enjoy great views of Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Croda Rossa, and surrounding mountains. Use the plaque near the summit to identify the peaks all around you. From the top, we also spotted a herd of Chamois (goat antelope) in the valley below. Once you’ve run down your camera battery, return to the trail junction at the bunker.
  • From the bunker, you have two descent options. For a taste of adventure, descend trail 34 to the Hotel Drei Zinnenblick. This option requires some steep descents and cliff walking on narrow trails and rickety bridges. The difficult sections are protected by cables. No technical gear is required, but if you are afraid of heights, this one will get your attention! This area is rich in WWI ruins, so keep your eyes peeled for hidden bunkers and galleries. When you reach the road, follow the bike path south past Lago di Landro to the town of Carbonin. The Restaurant Durrensee across from the lake makes a great lunch stop. (I loved their spinach spaetzle.)
  • For a more leisurely descent, descend trail 37 south to Carbonin. Rifugio Vallandro makes a great lunch stop.

Lodging

In Carbonin, we stayed at the Hotel Croda Rossa. Rooms were spotless and modern, and many had balconies.

Dining at this hotel was a real experience. We ate to the beat of the boom box, which was blasting 80s music and Italian pop. But the food was amazing! They had really addictive potatoes that had some kind of truffle oil on them that made them taste like the best taters we’d ever eaten.

We called them the “magic” potatoes, and we never had anything like them again in Italy. So if nothing else, go for the magic potatoes.

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Trail sign near Rifugio Prato Piazza with Croda Rosa in the background

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WWI bunker

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View from Strudelkopfe summit

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Eating exposure for breakfast

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Denise on a rickety bridge

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Down the spooky stairs

Day 6 – Carbonin to Rifugio Bosi (3,000 ft., 4 mi.)

On this morning, we had lightning danger in the weather forecast, so we had to take a detour up a service road to reach the Rifugio Bosi. But I’ll describe the route Denise originally planned for us. We were all disappointed, because she said it would have light scrambling, ladders, easy cable sections, and great mountain views. Again, use caution if you’re afraid of heights.

Our planned hiking itinerary:

  • From Carbonin, take trail 6A west. Turn left (north) on 6B and hike past Lago di Landro.
  • When you reach trail 6 proper, turn right. This trail climbs Monte Piano and traverses to Monte Piana. The route crosses the Monte Piana World War I Open Air Museum; see below for more info.
  • There are several options you can take to reach your destination at Rifugio Bosi, and some are more adventurous than others. Check the map for details. On Italian hiking maps, dashes mark trails, and dots or crosses mark more exposed and difficult terrain.

Note: this route requires extended time above tree line and travel on rock with exposed sections. It’s best done in dry conditions with no lightning danger. Check the weather forecast before you leave and get an early start.

If conditions aren’t favorable, catch a bus from Carbonin south to Misurina and walk up the service road (or take a Jeep) to Rifugio Bosi. (This is what we ended up doing.)

Lodging

Rifugio Bosi was one of my favorite huts. Accommodation was in triple rooms with shared token showers. From our room, we had great views of Tre Cime di Laveredo and the surrounding mountains. There was Wi-Fi, but it wasn’t really fast enough to be useful when we stayed.

Activities

Rifugio Bosi is located just below the Monte Piana World War I Open Air Museum, which was definitely a highlight of the entire trip. Monte Piana and Monte Piano were sites of heavy fighting between Italy and Austria-Hungary from 1915 to 1917. This mostly consisted of trench warfare in which 14,000 soldiers lost their lives.

So definitely set aside some time to linger in this place. Bring your headlamp to explore the extensive tunnels, caves, and underground bunkers. You can also scramble up some (easy) via ferratas to reach gun emplacements and observation points.

From Rifugio Bosi, follow the trail from Monte Piana (the Italian side) to Monte Piano (the Austrian side), which was much better fortified. You can even see where an underground railroad ran into the side of the mountain.

Beside Rifugio Bosi is a cannon and a moving chapel dedicated to the fallen from both sides. The rifugio also has a small war museum and sells WWI souvenirs.

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Rifugio Bosi

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At a WWI observation point, Monte Piana

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WWI observation point and machine gun emplacement, Monte Piana

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Trenches with Tre Cime di Lavaredo in the background, Monte Piana

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Exploring the tunnels, Monte Piana

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View from the memorial chapel

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Cannon near Rifugio Bosi

Day 7 – Rifugio Bosi to Lake Misurina and Rifugio Col de Varda (1,000 ft., 2.5 mi.)

Denise scheduled this as an easy day to rest our legs and enjoy Italy’s iconic Misurina Lake. Here’s your Dolomites hiking itinerary:

  • Hike down the service road (or take a Jeep) to Lago di Misurina. Spend some time strolling around this scenic lake and enjoying the views. This is also a good place to pick up some souvenirs and snacks.
  • From the southeast end of the lake, ascend trail 120 (Alta Via 4) to Rifugio Col de Varda. (You can also ride the chairlift if you really want to save your legs.)
  • For a little extra exercise, we continued on trail 120 over to Rifugio Citta di Carpi for lunch (more delicious canederli!). This was a very cozy hut to spend a rainy day in. When we left, the friendly staff gave us a parting shot of grappa.

Lodging

Rifugio Col de Varda (6,949 ft.) offers accommodation in quad rooms and shared bathrooms (including a tub). The hot water comes up from town, so you need to alert the front desk before you jump in. This hut has great Wi-Fi and sweeping views.

Activities

Col de Varda is a starting point for the Bonacossa Way, an easy and scenic (but long) via ferrata route. Follow trail 117 from the rifugio to see the start of the cables. (Technical gear is recommended if you want to proceed further).

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Rifugio Citta di Capri

Day 8 – Rifugio Col di Varda to Val d’Ansiei (Downhill)

Today on our Dolomites hiking itinerary, we descend to Val d’Ansiei on our way to the spectacular Sorapiss region.

Our group had originally planned to stay at the Hotel Cristallo. However, this long-time favorite closed in 2018. It’s a shame, because it was right on our route. You may want to check its TripAdvisor page to see if it’s reopened under new ownership.

So instead, we stayed at Albergo Murghetto, which is located about 6 kilometers east of the old Hotel Cristallo in the small town of Palus San Marco. This required a slight detour in our hiking route.

Here are the hiking directions for both hotels:

  • From Rifugio Col de Varda, return to the main trail, and then head southeast on trail 120. When the trail forks, take the right (south) fork, continuing on trail 120.
  • You will eventually come to a T-junction. To reach Hotel Cristallo (in the event it reopens), head right on trail 1120. To reach Palus San Marco and Hotel Murghetto, head left on trail 120.
  • If you’re headed for Hotel Murghetto, be sure to stop at Malga Maraia for lunch! They serve up farm fresh food in a dining room with amazing views. The cheese and meat sampler was amazing.
  • Trail 120 eventually ends at a road. To reach Hotel Murghetto, turn left and hike for about half a mile. Look for the hotel on the left side of the street.

Lodging

Albergo Murghetto is a cute Tyrolean-style hotel and restaurant with cozy rooms and balconies. This was another place that had memorable food. I especially enjoyed the venison pasta with juniper berries.

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Meat and cheese plate at Malga Maraia

Day 9 – Hotel Mughetto to Rifugio Vandelli (1,750 ft., 4 mi.)

This was another one of my favorite hiking days. The route climbs along soaring cliffs and passes some beautiful mountain waterfalls. The trail ends at the deep turquoise Lago di Sorapiss (Lake Sorapiss), one of the natural gems of the Dolomites.

To return to our route from Albergo Murghetto, we caught a public bus west and got off at the Hotel Cristallo. Your Dolomites hiking itinerary from there:

  • Follow the road across from the Cristallo over a bridge and take a left to head south on trail 217 (Alta Via 4).
  • Follow trail 217 all the way to Rifugio Vandelli and Lago di Sorapiss. The trail is steep and rocky in places, but with no real exposure.

Lodging

Rifugio Vandelli is cute and rustic with dorm accommodations. The shower exists, but wasn’t working when we visited. This hut is run by the Italian Alpine Club and has a strict sleep sack policy.

Due to its remote location, this was the only hut where we weren’t able to arrange a luggage transfer. (We reunited with our luggage the next day at Rifugio Faloria.)

Rifigio Vandelli has a dicey history:

  • Built in 1821
  • Destroyed by an avalanche in 1895
  • Rebuilt in 1896 and then “buried by snow”
  • Rebuilt after World War I and then burned down in 1959.

The current hut was built in 1966. May you not be there for the next cycle of destruction!

This was the only hut that offered “grilled cheese” as a menu item. And I’m not talking about a sandwich. I’m talking about a literal slice of delicious Italian cheese toasted on both sides. Forget you have arteries and give it a try. It’s divine.

Activities

Once you reach your destination and check into Rifugio Vadelli, be sure to take a hike around beautiful Lake Sorapiss (6,316 ft.). Sorapiss means “above the waterfall” in the local dialect. The striking spire across from the lake is known as the Dito di Dio (Finger of God)

Note: the cliffs on the east end of Lake Sorapiss are quite exposed. Rather than trying to cross the treacherous ledges in this area, go high or retrace your steps around the lake.

To take in some views of this gorgeous area, we hiked up trail 216 until it turned into a via ferrata. This route requires some light scrambling.

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Rifugio Vandelli

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Lago di Sorapiss

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Morning views from Rifugio Vandelli

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Grilled cheese, Italian style

Day 10 – Rifugio Vandelli to Rifugio Faloria (1,300 ft., 8 mi.)

Rifugio Vandelli and Rifugio Faloria lie in the same mountain group, and it’s possible to hike across the mountains from one hut to the other. However, all the direct routes involve scrambling, exposure, and via ferratas. So our group opted to descend back to Passo Tre Croci in Val d’Ansiei, then ascend to Rifugio Faloria on easier hiking paths.

Here’s how we made it happen:

  • From Rifugio Vandelli, take trail 215 (Alta Vias 3 and 4) north all the way to the road at Passo Tre Croci. There are a few short cable-protected sections with exposure to one side, but the trail is good along the entire route. Enjoy the magnificent views of Cristallo, the mountain to the north.
  • At Passo Tre Croci, follow the road west along trail 209. If you feel hungry (or are just jonesing for morning coffee), take a break at the excellent Ristorante Rio Gere across the street from the Faloria ski lift. The chocolate gelato here blew my mind.
  • From the Faloria ski lift (Funivia Faloria), follow trail 212 under the lift and into the woods. The trail winds up the east side of Val del Boite. Stop at one of many overlooks for amazing views of the resort town of Cortina d’Ampezzo, which hosted the 1956 Winter Olympics. The trail can be tricky to follow in places. If you don’t see trail markers, look for wooden posts that may or may not be painted red on top.

Accommodation

Rifugio Faloria is a massive ski resort by winter. But in early September, we had it pretty much to ourselves. This is a rifugio in name only; the rooms have beds with sheets, towels, and en suite bathrooms. (Some bathrooms are shared with the room next door.) If the weather is good, take some time to enjoy the enormous sun deck.

Rifugio Faloria was our first hotel serving casunziei all’Ampezzana, a delicious beetroot ravioli with poppy seeds. It’s found only in the Cortina area, so don’t miss out! We also loved the buffet-style dinner, which included chicken wings (a nice change of pace from pasta).

Activities

Before dinner, a few of us hiked up to the top of the ski area and along the summit ridge for some amazing views of the Val del Boite and WWI war artifacts (trails 213 and 223).

Along the way, we met a group that had innocently taken one of the mountaineering routes from Lago di Sorapiss (trail 215). They were totally shaken up by the experience. Just another reminder that those dots on the map can be sketchy for the uninitiated!

On our walk, we stopped for pear and apricot grappa at the tiny Rifugio Capanna Tondi Cortina. In good weather, this is also a great place to hang out on the patio and eat some casunziei.

If you’re a Sylvester Stallone fan, definitely check out the Cliffhanger Museum near Rifugio Faloria. (The movie was filmed in this area.)

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An exposed section of trail

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Stairs on trail

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Cristallo

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Rifugio Faloria

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Infused grappa aging at Rifugio Tondi

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Pear grappa at Rifugio Tondi

Day 11 – Rifugio Faloria to Rifugio Croda da Lago (3,000 ft., 9.5 mi.)

This is an epic day of hiking that begins with a monster descent and ends with a big climb (though most of it is on road and good trail). At the end, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views as you sip your grappa on the front porch of Rifugio Croda da Lago.

Here’s today’s Dolomites hiking itinerary:

  • From Rifugio Faloria, start hiking uphill and then turn right on trail 214. Make a big descent to the town of Zuel, which lies just south of Cortina in the Val del Boite.
  • Cross the main road and make your way west through town, passing a campground on your right. You will reach a road leading to a second campground in the distance. When you find this point, you’re getting close! Continue straight up the main road looking for trail 432 on your left. You may see signs for hiking and biking tours at the start of the trail.
  • Follow the long, winding trail 432 uphill to Rifugio Croda da Lago. The trail is a paved road all the way to Malga Federa, then gets bit rougher as you approach your destination. Don’t mistake the malga for the rifugio! You still have about 30 min. to hike when you get to the malga.

Accommodations

Rifugio Croda da Lago faces the craggy Croda da Lago rock formation across the valley. There are several climbing routes on the towers; see the displays in the hut for more info.

Accommodation options in the hut include dorms, dorms, and dorms with shared token showers. The showers open directly into the hallway with no changing area, so plan accordingly! Use a sarong or full-size camp towel to protect your modesty.

This is an Italian Alpine Club hut, so be sure to bring your sleep sack.

Croda da Lago was by far the most crowded rifugio we stayed in while trekking in early September. I definitely recommend booking ahead of time (or coming prepared to sleep on the dining room floor).

Activities

If you want to stretch your legs further, take a stroll around the lake behind Rifugio Croda da Lago. When the water is still, the reflection of the surrounding cliffs creates the illusion of a bottomless canyon.

You can also preview tomorrow’s hiking itinerary by ascending trail 434 to the Forcella Ambrizzola (pass) beside the Croda da Lago rock formation. Be sure to look behind you to catch stunning views of Cortina and the surrounding valley.

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Rifugio Faloria from above

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Descending from Rifugio Faloria, Monte Pelmo visible in the distance

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Resort town of Cortina d’Ampezzo

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Rifugio Croda da Lago

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Croda da Lago rock formation

Day 12 – Rifugio Croda da Lago to Rifugio Staulanza (825 ft., 7.5 mi.)

Today’s hike gives you an up close look at Monte Pelmo, also known as the “throne of the gods.” Many locals say it’s the most beautiful mountain in Italy, so keep your camera at the ready.

Today’s Dolomites hiking itinerary:

  • From Rifugio Croda da Lago, ascend trail 434 (Alta Via 1) to Forcella Ambrizzola (2277 m).
  • Continue straight on trail 436 (Alta Via 1), which soon bears to the left and descends over some talus slopes.
  • At the next fork, head right on trail 458 (Alta Via 1) passing an old farm nearby (Malga Prendera) on your left. By now you’re face to face with Monte Pelmo. Is god on his throne or out to lunch?
  • When you reach the next trail junction, it’s decision time. If you’re tired or short on time, continue straight on Alta Via 1 (trail 467) to Rifugio Citta di Fiume. Cross a small pass and take the next right fork on trail 467. If all these junctions confuse you, remember you’re basically following Alta Via 1.
  • Alternately, take a scenic side trip by bearing left on trail 458 and looping back to Rifugio Citta di Fiume on trails 469, 468, and 480 (right fork).
  •  From the rifugio, follow trail 472 across the base of Monte Pelmo to a road. Look for Rifugio Staulanza across the street.

Accommodation

Sadly, we didn’t get to stay at Rifugio Staulanza (5,884 ft.) because it was full (book early!). However, we did have a delicious lunch here. The rifugio offers accommodation in both dorms and private rooms.

Rifugio Staulanza’s owner Marco is an accomplished mountaineer who has summited peaks all over the world. Check out the posters in the lobby for more on his adventures.

If you need an alternate hotel, we stayed at Hotel Giglio Rosso in the nearby town of Selva di Cadore. This place was spotless and comfy with inventive drinks. It also has a game loft where much wine was drunk and much farkle was played.

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Climbing Forcella Ambrizzola, resort town of Cortina d’Ampezzo in the background

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Monte Pelmo, throne of the gods

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The hills are alive

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Rifugio Staulanza

Day 13 – Rifugio Staulanza to Forno di Zoldo (1,500 ft., 10 mi.)

There are several ways to tackle this day of hiking. But no matter what you do, expect some ups … and lots and lots of downs. We actually descended at least 5,000 ft. before arriving at our destination, the Hotel Garni Posta in the town of Forno di Zoldo.

Full disclosure: this is the only day of your hiking itinerary that I don’t have step-by-step trail directions for. That might be all for the better, as our route had a couple of really steep sections that could be spooky for hikers afraid of heights. (There were dotted lines on the hiking map.)

Here’s the gist of what you want to do today:

  • From Rifugio Staulanza, cross the street and head east on trail 472. Note that 472 goes around Monte Pelmo, so today you will be heading along the mountain’s south side.
  • You’ll pass a side trail to the left that leads uphill to some (very tiny) dinosaur footprints on a rock.
  • At some point, you will need to leave trail 472 and head south. There are several routes that can make the connection to Forno di Zoldo. You have the option to visit some charming small towns and WWI ruins along the way.
  • We exited the woods at the small town of Casal above Forno di Zoldo. From here, make your way down the road through a couple of towns toward Forno di Zoldo proper, which lies at the bottom of the valley. You will have beautiful vistas of the town on the way down.

Accommodations and Food

Hotel Garni Posta on the town’s main street is family-run and has modern, spacious rooms with balconies. (The ones on the street side can be a bit noisy). The managers were super friendly and knowledgeable about the area. Bonus perk: the gelato shop across the street served apple strudel gelato.

For dinner, we splurged on a meal at the Locanda Tana de l’Ors. The set menu they prepared for us was amazing! For first course, I had risotto with pumpkin and smoked ricotta, and for the main course, shoulder of pork with mustard and coffee. I definitely recommend this place.

dolomites hiking itinerary italy

Forno di Zoldo

Day 14 – On to the next adventure!

And that brings us to the end of your 14-day Dolomites hiking itinerary. Need to get out of Forno di Zoldo? A bus or shuttle is probably your best bet, though there are also a few train connections. The Dolomiti Extreme Trail race posted a helpful handout on Forno di Zoldo transportation options.

And there you have it. A 2-week Dolomites hiking itinerary you can adapt for yourself.

If you give it a try, be sure to comment below and share your thoughts, and, erm, any corrections you may have found.

And be sure to jump into the Facebook group to get your training questions answered and share your awesome hut trekking and food photos.

miss adventure pants, 2-week dolomites hiking itinerary, italy

Originally published Oct. 19, 2018.

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