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Dolomites Hut Hike

Hiking the Alta Via 1

Alta Via 1

Trip Details

  • Location: Northern Italy
  • Length: 9 days
  • Grade: Strenuous and strenuous plus
  • Accommodations: Mountain huts (rifugios) and hotels
  • Group size: 5 – 12
  • 2019 Dates: July 3 – 11, September 3 – 11, 2019
  • Land Cost: $3,395
  • Single Supplement Cost: $275

Hiking Trip Summary

Click for more detail We think this is one of the most dramatic, exciting, and wonderful hiking areas in the Alps. Strikingly different from the French and Swiss Alps, the limestone Dolomites of northern Italy rise dramatically from alpine valleys to form startling spire-like peaks and towering canyonesque rock faces.

Beginning in the Italian Sud Tirol, we will hike south along the high route, Alta Via 1, through the Pragser, Tofana, and Civetta mountain groups. The impressiveness of the scenery and the variety of terrain along this route are matched only by the warmth and hospitality of the rifugio and hotels. The unusual contrasts in landscapes and curious mix of Italian and Austrian influences can only mean fantastic hiking and plenty of pasta!

Since 1988, Distant Journeys has been guiding hiking adventures in the Alps. We pride ourselves on attention to detail, personalized service and safety. This is a great hike and we encourage you to speak with our past participants. They will give you honest insight into our Dolomites Hut Hike.


Overview: This is an incredible journey on foot weaving through several distinctive and unique mountain groups in the Dolomites. Some of these mountain areas have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The rifugios are very comfortable with spacious, comfortable bunkrooms, good facilities, great food, and always a warm welcome. This is perfect hike for those who want to experience this area in an unforgettable and personal way, on foot and hiking “hut-to-hut”.

Day 1: The trip begins at the hotel in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. Cortina d’Ampezzo is a classic Dolomites village nestled among the spectacular mountains of the Tofane, Cristallo, Sorapis and Antelao. This beautiful village has a wonderful main street lined with several shops and outdoor cafes. There is bus and train access from Venice. Cortina is a great place to begin our trek. Welcome dinner and trip orientation.

Day 2: Morning transfer to Ra Stua. This pleasant hike offers our first views of the Tofane, the Croda Rossa and the Croda del Becco. Passing the high alpine meadows of Ra Stua, our trail switchbacks up through the larch forest before arriving at our rifugio for the night, Rifugio Fodara Vedla. After we arrive at the rifugio we will have time for a wonderful day hike. Private triple or twin rooms and shared facilities. Dinner and breakfast included.

Day 3: Getting an early start, we first descend steeply (1,380′) to the valley and then hike up to Rifugio Fanes and Lago di Limo about 2 hours. A spectacular 360-degree view awaits at a picnic spot at the Passo di Limo. The trail then opens into a lush broad valley between the rocky summits of Monte Castello, which was heavily fortified during WWI, and Piz des Cunturines (10,111′). The scenery and colors are stunning. This descent (1,500′) leads down to the valley floor followed by a 40-minute climb to Rifugio Scotoni. This small rifugio is set in a beautiful valley surrounded by the towering mountains of the Cime di Fanes. This small, comfortable rifugio has bunkrooms with 5 to 7 bunks in each room. Shared facilities. Breakfast and dinner included.

Day 4: From Scotoni we hike up through the Alpe di Lagazuoi to the Rifugio Lagazuoi (gaining 2,530′) through this vast limestone plateau. Surrounding us are the Punta di Fanes, the cliffs of the Lagazuoi and the massive Tofana di Rozes (10,650′). The scenery just doesn’t quit. It is big and impressive in all directions. Near the pass there are several World War I underground passages called galleries, which serve as memorials to the terrible fighting that took place here in 1916.

After we stop for lunch at Lagazuoi, which has a very good restaurant, we have an optional hike, which takes us down though one of these galleries. Our other option is to take advantage of the cable car which can bring us to the valley. We rejoin the hiking route and begin our final ascent (950′) to the very friendly Rifugio Cinque Torri that has been run by the same family since 1936. Once again the setting for this rifugio is remarkable as it looks at the long wall of the Croda di Lago. Comfortable rooms with 4 beds per room. Shared facilities. Dinner and breakfast included.

Day 5: Today the trail takes us near two striking rock mountains: Averau and Nuvolao as we descend to Passo Giau. The trail then leads over the forcella Giau where the views of the Tofana and Monte Cavallo are inspiring, not to mention the mountains on display to the south: Monte Fromin, Cernera, Pelmo and the upswept flank of Monte Mondeval. The trail leads over lush alpine meadows, perhaps spotting some wild edelweiss. The last part of the day leads below Pelmo’s north face, (which is 3,300′ straight up to the top at 10,454′,) to our comfortable mountain rifugio at Passo Staulanza. This is a long day. Small private rooms with private bathrooms. Dinner and breakfast included.

Day 6: From Passo Staulanza, we join a popular trail and climb to the shoulder of Monte Coldai, which lies at the edge of the famous Monte Civetta (10,620′). After stopping for a picnic lunch at Lago Coldai, we continue to the col Negro di Coldai, which looks over at the towering west face of Monte Civetta. This “wall of walls” extends for over 4 miles! About mid-way past this wall, we climb to our rifugio (7,500′), Rifugio Tissi, perched on the mountain flank looking out at the Val Civetta, down the Alleghe Valley and west to the Marmolada Glacier. This overnight stop is memorable. This is a rustic rifugio, bunkrooms and shared facilities. Dinner and breakfast.

Day 7: From Tissi we descend to the val Civetta over the Col Rean, through beautiful, open, green meadows to the narrow valley of Val Corpassa. Our route takes us right below the sheer rock faces of the Torre Venezia and the Torre Trieste, both rising some 2,000′ feet. Perhaps we will see some climbers ascending these impressive towers. We pass by the Rifugio Vazzoler (5,656′) and then ascend steeply through a dense forest to forcella de l’Orso and alongside Monte Mioazza’s southern flank to Rifugio Bruto Carestiato, our rifugio for the night. Today’s hike includes some rugged terrain. We think it is one of the more varied and certainly one of the more remote hikes of the trip. Small bunk rooms and shared bathrooms. Dinner and breakfast.

Day 8: Continuing on the Alta Via 1, we first arrive at Passo Duran and cross the mountain road. The route from this point on is remote and rugged. The trail leads south of the rocky Tamer Grande and Castello di Moschesin. Rounding the corner at the pass at Moschesin you are treated with views of Mont Talvena, Cima de Zita, the deep, narrow valleys of the La Clusa to the south and Monte Pelmo (again) and the Val Prampert to the north. This rocky, rough and quiet path leads to the farm at Malga Pramper where we will be met by our van late in the afternoon for transfer to nearby Forno di Zoldo. This is a great way to end our hike. We spend the night in a family run hotel in the pretty village of Forno di Zoldo. Farewell dinner a nearby restaurant. Our extra luggage from Cortina will be at the hotel when we arrive.

Day 9: The trip will end with a group transfer from the hotel to the Venice Airport. The departure time is about 7:00 am. Travel time is about 1 ½ – 2 hours; expected arrival at the airport is about 8:30 – 9:00 am. Note: We have purposely set the departure time early to accommodate morning flight departures from Venice. If you would like to depart later we can arrange for a later taxi at an additional cost.

Additional Information

More Information

If you would like register, would like to receive more information including a detailed itinerary (including elevation gains, loss and distance) and/or request a list of past participants please contact us and specify which trip.

Single Travelers

Singles: If you wish to have your own room in the hotels (Cortina, Staulanza and Forni di Zoldo only) there is a single supplement charge of $275. If you are traveling alone and would like to share a room, we will match you with a roommate. If a roommate is not available we will not charge extra for this “forced single.”


All accommodations, all breakfasts (some are continental-style) and all dinners, ski lift and transfers as per itinerary, group transfer to the airport on the last morning, guides and lots of great hiking.

Not Included

Airfare, lunches, travel to the hotel in Cortina, the starting point, optional/individual transfers or excursions, items not on set dinner menu, beverages, tips to guides, insurance, items of personal nature.


There is one luggage transfer: our extra luggage will be transferred from Cortina to Staulanza, where you will be able to swap out items. Once we depart Staulanza, our extra luggage be transferred to our hotel in Forno di Zoldo. This exchange or resupply allows packs to be lighter. Other than this one transfer, hikers will need to carry their personal items with them. (See our sample packing list.) With advances in synthetic clothing and other travel gear, it’s possible to keep your pack weight to about 15 lbs. including lunch and water.

Accommodations and Facilities

Hotels: We stay at a wonderful family run hotels in Cortina, Staulanza (a small inn) and Forno di Zoldo. All rooms with private baths.

Rifugios: A rifugio is a mountain “lodge” that offers simple overnight accommodations for hikers. The rifugios can vary greatly depending on where they are located; however they all are situated in amazing places.

• Rifugios Fordara, Scotoni, Cinque Torri are more like simple mountain inns and have reasonably spacious and quite nice bunks rooms (top and bottom beds). They have very nice bath rooms, complete with hot showers. Blanket pillows and a small bath towel is provided at each of these rifugios.

• Rifugios Tissi and Carestiato are rustic, basic and simple. They have larger bunk rooms (up to 8). There are blankets and pillows on each bunk. Towels are not provided. There are basic bathrooms with showers. Tissi is the most basic rifugio; the setting is nothing short of amazing!

Breakfasts and dinners are served at the hotels or rifugios and lunches are picnic style along the trail.


Cortina is easy to access from several airports, but we recommend flying to Venice (Marco Polo) as a first choice. Once in Venice you can take a bus to Cortina. The buses depart Venice about 4 times per day. Travel time to Cortina is about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The buses arrive the main bus station Cortina from where it is a short walk to the hotel. We have very detailed travel information about getting to Cortina.

Who would like this trip?

Our Dolomites Hut Hike is perfect for those strong hikers looking for a challenging and varied hike and like staying at the wonderful rifugios. This hiking area is strikingly different from the French or Swiss Alps. The red, yellow, and orange rock faces of the Dolomites towering limestone peaks are nothing short of dazzling. This route should be on every hiker’s “must do” list.

Meeting point

We will meet on Day 1 at 6:30 pm at the hotel in Cortina. Please contact us for detailed travel information regarding travel to Cortina.

Ending Point

The trip will end with a group transfer to the Venice Airport. Departure time from the hotel in Forno di Zoldo is 7:00 am. Travel time is about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Please allow for travel time when making plans.

More Information

If you would like register, would like to receive more information including a detailed itinerary (including elevation gains, loss and distance) and/or request a list of past participants please contact us and specify which trip.

Distant Journeys rocks! You have all the details covered. Very creative and well planned itinerary. Very professional.

Julia Alaimo, Rochester NY

Any hiking trip in the mountains requires a certain amount of effort and proper fitness training will enhance your enjoyment. In the mountains, time and elevation gain or loss as opposed to distance, tend to be the determining factors when defining hiking grades or level of difficulty. We have done our best to grade our trips consistently, please contact us for further clarification. We are happy to offer names of past participants.