||Strenuous, Strenuous Plus
||Hotel, Mountain Hut
||4 - 8
Sep 11, 2022 - Sep 21, 2022
|Single Supp Cost
Hiking Trip Summary
From soaring rock towers to grassy alpine meadows, the Italian Dolomites offer some of the most dramatic, exciting, and challenging hiking in the Alps. Strikingly different from the French or Swiss Alps, the limestone Dolomites rise dramatically from narrow valleys to form impressive spires, canyons, sheer rock walls rising 3,000', and huge limestone plateaus.
The Dolomites were once submerged under a coral sea, which led to the gradual formation of layers of sediments: limy mud, sand, silt, and clay. These elements combined with massive forces of the earth's shifting crust resulted in the formation of the Dolomites. Since that time many, many millions of years ago, the Dolomites have been worn to their present state by glaciation, erosion, frost, wind, and rain. More recently in social history, this region saw heavy fighting during World War I, and remnants of this are still very apparent. Three languages are spoken in this area: German, Italian, and Ladin, an old dialect that came to the area from northern regions.
Beginning in the Italian Sud Tirol, our 11-day Hut-to-Hut Hiking in the Dolomites trip will take us south along the famed high route, the 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 a curious mix of Italian and Austrian influences can only mean fantastic hiking and plenty of pasta!
his linear trip is a great hike highlighted by breathtaking views, rustic and lively mountain refuges, a sense of excitement of what lies around the next bend or the next pass, and the satisfaction of traveling by foot through this beautiful and remote area.
Day 1: Arrive Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
Independent travel from Venice to 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. Cortina is a great place to begin our trek. Welcome dinner and trip orientation.
- There are 3 buses per day from Venice to Cortina. We will help organize your travel to Cortina.
Day 2: Hike to Rifugio Fodara Vedla
Departing the hotel at 8:30 am, we take a private transfer 45 minute to Pragser Wildsee (Lago di Braies). This stunning blue-green mountain lake is nestled between the surrounding mountains: the Seekofel, Croda del Becco, and the Grosse Apostel. The hike around the lake soon gives way to a steady, climb to the Forcella (pass or col) Porta sora L'Forn (7,880'). The view from here is one of the best anywhere in the Alps! In front of us spread the mountains of Tofane, Pelmo, Cristallo, and Civetta. All these will mark our way as we head south. From the pass, you cross a limestone plateau and descend to our rifugio for the night. In the event of poor weather, we will hike a different route to Fodara Vedla, a shorter and more protected way.
his is a fantastic first day of hiking, rewarding and challenging. Bunkrooms for 4 to 6 with shared facilities. We will stay in the bunkrooms as a group. Rifugio Fodara Vedla is a wonderful family-run rifugio. We have been staying at Fodara Vedla since 1999! Rifugio Fodara Velda is a very comfortable rifugio.
Dinner and breakfast included.
Day 3: Fodara Vedla to Lavarella
From last night’s stop, we descend steeply (1,380') to the valley to Pederu where we stop for a cappuccino. From Pederu we hike up Valle di Rudo to the Fanes Valley to Rifugio Lavarella our overnight stop. This shorter day of hiking allows time for a day hike to the pass of St. Antone and back. Today’s hike is stunning from the first step to the last. Sharing small private bunkrooms. Shared facilities.
Breakfast is included.
Day 4: Lavarella to Rifugio Scotoni
After a short 30-minute hike, we arrive at Lago di Limo and a spectacular 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains; a wonderful beginning to the day. 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.
If the weather is good, we will hike over the Col de Lech. This is a stunning hike, it is more demanding and longer, but well within the abilities of strong hikers. Shared bunks for 4 to 6, shared facilities.
Dinner and breakfast included.
Day 5: Rifugio Scotoni to Rifugio Cinque Torri
Today's hike is a steady 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, we have an optional hike, which takes us down through 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. Today’s hike includes two lift options for those who want a shorter day of hiking. Bunkrooms for 4 persons and shared facilities.
Dinner and breakfast included.
Day 6: Rifugio Cinque Torri to Rifugio Staulanza
From Cinque Torri, we hike on a remote, rugged trail to Passo Giau passing near two striking rocky mountains: Averau and Nuvolau. On this quiet, challenging trail we might spot some elusive chamois. In about two hours we arrive at the mountain road at Passo Giau. This morning hike includes several short, steep climbs and steep descents.
From Passo Giau, we continue to the Forcella Giau where the views of the Tofana and Monte Cavallo are inspiring. 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 inn/Rifugio at Passo Staulanza. This is a long day.
This rifugio is a comfortable mountain inn. They have small twin rooms with private bathrooms. Single rooms are not available.
- Luggage: Our extra luggage from Cortina will be at Staulanza when we arrive. You will have the opportunity to swap items as needed.
Dinner and breakfast included.
Day 7: Staulanza – Rest Day
Rifugio Staulanza is set on a quiet mountain road. From the large deck of the rifugio there is an astonishing view of Mont Pelmo. There are some options for day hikes. There is a new spa at the inn where you can book a few hours and enjoy the different spa features. It is open from 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm - there is an additional cost for use of the spa. Staulanza is a great place to spend two nights, especially if the weather has not been perfect!
- Please note: Staulanza is not in a village or near a town, though it is possible to hire a taxi for a trip to town.
Dinner and breakfast included.
Day 8: Rifugio Staulanza to Rifugio Tissi
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.
While this is the most rustic rifugio on the hike, it is also the most memorable with its stunning setting. It would be hard to find another rifugio located in such a remarkable place. The views, the friendly and lively atmosphere all add up to make this overnight stop memorable. This is a rustic, basic rifugio with limited facilities. Bunkrooms for 6 to 8 and shared facilities.
Dinner and breakfast.
Day 9: Rifugio Tissi to Rifugio Bruto Carestiato
From Tissi we descend to the val Civetta over the Col Rean, through beautiful, open, green meadows to the narrow valley of Val Corpassa. The route takes us right below the sheer rockfaces of the Torre Venezia and the Torre Trieste, both rising some 2,000’. We may see some climbers ascending these impressive towers as we make our way to Rifugio Vazzoler, which is a great stop for a strudel and cappuccino.
Shortly after we depart from Vazzoler we begin to ascend steeply through a dense forest, across bold and rocky slopes to Forcella de l'Orso and to Forcella Camp, notable because of the red clay underfoot. The last section traverses alongside Monte Moiazza's southern flank to Rifugio Bruto Carestiato. The trail from Vazzoler to Carestiato is rugged and very steep in places and has some challenging and difficult footing. The going can be slow, but the scenery is big and bold in every direction.
Though a strenuous plus day on some very rugged terrain, this may be one of the prettiest and most varied days on the hike. Small private bunkrooms for 4 – 6 persons. Shared facilities. This warm and friendly rifugio has a wonderful view from the deck.
Dinner and breakfast included.
Day 10 : Rifugio Bruto Carestiato to Forno di Zoldo
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, we are treated with views of Mont Talvena, Cima de Zita, the deep, narrow valleys of the La Clusa to the south, and the Val Prampert to the north. This rocky, rough, and quiet path leads to at Malga Pramper where we will meet our jeep for our short transfer to Forno di Zoldo and our hotel. Malga Pramper is a working farm. They make cheese and other items, which they sell to the day hikers who visit the farm. If the weather is poor, we can hike an alternate route to the north and walk into the village of Forno di Zoldo.
In Forno di Zoldo, we spend the night in a family-run hotel. All rooms with private bathrooms. Our extra luggage will be at the hotel on our arrival.
Farewell dinner at a nearby restaurant.
Day 11: Depart Forno di Zoldo
The trip will end with a group transfer from the hotel to the Venice Airport. The departure time is about 6:30 am. Travel time is about 1¾ - 2 hours; expected arrival at the airport is about 8:30 am.
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.
Note: Elevation gain and loss refers to the total number of feet ascended and descended each day. Hiking times, which are good estimates, refer to the actual number of hours hiked, not including rests stops. Actual hiking time may vary depending on weather conditions and hiking abilities. Elevation gains, losses, and distances are approximate.
If you wish to have your own room in the hotels (Cortina and Forno di Zoldo only) there is a single supplement charge of $250. 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, there will be no extra charge for having a “forced single.” Please note overnights, with the exception of Cortina and Forno di Zoldo, will be shared bunkrooms.
- All accommodations
- All breakfasts
- All dinners
- Sandwiches for picnic lunches purchased at the rifugio
- Group transfer from Forno di Zoldo to the Venice Airport on the last day.
- One luggage transfer from Cortina to Staulanza and from Staulanza to Forno di Zoldo
- All ski lift and transfers as per itinerary
- Lots of great hiking
Airfare, travel to Cortina, the starting point or transport from the ending point which is the Venice Airport, lunches at resturants, fee to spas or saunas, optional/individual transfers or excursions, items not on set dinner menu, bottled water, beverages, tips to guides or leaders, insurance, items of personal nature (phone calls, laundry, passport fees, etc.). Allow roughly $175 - $375 in additional costs.
Our extra luggage will meet us once partway through the trip. Luggage will be transferred from Cortina to Staulanza, where you will be able to swap out items. Once we depart Staulanza, our extra luggage will then be transferred to our hotel in Forno di Zoldo. This exchange or resupply allows us to keep our packs a bit 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: In Cortina, we stay at a friendly hotel, all rooms with private baths. It is located within easy walking distance to the center of town. In Forno di Zoldo we stay at family-run hotel located in the center of this pretty village. All rooms with private bathrooms.
Rifugios (mountain huts): 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. We will stay in bunkrooms for 4 – 8 persons or in private twin/double rooms. Staulanza is a small, simple inn with rooms for 3 or 4 hikers.
- Rifugios Fodara, Scotoni, Cinque Torri, and Staulanza are more like simple mountain inns and have spacious and nice bunks rooms (top and bottom beds) that sleep from 4 – 6 persons. They have very nice shared bathrooms, with hot showers. Blankets, pillows, and a bath towel are provided at each of these rifugios.
- Rifugios Tissi and Carestiato are rustic rifugios, basic and simple. They have a larger bunkroom of up to 8 persons and shared facilities including showers. There are blankets and pillows on each bunk. Towels are not provided. A sleep sheet is required though you can purchase one at Tissi for about 6 euro and use it at Carestiato as well.
All the rifugios have warm and cozy dining areas where dinners and breakfasts are served. (The food is quite good!) All rifugios have outdoor areas, where you can admire the view and relax over a cappuccino or a cold beer after your hike. Each rifugio has its own charm, unique character, and spectacular view!
The atmosphere is friendly and jovial as hikers from many countries gather to spend the night. We believe that staying in the huts offers a wonderful opportunity to meet hikers from other parts of the world, experience something new and wonderful, and take part in the simple tradition of the European style of hiking hut-to-hut.
Meals: The hotels offer a large breakfast buffet and most rifugios provide is a breakfast buffet as well, but it is smaller generally including hot drinks, juice, bread, jams, cheese, ham, yogurt, and cereal; sometimes fruit and hard-boiled eggs.
Lunches will be mostly picnic-style on the trail. You will be able to buy simple sandwiches at the rifugios each day: cheese, ham or salami and other snacks. One or two days we will be able to have lunch at a mountain restaurant. While you can get some snacks at the rifugios and other food at local stores before you begin your hike, some carry their favorite snacks from home. Fresh fruit is generally not available at the rifugios.
Dinners at the rifugios are usually served at 7:00. There is one sitting and the menu is set, though you will have some choices. The meals are ample and very good with the first course often pasta or soup, followed by the main course normally a meat dish: beef or pork. Vegetarian meals will be made up of two first courses: vegetable soup followed by pasta. Please note: Some rifugios have very limited (or none at all) fresh fruit and vegetable options, they simply cannot resupply and store fresh items easily.
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 roughly every two hours from the Venice Airport and travel to Cortina; travel time is about 2 1/2 - 3 hours. The buses arrive at the main bus station Cortina, from where it's a short walk to the hotel. We'll provide very detailed travel information about getting to Cortina.
WHO WOULD LIKE THIS TRIP?
Our Hut-to-hut Hiking in the Dolomites trip is perfect for those strong hikers looking for a challenging and varied hiking experience along one of Italy's classic long-distance routes. It's a great trip for those who are intrigued by the idea of hiking from one mountain hut to the next and the cultural experience of staying at Italian 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. For every avid mountain hiker, the Alta Via 1 is a route not to miss!
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.
The trip will end with a group transfer to Venice Airport. Departure time from the hotel in Forno di Zoldo is 6:30 am. Travel time is about 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Please allow for travel time when making plans.
If you would like to register or would like to receive more information, including a detailed itinerary (including elevation gains, loss, and distance), please contact us. We're also happy to supply a list of past participants willing to share their honest insights into this guided Hut-to-Hut Hiking in the Dolomites experience.
Reserving This Trip
A deposit of $500 along with your completed registration forms will reserve a space on your requested trip. We accept
MasterCard, Visa, and American Express card as well as personal checks. To make a deposit, you may either follow one
of the “Reserve a Trip” links below, give us a call at 1-888-845-5781, or include your payment information in the
area provided when completing your registration forms.
The balance is due 75 days prior to departure for most of our trips. When applying less than 75 days prior to
departure, full payment is due. For final payments, we accept MasterCard, Visa, and American Express, as well as
As confirmation of receipt of your deposit, we will send you a comprehensive packet of information
pertaining to your trip, an invoice for final payment and additional information including release agreement form,
medical information form, travel information, and packing list. Upon receipt of final payment and no later than 30 days prior to your trip start, you will receive trip
rendezvous information and a list of accommodations. Returning trip participants will receive a 5% discount on most
Receipt of all forms will finalize your registration.