||Strenuous, Strenuous Plus
||1 - 12+
Jun 15, 2022 - Sep 15, 2022
|Single Supp Cost
Hiking Trip Summary
From soaring rock towers to grassy alpine meadows the Italian Dolomites offers some of the most dramatic, exciting and challenging hiking areas in the Alps. Strikingly different from the French or Swiss Alps, the limestone Dolomites rise dramatically from narrow valleys to form impressive spires, canyons, 3,000′ sheer rock walls, 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, clay. These elements combined with massive forces of the earth’s shifting crust and 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, which came to the area from northern regions.
Beginning in the Italian Sud Tirol, the hike leads 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 on this route is matched only by the warmth and hospitality offered by the mountain huts. The unusual contrasts in landscapes, changing colors and textures of the mountains and a curious mix of Italian and Austrian influences mean fantastic hiking, stunning scenery and plenty of pasta.
This 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.
- This itinerary represents one of many possibilities. There are variations depending on your time frame and level of hiking ability. Please contact us if you would like a more detailed itinerary, including elevation gain, loss, distance, and additional information.
Day 1: Independent transfer to the starting point of Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. Cortina is about 2 - 3 hours by bus from Venice. This chic village is situated in the heart of the Dolomites. It has a lovely mountain setting and it is fun to explore.
Day 2: Morning transfer to Ra Stua (transfer is included). This pleasant hike offers the first views of the Tofane, the Croda Rossa and the Croda del Becco. Passing the high alpine meadows of Ra Stua, the trail switchbacks up through the larch forest before arriving at the Rifugio Fodara Vedla for the night.
A more strenuous option is a morning transfer 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. Your 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 you are spread the Tofane, Pelmo, Cristallo, and Civetta mountains. views of these will mark your way as you head south. From the pass, you cross a limestone plateau and descend to your rifugio.
Day 3: From last night’s stop you first descend (1,380′) to the valley and then hike up to Rifugio Fanes and Lago di Limo. A spectacular 360-degree view awaits you 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 is a long day.
- Some hikers break the long day from Fodara to Scotoni into two days, hiking from Fodara to Rifugio Lavarella or Fanes one day and then to Scotoni the next.
Day 4: The first part of today’s hike is a steady trek up through the Alpe di Lagazuoi to the Rifugio Lagazuoi (gaining 2,530′). Surrounding you are the Punta di Fanes, the cliffs of the Lagazuoi and the massive Tofana di Rozes. Near the pass, there are several WWI underground passages called galleries, which serve as memorials to the terrible fighting that took place here in 1916. After a stop for lunch at Rifugio Lagazuoi, a mountain restaurant, you have an optional hike, which takes you down through one of these galleries; otherwise, you can take advantage of the cable car that speeds you to the valley.
Once in the valley, you cross an alpine road, rejoin the hiking route and begin your final ascent (950′) to the very friendly and comfortable Rifugio Cinque Torri, which 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 da Lago and sits right near the Cinque Torri (Five Towers). In the distance rise Sorapis and Anteleo. Simply put, the view is awesome.
- Some hikers enjoy adding a rest day in Cortina d’Ampezzo.
Day 5: Today the trail takes you near two striking rock mountains, Averau and Nuvolao, as you descend to Passo Giau. The trail then leads over the Forcella Giau, where the views of the Tofana and Monte Cavallo are inspiring; the mountains on display to the south include Monte Fromin, Cernera, Pelmo and the upswept flank of Monte Mondeval. The trail leads over lush alpine meadows, and perhaps you'll spot 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 your comfortable mountain rifugio at Passo Staulanza.
Day 6: From Staulanza, you hike by several farms, join a popular trail and climb to the shoulder of Monte Coldai. Monte Coldai anchors one end of the famous Monte Civetta (10,620′). After stopping for lunch at Lago Coldai, you continue to the Col Negro di Coldai that looks over at the towering west face of Monte Civetta. This “wall of walls” extends for over 4 miles! About midway, past this wall, you climb steeply to Rifugio Tissi perched on a mountaintop looking out at the Val Civetta, down the Alleghe Valley and west to the Marmolada Glacier. This overnight stop is memorable.
Day 7: From the rifugio, you descend to the Val Civetta over the Col Rean, through beautiful, open, green meadows and to the narrow valley of Val Corpassa. The route takes you right below the sheer rock faces of the Torre Venezia and the Torre Trieste, both rising some 2,000′ feet. You may see some climbers ascending these impressive towers. You pass by the Rifugio Vazzoler (5,656′), then ascend steeply through a dense forest to Forcella de l’Orso and alongside Monte Moiazza’s southern flank and Rifugio Bruto Carestiato for the night. Though a strenuous day on some rugged terrain, this may be one of the prettiest and most varied days on the hike.
Day 8: From Rifugio Carestiato – Continuing on the Alta Via 1, you 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 your overnight stop at Malga Pramper. Malga Pramper is a working farm. They make cheese and other items which they sell to the day hikers who visit the farm for lunch. Dinner not included. Breakfast included in the morning. Any extra luggage will be at the hotel.
- Instead of hiking the long, rugged route all the way to Malga Pramper, you can take a different, shorter trail from Passo Duran and meet your van at 12:00 for a quick transfer to Forno di Zoldo.
- Some depart from Passo Duran and head right to Venice, skipping the last few days on the trail.
Day 9: From Malga Pramper you descend to the small village of Forno di Zoldo. This is a wonderful final walk of your journey and a great way to end your adventure. From Malga Pramper you descend on a nice path through the hardwood forest. The views continue, from Pelmo to the north and the rocky wall of the Spiz di Mezzodi to the east. About halfway to Forno, the trail becomes a paved jeep track. The gentle grade makes for nice downhill walking. The route leads to the pretty village of Forno di Zoldo and your hotel. Your extra luggage will be at the hotel or as per your specific confirmed itinerary. Breakfast included. Dinner on your own.
- Some hike to Malga Pramper, sample some of the homemade products and meet the van for late afternoon transfer to Forno di Zoldo. Overnight in Forno di Zoldo. Dinner not included. Breakfast included.
Day 10: After breakfast, your van will meet at the hotel for transfer to Venice. Travel time to the airport is about 2 hours. This transfer is included in the cost of the trip.
Let us know your travel plans and we can assist you with the best hiking options and best options for where to start and departing the route.
This may vary depending on a finalized itinerary:
- General consulting regarding hiking dates and abilities
- Travel information on getting to and from the starting point
- Travel suggestions
- Maps: Italian Tabacco Maps; the 1:25,000 scale covering the route
- Detailed trail notes, which include additional information covering various aspects of your trip (i.e., lunches, laundry, water, refuge routines, alternate transportation, etc.)
- We make and prepay all overnight accommodations, which include breakfast
- Most dinners
- We make and prepay all private taxi transfers as detailed in the final itinerary
- Hotels with private baths. Other overnight accommodations will vary
- Lots of great hiking
This may vary depending on your finalized itinerary: Airfare, lunches, travel to and from starting point/ending point, transfers or excursions on trains, lifts, buses, taxis, extra charges due to changes in itinerary, items not on set dinner menu, beverages (except what is served at breakfast), bottled water, insurance, extra costs, if any, for parking a personal car, items of a personal nature (phone calls, shower tokens, laundry, excess baggage charge, medical expenses, evacuation costs, insurance, passport fees, etc.). Allow roughly $200 – $350 in additional costs depending on your finalized itinerary.
This hike is not vehicle supported. You will need to carry a moderate-sized pack with all the clothing and accessories you will need for the duration of the hike. (See our sample packing list.) With advances in synthetic clothing and other travel gear, it’s possible to keep your pack weight to from 15 to 20 lbs., including lunch and water. Any extra luggage or belongings you may have can be left at the hotel or will be transferred as detailed in the final confirmed itinerary.
ACCOMMODATIONS AND FACILITIES
Hotels: The hotels are warm, welcoming and comfortable. All the rooms have private baths
Rifugios: The rifugios vary greatly depending on where they are located, but are usually simple and rustic, yet comfortable. Some accommodate as few as 20 hikers; most serve 30 – 50. They have bunk rooms with 2 – 8 bunks per room with blankets and pillows. The facilities are shared and there is a hot shower or two available. There are common dining areas, where meals are served. Please note: not all rifugios have private rooms.
Meals: Breakfasts and dinners are served at the hotels or rifugios and lunches are picnic style along the trail.
Travel to Cortina: The Cortina Express Bus www.cortinaexpress.it and AVTO Bus www.atvo.it operate direct buses from Venice to Cortina. Go to the websites for schedules and more information. The bus takes about 2 – 3 hours. Or you can take a train from Venice to Calalzo Pieve di Cadore and then a bus or taxi to Cortina: travel time is about 3 – 4 1/2 hours, depending on the schedule. It is also possible to take a taxi from Venice to Cortina; though not the most economical, it is certainly the most convenient.
Travel to Welsberg: You can reach Welsberg/Monguelfo by train from Venice, Milan, Munich or Zurich, where there are major international airports. Venice is normally the best arrival airport. It is roughly 4 – 5 hours by train from Venice to Welsberg/Monguelfo.
WHO WOULD LIKE THIS TRIP?
Our Self-Guided Dolomites Hut Hike is great for hikers who look forward to wonderful, challenging hikes and like the thought of staying remote but comfortable rifugios. Some nights at the rifugios (though not all) include private rooms. This hike should be on every hiker’s list of musts!
WHAT MAKES DISTANT JOURNEYS’ TRIPS DIFFERENT?
We are a small company. As founders and guides, we have personally developed and hiked most of our itineraries. Having offered our hut-to-hut trip in the Dolomites, along the Alta Via 1, for over 20 years, we have extensive experience in the area and have established longstanding relationships with hotels and rifugios along the route. For our self-guided trips, we personally speak with prospective hikers and work closely to develop customized itineraries. We cover all of the details and provide you with everything you need to hit the trail confident of having a safe and rewarding experience. We are committed to creating quality hiking and walking experiences at good value. We are more than happy to put you contact with past participants if you'd like to hear about their experiences hiking with Distant Journeys.
If you would like to register, or to receive more information or 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 insights into the self-guided Dolomites Hut Hike experience.
Reserving This Trip
A non-refundable 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.
Before registering for this, please read our Terms and Conditions in their entirety and then refer to our Self-Guided
Trips page for specific information regarding the process.
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, 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.