Hiking in the Schlern-Rosengarten Nature Park in South Tyrol is a journey that takes you through different worlds. You hike over gentle alpine pastures, through dark green spruce and pine forests up to the unique craggy rocks of the Dolomites and wonderful huts.
If you've never been to the giants of Italy before, like me before this Tour, this Collection offers an exciting four-day round trip with three great huts, challenging Tours and plenty of insights into the Italian Alps and the magnificent Dolomites.
The Schlern-Rosengarten Nature Park extends over an area of 7,291 hectares (18,016 acres) just 30 kilometres (18.6 miles) east of Bolzano. The Schlern massif within the park is one of South Tyrol's landmarks with the Santnerspitze (2,413 metres/ 7,916 feet) and the Euringerspitze (2,395 metres/7,857 feet).
On your discovery journey, you climb steeply up into the Italian Schlern-Rosengarten Nature Park via the well-marked paths of the official Val d’Ega trek, including challenging ascents to several passes. The following applies: If you want to discover the Dolomites, you have to earn them. From my own experience, I can tell you that it's worth it. Surefootedness, hiking poles and well-considered, light luggage will ensure that you can really enjoy this four-day round Tour. You should also bring a light climbing helmet. On two passages, you have to carry your rucksack along paths secured with wire ropes and ladders. A real highlight of the Tour that needs to be mastered safely.
Depending on your mood and fitness level, you can also divide the Tour into five days. This is possible, for example, by dividing the last stage into two days instead of one. If you are a climbing fan, this trek also offers various extension options for which it is worth staying a little longer in the Dolomites. Via ferratas like the Maximilian via ferrata can be easily reached from the Tierser Alp Hütte.
Arrival and departure: If you arrive by car, you can leave it at the car park of the Carezza cable car in Nova Levante – your starting point – for the next few days. The ‘Welschnofen, Zentrum’ bus stop is near the cable car which is served by the 180 bus from nearby Bolzano. The capital of South Tyrol is the ideal starting point for this trek and has a railway station. You can also reach Nova Levante by train and bus from the direction of Bressanone or Trento.
Accommodation/huts: The Tours in this Collection are planned in such a way that you always arrive at a suitable hut with overnight accommodation. You will always find overnight accommodation in the respective stage description. It is advisable to call all the huts before the Tour to check the availability of beds. This worked well for me and my hiking companion on this trek.
On this Tour, you pass some of the most impressive places in the Dolomites. Besides magical sunrises and the warm welcome in the refugios, you will get to know the Dolomites in a physically intense way on this adventure. I was bitten by the Dolomites bug on this trek and hope I can infect you with it too.
The first stage of your adventure leads you straight up through the nature park. The ascent to 2,300 meters is tough: from the starting point, the cable car in Welschnofen, the path leads to the first intermediate station, the Kölner Hütte. Perseverance and surefootedness are required. If you want, you can also cover the first section of this challenging stage with the Carezza gondola lift. To do this, you just get on in Welschnofen and off again at the Frommeralm and save some energy for the rest of the tour. From there you also come to the path that leads to the Kölner Hütte. The Kölner Hütte is also known as the Rosengartenhütte.When you arrive at the Kölner Hütte, the first breathtaking view over the mountains of the Dolomites awaits you. You can let your gaze wander down to the valley and see what makes the special landscape of the Dolomites. After a short break, continue from the Kölner Hütte over the Hirzelsteig past the Christomannos monument, where another unique view awaits you, to the Rotwandhütte. The goal of the first stage appears after a curve between the rugged rock faces and in front of the Rotwand.Alternative accommodation option: Rifugio Pederiva right next to the Rotwandhütte
Before starting the next stage in the morning, a breathtaking sunrise can be observed from a rock formation directly in front of the Rotwandhütte. So the walk before breakfast is worth it.The path of the second stage from the Rotwandhütte to the Vajolethütte leads relaxed through the landscape and invites you to let the pure nature of the Dolomites work its magic. The ascent to the Vajolethütte alone is a bit tough and halfway there is a deep passage that you have to overcome with your backpack along wire ropes and over a long ladder. A suitable climbing helmet should not be missing at this point.The Vajolethütte doesn't have to be the last destination of the day, if you want. Once there, you change to lighter luggage and, after a short break, make your way to the Santer Pass. The helmet should also be included here. The ascent to the pass is rewarded with a spectacular view.
Note: Please do not confuse the path to the Santner with the path to the Grasleitenpass. Because that is only on the next stage.Alternative accommodation option: Rifugio Paul Preuss right next to the Vajolethütte.
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The third stage of the circular tour is high up and deep down. From the Vajolethütte it goes up to the Grasleiten Pass. The landscape becomes barren and looks like in a Star Trek movie. The path that connects the Rosengarten group with the Schlern massif meanders through gravel and scree fields and leads just before the Tierser Alp over another climbing part along a wire rope.After a stop in the hut there, we continue to the "Castle in the Mountains". It is not for nothing that the Schlernhaus bears this name, as it is enthroned in the middle of a rocky landscape with a view of St. Zyprian.Of course, on this stage there is the short ascent to the Petz right behind the Schlernhaus after the arrival. The trip to and from the Petz is included in the tour time.Alternative accommodation option: There is no other hut in the immediate vicinity of the Schlernhaus. However, if you already extend this stage a little and only make a stop at the Schlernhaus, there is the Stuhlschwaige on the way back down to Welschnofen with storage space for 8 people.
The fourth and last stage of this Dolomites circular tour has it all and is probably the most demanding. Therefore, consider in advance whether you might want to split the route into two days. There are overnight accommodations for another stop, for example in St. Zyprian. Or you can extend the previous stage and go to the Stuhlschwaige that day. Whatever suits you best.From the Schlernhaus you set off directly to the descent. The path leads you into the spectacular forest landscape of the nature park, past the rustic armchair, along waterfalls, down the bear trap and through lush greenery.The first stop after the first long part of the descent is the idyllic town of St. Zyprian, where it is more than worthwhile to spend another night. Otherwise, after a break, you will make your way to the last smaller pass ascent to the Niger Pass at 1,690 meters. After the last exertion, the path leads back to the starting route. From the Frommeralm it goes down towards Welschnofen. The goal of the discovery tour has been reached!