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Hiking one step from heaven – Alta Via delle Dolomiti 1

Ralf Homann

Hiking one step from heaven – Alta Via delle Dolomiti 1

Hiking Collection by Marika Abbà

8-18

days

3-6 h

/ day

77.8 mi

23,975 ft

27,150 ft

The Alta Vie delle Dolomiti (High Routes of the Dolomites) are eight hiking routes that take you 850 kilometres (528 mi) through UNESCO World Heritage peaks. In this Collection, you find the Alta Via delle Dolomiti 1, which starts at the famous Lake Braies in the province of Bolzano and ends in Belluno. You pass through two regions of northern Italy: Trentino Alto Adige and Veneto.

The best time to walk this route is from mid/late June to mid–September when the refuges are open. In fact, each stage begins and ends at alpine accommodation, so it’s very important to book all overnight stays well in advance, as places are limited.

The Alta Via delle Dolomiti 1 takes you to the most famous places in the Dolomites, such as Lake Braies, the Cinque Torri and Lagazuoi as well as small remote corners that are lesser known and ‘forgotten’ by mass tourism. It’s an exhilarating experience, as you always stay up high, far from traffic or the bustle of a city. Every morning, you wake up in the peaceful mountains with a cool breeze and wait for the first rays of sunshine to warm you up.

The route passes through important places for mountainaneering and history. You’ll find trenches and tunnels dug during the First World War and follow the traces of great mountainering expeditions that revolutionised how we experience the mountains.

You should be fit for this adventure as the stages are demanding and lead through alpine terrain. In this Collection, I decided to avoid via ferrata routes to make it as enjoyable as possible.

It’s essential to carry technical, breathable clothing, layers for low temperatures, a windproof jacket, raincoat, sturdy boots and a first aid kit. Remember that you’ll always be at altitudes around 2,500 metres (8,200 ft) so the weather can suddenly change and you need to be well equipped for all eventualities. I recommend taking a good supply of energy bars with you; they don’t take up much space and are necessary when you’re far from the huts. Every morning, you can ask your hut to prepare a packed lunch to munch on by a lake or at a vantage point.

In case of accidents or emergencies, call 112, which is also the number of the Alpine Rescue Service.

You can hike the Alta Via delle Dolomiti 1 with a ten or bivvy bag, but remember to set up just before sunset and pack down shortly after sunrise. You shouldn’t set up camp near a refuge, but I recommend contacting the manager before setting off so they an advise you where to stop. They may also have a camp spot with facilities for a small fee.

To reach Lake Braies, I recommend using the shuttle service that leaves from Monguelfo (line 439) or Dobbiaco (line 442). These two towns have train connections to Bolzano. Here’s the link to book the bus: prags.bz/it. Bolzano Bellunese has connections to Belluno centre. From the station in Belluno, you can then travel to the various locations in Italy.

Enjoy your journey!

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Alta Via delle Dolomiti 1

74.7 mi

23,050 ft

26,325 ft

Last updated: September 6, 2022

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Lake Braies to the Biella Hut – Alta Via delle Dolomiti 1

    Difficult
    03:20
    3.93 mi
    1.2 mph
    2,825 ft
    75 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    The first stage of the Alta Via delle Dolomiti 1 is short, you can see it as a warm-up in view of the subsequent stages. It starts from the wonderful Lake Braies, the television set of the famous TV series "A step from the sky", as well as a popular destination for many tourists in search of the perfect

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    by Marika Abbà

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  • Intermediate
    04:44
    8.04 mi
    1.7 mph
    1,875 ft
    2,700 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Leave the Biella Refuge behind you and continue in the direction of the Sennes Refuge (Senneshütte). Today's journey is very peaceful and requires no skill from experienced hikers.

    

    At first the path follows a narrow road, runs almost along the edge of the ridge, then descends along large grassy spaces

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  • Difficult
    05:22
    7.68 mi
    1.4 mph
    3,200 ft
    1,250 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Leave the Fanes hut and follow the path that leads to Lago di Limo. This small green water basin is little known, but very fascinating, because it is nestled between the wonderful peaks of the Dolomites.

    

    From here it continues to Ücia de Gran Fanes, also known as Malga Fanes Grande, a large pasture area

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  • Intermediate
    04:08
    5.64 mi
    1.4 mph
    1,825 ft
    2,350 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    After a panoramic breakfast, put on your boots again, put on your backpack and go down first to the Forcella del Lagazuoi and then to that of Travenanzes. The panorama around you is majestic and it is impossible not to stop and immortalize the beauty of the landscape.

    

    You are walking the Path of the Front

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  • Intermediate
    03:54
    5.54 mi
    1.4 mph
    1,225 ft
    2,850 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Today's itinerary does not present any technical difficulties, on the contrary, it will allow you to avoid the aided path of Passo Giau, so backpack on your shoulder and leave the Nuvolau refuge.

    

    Return to the path traveled yesterday and reach the Forcella Nuvolau located under the imposing peak of Averau

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  • Difficult
    08:10
    11.5 mi
    1.4 mph
    3,225 ft
    4,900 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Start again from the Croda Lago Refuge, flank the slopes of the mountain massif and continue towards the Forcella Ambrizzola.

    

    The pass is located at 2,277 meters above sea level and it feels very small under these imposing rock walls. From here you can also admire the majestic Monte Pelmo in the distance

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  • Difficult
    06:21
    9.32 mi
    1.5 mph
    3,250 ft
    2,600 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Leave Palafavera behind you and set out on the easy mule track that climbs towards the Adolfo Sonino al Coldai Refuge.

    

    The climb is steep at times, but some hairpin bends allow you to quickly gain altitude avoiding vertical tears. The more you climb, the more breathtaking the view of Monte Pelmo becomes

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  • Difficult
    04:12
    5.63 mi
    1.3 mph
    1,975 ft
    1,625 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Leave the Vazzoler Refuge behind you, immerse yourself in the fabulous coniferous forest and continue to Pian dele Taie.

    

    The path now runs under the imposing walls of the Nevère Castle and gets quite steep, but don't worry, because you can catch your breath by taking short breaks along the climb with

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  • Intermediate
    04:49
    8.18 mi
    1.7 mph
    1,650 ft
    1,475 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    You leave from the Carestiato Refuge and take the path that with slight ups and downs takes you through some pastures and leads you to Passo Duran.

    

    The Duran pass is located in a basin between the San Sebastiano and Moiazza mountains; here, in addition to the two refuges, you will also find a small and

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  • Difficult
    06:03
    7.33 mi
    1.2 mph
    2,475 ft
    4,400 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    From Rifugio Sommariva al Pramperet follow the path that crosses Pra de la Vedova, then take the one surrounded by the mountain pines that rises sharply. Going up the path becomes more and more rocky and leads you to the Forcella De Zita Sud.

    

    Under the Cima De Zita di Mezzo, on your right, you will find

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  • Intermediate
    03:27
    5.05 mi
    1.5 mph
    450 ft
    2,925 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This stage is actually a variant of the last two official Alta Via delle Dolomiti 1 which includes a demanding via ferrata. I chose not to include those two tracks, albeit magnificent, to make the itinerary accessible to the greatest number of people. However, nothing prevents you from asking the manager

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    11
  • Distance
    77.8 mi
  • Duration
    54:31 h
  • Elevation
    23,975 ft27,150 ft

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